School Board approves district’s new three-year AIG plan

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, May 4, 2022

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As part of its 2022-2025 plan for AIG students, which was presented and approved by the Board of Education Tuesday night, Stanly County Schools is working to offer more equitable services to all students who are eligible to be part of the program, regardless of what school they attend.

“We want to know that if we got a student that goes to school A, they are receiving the same services as the student at school B,” said Lynn Plummer, director of elementary education and AIG, noting that offering equitable services is among the district’s top priorities going forward.

Every three years, school districts have to review and rewrite their plans regarding their programs for AIG (Academically and Intellectual Gifted) students, Plummer said. According to the NC Department of Public Instruction, these are students that “perform or show the potential to perform at substantially high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age, experiences or environment.”

The district’s previous AIG plan, which ran 2019 through 2022, was approved by the school board in May 2019. The district can amend the plan as needed during the three-year period.

There are about 850 students enrolled in AIG programs across the county, Plummer told the board. In a given year, usually 12 percent of the total student population across the district are identified as being academically or intellectually gifted.

Stanly County Schools relied on its AIG Advisory Board, comprised of central office staff, AIG instructors, guidance counselors, teachers, parents and community members, along with Dr. Matt Makel, a professor at Johns Hopkins University with extensive knowledge of AIG programs, to help craft the district’s new AIG plan, which is 61 pages.

“We really tried to reach out to stakeholders who have investment in AIG programs in our schools,” Plummer said.

In order to fund the new AIG program, the district has secured about $460,000 from the state and $15,000 locally.

Aside from making sure the district is offering similar opportunities to students across the county, the Advisory Board has focused on two other priorities: strengthening partnership opportunities and working to identify underrepresented populations.

The district plans to continue to grow its partnership with Pfeiffer University, which offers certified teachers the option of obtaining an add-on licensure in AIG. Nine SCS teachers are working to receive AIG licensure from the university.

Receiving the needed certification from Pfeiffer gives teachers “the ability to step outside of the classroom if they choose and be an AIG specialist in some of our schools,” Plummer said.

SCS is also working to identify all kinds of students who could qualify to become part of the AIG program. While this has been usually accomplished through students’ scores on state examinations like End-Of-Grade Tests (though this is not the only consideration), the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder, since EOGs were canceled at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

“We want to make sure that we’re getting all the students that we need to get, especially underrepresented populations, making sure that just because you can’t pass an EOG doesn’t mean you’re not gifted in some way,” Plummer said.

According to data presented to the board of students enrolled in AIG programs, about 88 percent of the population is white, followed by five percent that are Hispanic and four percent that are Black and multiracial.

The Advisory Board also tweaked the AIG identification plan to include more input from teachers. Rather than requiring potential students to provide a portfolio of relevant work samples, the district has relied more on the Hope Teacher Rating Scale, “which is teachers being able to show ways that students have shown proficiency and shown giftedness within their classroom,” Plummer said.

Several board members expressed how impressed they were with the thoroughness of Plummer’s report about the new plan.

“I think we all up here are just amazed and thankful for what you have done,” Board Chair Glenda Gibson said.

School districts and charter schools across the state have until July 15 to submit their new AIG plans to the State Board of Education.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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