Dysart Ariz. Unified School District Weighs Gifted-Program Change

Courtney Williams's picture
Monday, April 23, 2012

The future of one gifted and talented classroom at Canyon Ridge Elementary School in Surprise is uncertain as Dysart Unified School District officials consider changes to its gifted offerings.

Citing rising transportation costs and low enrollment numbers, the "self-contained" gifted program at Canyon Ridge may be phased out. In the Canyon Ridge program, gifted students are transported from their home schools and take their classes with only other gifted students.

Canyon Ridge is the only school in the district that teaches gifted children this way, and its numbers are small. There are 15 students, fifth- and sixth-graders, in one class. Another classroom across the hallway has four students from second through fourth grades.

Dysart's 19 other elementary schools have adopted instead what is referred to as a "cluster" model, in which gifted students study together but are in a classroom with both gifted and regular students.

The majority of gifted and talented students in the district have opted to stay at their home schools, said Juliann McCarthy, the district's director of special education and gifted education.

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