2012 Primary Election

The GATEway Board has asked the candidates for the Rochester School Board to answer two open-ended questions about gifted education in Rochester so that our members are better informed to make a selection for the primary election.

  1. What role do you see gifted education playing in the Rochester School District?
  2. What is your view of the current services for gifted students in The Rochester School District?

Bill Moe – School Board Candidate for Seat 1

1. What role do you see gifted education playing in the Rochester School District?

GATE's role in our schools is critical. We can't afford to focus on those falling behind to the detriment of those who need additional challenges. We must be sure that all of our children can achieve their full potential and we can't do that without GATE.


2. What is your view of the current services for gifted students in the Rochester School District?

I would like to see them expanded. I don't believe we do enough currently to provide the best opportunities for our gifted students. Unfortunately, with the current budget realities, the best we can do is to defend what we have. However, I think we can try to find new ways to better keep them challenged. We'll need to work with teachers and parents to find the best ways to do it.


Deborah Seelinger – School Board Candidate for Seat 3

1.  What role do you see gifted education playing in the Rochester School District?

Offering gifted education services in our district is highly important. Rochester has a higher than average number of students that test in the gifted range. We need to ensure that financial and human resources for these students are protected. A strong gifted services department can attract regional families to our district. The currently developing Strategic Plan purports to focus on collaborative learning environments and use of best practices; that will benefit all our students.

2.  What is your view of the current services for gifted students in the Rochester School District?

In the last few years I have been aware of some changes being discussed in the delivery of gifted services in the elementary gifted program. The pull-out program that my son participated in several years ago did not provide a consistent level of challenge. I believe there are other program designs that would better serve our students. In the middle school grades, accelerated math options and "flex" class scheduling seem to be the most common offerings, although they are not always consistent between buildings. I believe the Highly Gifted program at Fridell has been successful, but with a wait list, we know not all those students' needs are being met. Honors and AP courses seem fairly standard at the high school level. Professional development, for all K-12 teachers on differentiation strategies should be encouraged.

 

Max Sullivan – School Board Candidate for Seat 3

1. What role do you see gifted education playing in the Rochester School District?

2. What is your view of the current services for gifted students in the Rochester School District?

The mission statement I feel we should be using is "All students will receive the education and tools necessary for them to achieve their goals in any endeavor they choose." I further believe that the School Board should start with "Kids come first!" I find that too many decisions are made without considering the needs of the students. I also believe that the parents are the prime input for the direction of the educational system. To this end the School Board needs a friendlier approach to parents and their concerns.


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