According to a gifted/talented program update presentation given by Coordinator of Advanced Academics Debbie Smith during a SMCISD school board meeting Dec. 16, there are low placement numbers for GT students throughout the district.
There are 200 GT students placed in San Marcos High School, 321 across all elementary schools and 325 across all middle schools, based on the SMCISD board meeting workbook.
The GT programs are meant to challenge students to accelerate their performance and enable progression in their education, according to the National Association for Gifted Children.
Mendez and Rodriguez elementary schools had the lowest number of students placed in GT programs. Mendez Elementary has 20 students placed in the program, while Rodriguez has 22.
“It’s concerning to me," board trustee Juan Miguel Arredondo said. "At my day job, I have the opportunity to see all the second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, and I can assure you, there are very gifted students at Mendez Elementary School,” he said.
Trustee Lupe Costilla expressed her concern with a possible communication gap due to a language barrier between teachers and parents to identify gifted students and recommend them to teachers, while trustee Kathy Hansen raised questions about resources provided to parents and teachers to identify such students.
“We still have some work to do because ultimately, we would like those numbers to mirror the demographics of our district or get us [as] close to that as possible,” Smith said.