Schools to Change Talent Development Program
All elementary talent development teachers will be reassigned from their current positions in Anne Arundel County.
With less than two weeks left in the school year, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) announced an immediate change in the elementary school talent development program.
Starting in August, county elementary schools will no longer have dedicated talent development teachers. Those teaching positions will be “reassigned,” according to a June 8 letter from Superintendent Kevin Maxwell to parents, and the new plan could take about three years to fully implement. The motivation behind the policy change is to open advanced instruction opportunities to more students.
“At most schools, about 15 percent of students currently receive enriched instruction through classroom modules or ‘pullout’ sessions that last approximately 20 minutes a week,” wrote Maxwell in the letter. “Under the new structure, teachers will be trained in delivering advanced instruction so that more students can take part in more rigorous instructional sessions for longer periods of time.”
"Our school is very used to and adept at differentiating the need of all of our learners," said Lynn Birus, principal at Severna Park Elementary School. The school had a talent development teacher two days a week. "We are looking forward to putting programs in place that will help accelerate all of our students, she said, adding that more training would be coming to the school this summer.
An example provided in the letter states that only eight students in a class of 50 typically participated in pullout sessions with the talent development teacher, but the new program will allow for 20 or more students to receive that same instruction.
Before making the change, AACPS reportedly conducted focus groups, pilot programs in a dozen schools and consulted with a Talent Development Advisory Board made up of parents, teachers, principals and central office staff.
The Anne Arundel Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) is currently seeking feedback from parents through use of its online forum and parents are encouraged to speak about the change at the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at 2644 Riva Road in Annapolis.