The Weyauwega-Fremont School District reintroduced Gifted and Talented programming into its schools last year.
Aleah Friemark, the district’s GT teacher, presented a report about the program during the June 23 meeting of the School Board.
“I felt this year was a stepping stone. This year (the 2014-15 school year), I think we will see the full development of what a GT program can do for our students,” she said.
When Board Member Neal Loehrke asked her if she would like more time for GT, Friemark said, “Yes.”
Later in the meeting, Board Member Debi Bartel said she wants to discuss what it would take to make it a full-time position.
It was last summer that the School Board approved adding the GT position.
Friemark is a licensed GT instructor who has a Master’s degree in that area of instruction.
Prior to becoming the GT teacher, she was a teacher at Weyauwega Elementary School.
This past year, Friemark was a GT instructor for 5/8 of the school day and a middle school English instructor for 3/8 of the day. Her classroom was in the middle school.
Before adding the GT position last school year, it had been more than a decade since the district had formally identified someone on staff for GT instruction.
The School Board, in spring 2013, discussed bringing the position back.
A Gifted and Talented needs assessment was done through Cooperative Educational Services Agency 6 to determine programming needs.
The district’s GT program recognizes that gifted quality traits may be demonstrated in five different areas: academic, creativity, leadership, visual arts and performing arts.
A tiered system is used to address the needs and abilities of students and includes Friemark supporting classroom teachers, developing small groups for students with similar strengths and interest needs and also working with students on an individual basis.
Extracurricular activities are part of the program.
Potential students were nominated for the program and evaluated. Parents and teachers were involved in the process.
At Weyauwega Elementary, 28 students were evaluated, with 21 of them then identified for the program.
Eighteen students were evaluated at Fremont Elementary, and 16 of them were identified for the program.
Of the 10 students evaluated at the middle school, eight were identified for GT programming.
At the high school, two students were evaluated based on the need to accelerate them and both were.
This past school year, GT activities included spelling and geography bees, College Days for Kids at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Quiz Bowl, critical thinking groups and various projects.
At the middle and high school levels, Friemark worked with Guidance Counselor Joann Miller on the schedules of some students.
The greatest needs Friemark sees going into the 2014-15 school year are identifying more students at the high school level, scheduling elementary and middle school students to be pulled out of a particular academic area when they are several grade levels ahead and also developing a network of parents for support.
“Aleah did an outstanding job rolling out the program this year,” said District Administrator Scott Bleck.