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CMS Will Delay Screening For Gifted Students Until In-Person Classes Resume


Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will delay screening second-graders for giftedness until students are consistently back in schools. That could mean waiting until the 2021 school year to identify children for the district’s gifted program, officials said Tuesday.

CMS has opened with all students learning from home, and it’s not clear when students will return to daily classes. Advanced studies director Katie Sunseri said remote learning disrupts opportunities for formal testing and compiling portfolios of work to see which students qualify for gifted programs, which begin in third grade.

Normally the district evaluates all second-graders, with about 10% deemed eligible for "talent development" services in third grade. The school board approved a plan to delay that until students are in class every day — an approach that goes beyond the next step, which would send students to school on rotating schedules to allow for safe distancing.

Sunseri said it's not clear yet how that delay could affect admission into elementary school magnet programs for gifted students.

Board member Ruby Jones, a retired educator, said she's frustrated that Black children are underrepresented in gifted programs. 

"Can you and will you address how you are being intentional and purposeful in identifying (gifted) students?" Jones asked. 

Sunseri said CMS is starting the second year of a three-year plan to boost access and identification of students of color, but the pandemic disrupted that plan before last year's screening was complete. 

This year's second-graders may end up being screened in third grade next year. 

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