South End Schools Shortchanged Again - Kaleidoscope Program

Time to read
2 minutes
Read so far

South End Schools Shortchanged Again - Kaleidoscope Program

October 15, 2008 - 11:01

It has come to the attention of New Rochelle Community Pulse that within the City School District of New Rochelle, 47 children qualified for this year’s Full-day talented and gifted program at the elementary level (commonly known as Kaleidoscope). This particular program resides at Davis Elementary School. The breakdown of eligible participants by school is as follows:

North End Schools

Ward = 18 students
Davis = 14 students
Webster = 6 students

South End Schools

Trinity = 5 students
Columbus = 3 students
Jefferson = 1 student

We ask the following: How does this reflect equity for all children in New Rochelle? Should we conclude that the overwhelming majority of our Gifted and Talented students here in New Rochelle already attend North End Schools? We do not believe that children in the North End schools are not deserving, rather that the children in the South End are grossly underrepresented. How does this translate into Advanced Placement at New Rochelle High School and achievement at all grades in between? How does it impact college choices our children will have? The fact is that the district has already conducted at least one achievement study that reflects this pattern. Rather than addressing the issue, the City School District of New Rochelle has chosen to bury the study. Many of us already know the answer. Many more have yet to find out.

The days of going about our business, without questioning nor challenging our institutions and those who work within them, are coming to an end. This is even more evident when we look at many of our governmental and financial institutions. As it often happens, our educational institutions lag behind, particularly in the area of equity, oversight, accountability and transparency. We at NRCP will continue to “drill down” in our questioning the City School District of New Rochelle’s current practices.

We would like these numbers to be challenged. Furthermore, we welcome a discussion on any other issue presented in this forum. If anyone feels that the information presented is false or inaccurate, please present evidence to the contrary. You may verify the numbers presented by calling Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff, Assistant Superintendent for the City School District of New Rochelle at 576-4202. As always, you are also welcome to present your comments here.

There are 2 Comments

The question is asked whether the school has treated South End students unfairly. Here are some more questions.

Does the school disclose the criteria for selection to the gifted program? Is a standardized test used, and do only those students who scored in the top 2 or 5 or 10% qualify? Or, are more subjective methods used? Also, at what age are students tested? Is it a one-time thing?

Assuming that students must qualify by test scores, does the community believe this is fair? If the South End students are underrepresented, should there be an affirmative action component to the gifted program that would set a lower bar for South End students? Perhaps this is already in place.

I do not support affirmative action in most situations, and would be opposed to it in this case. If the objective of this program is to provide an advanced curriculum for gifted students, it seems that making this a mixed ability group defeats the purpose. However, I certainly believe that the school should be completely transparent in its selection process.

As far as some the questions you pose, we believe there are a battery of assessments that are given to qualify for the program. The assessments we believe are given in the third grade. At this time, we do not have the details on these assessments. Maybe one of our readers who is familiar with the process, will shed some light on the topic.