SHARON SCHOOLS Proposal: No credit for gifted courses

One parent predicted the change will destroy the program.
SHARON, Pa. -- Students who enroll in the gifted program in the Sharon City schools next year won't get any credit or any grade for their work under a proposal made by the district administration.
The exception will be this year's juniors (next year's seniors) who will be able to earn a half-credit with a maximum grade point value of 5, said Superintendent Richard Rossi.
Rossi outlined his proposal during a school board work session Monday, saying that students will take gifted courses, known as Encore, solely for educational enrichment.
Criticism: The plan met with criticism from one parent in the audience.
"I just think you're going to kill the program," said Paula Lee of Dougherty Avenue, the mother of two Encore students.
Lee said many students in the program now have told her they will drop out if the program no longer offers grades or credit.
School Director Rick Mancino asked basically the same question: What is the incentive for students to continue with the program?
Revisions: Rossi said in previous discussions that most schools don't offer a grade for their gifted programs. He said Monday that the revised program will be designed to meet the individual student's enrichment needs.
Participants will be required to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP), which will guide their particular gifted program.
It will be less structured, allowing students to concentrate in specific areas, such as the arts, Rossi said.
Sharon offers Encore programming for students in grades 7 through 12 but only juniors and seniors could earn a 5 grade point level for their work.
That's the reason this year's juniors will be allowed to continue under the same format next year, Rossi said.
Sharon expects to have 61 students in grades 7 through 12 in the program next year.
Vote: Rossi's proposal will come before the school board for a vote Monday.
Rossi had said that only students ranged as gifted, based on IQ, could participate in Encore, and some students were able to manipulate the system and boost their overall grade point average by taking both Encore and independent-study programs.
That gave them an unfair advantage when it came to determining class rank, he added.
Rossi also has proposed that the grade point value of independent-study courses be cut from 5 to 4. A board vote on that proposal also is expected May 21.