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Model Gifted Program to Expand in Three Urban Districts

A well-respected, full-day gifted education program, the Renzulli Academy in Connecticut, will be replicated in three other urban school districts.

The Hartford Courant reported recently that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation awarded the University of Connecticut's Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development a $500,000 grant to replicate the Renzulli Academy model in three other urban school districts.

The existing school, named after a researcher on gifted education, Joseph Renzulli, opened in 2009 in Hartford, Conn., serving students in 4th grade through 6th grade. It now has 115 students in 4th through 9th grades and the goal is for it to have a full elementary, middle, and high school program.

The newspaper reported that nearly all of the program's students are minorities, many of them are African-American, and about 70 percent come from low-income families.

State laws governing provisions for gifted students vary. In Connecticut, school districts must identify students who are gifted but for whom no extra services are required. The National Association for Gifted Children argued recently that the United States as a whole doesn't pay enough attention, or provide enough resources for, gifted and talented students, especially those from low-income families.

The new programs could also expand gifted programming at a time when school budgets have been pared to the minimum and Congress stripped the only federal funding for gifted students from the budget, with no restoration of that money in sight.

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