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Then the hard work begins for teachers. “There’s a lot of pressure to meet the needs of kids at both ends of the spectrum,” said Wendy Behrens, the state’s gifted and talented education specialist.
“What we can do is continue to support them.”
Behrens sees ongoing professional development as the best way to do that, giving teachers training to “understand the social, emotional and instructional needs of the kids.”
That, coupled with better identification tools that extend well into elementary school, flexible curricula and access to mentorships, can further meet the needs of gifted children.
Minneapolis also is looking into creating more “groupings” of students within a grade level by subject, or possibly moving some children up a grade. “There’s a lot of good work being done out there,” Behrens said.
Fortunately, there’s less talk about just letting gifted kids fend for themselves: They can’t, and they shouldn’t have to.
“I think the leaders in Minneapolis do care about practical strategies for identifying them and helping them move ahead,” Clarenbach said. “But it has to be a priority.”
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