By Guy Nahmiach
Four years ago, the Wheat Ridge Ridge Gifted & Talented (GT) program welcomed 30 students into their classrooms. This year they have 130 students. I spent two days with a group of seniors to talk about their experiences in and out of school. This will be the first group to graduate from the full program. With career plans that span neurosurgery and film making to teaching and journalism, these students come from vastly different backgrounds and have equally diverse ambitions. When I asked them for their thoughts on the GT program, they made it very clear that the program did not define who they were. In fact, it was their diverse personalities and learning styles that made the GT program what it was.
Next year’s enrollment is slated to push the 200 mark. When you consider the $4,500 per student brought into every school, this will more than pay for the program including the additional activities used by these learners.
There are many success stories in this class. Most are academic and without the fanfare of the STEM program. This group includes a GT student that skips an entire year and gets accepted to Harvard. We also have two GT students that just qualified for the prestigious Daniels Fund Scholarship. Trust me, if you have a student at home that’s always been ahead of their class and is building computers or developing a new language in their room, or a young person that is just itching to be challenged, enroll them in the WRHS GT program and watch them flourish and develop amazing positive relationships.
Pennington Elementary will have a new principal as Tim Carlin (Everitt Middle assistant principal) will be stepping into that position. With a new expeditionary-style learning, students will visit museums, grocery stores, the GreenBelt and other places where combining real life experiences leads to better levels of retention and understanding. Whether or not the extended day program is still needed, I trust Mr. Carlin will have better feedback from the community.
I am very excited to have been invited to the Stevens Elementary committee to study the feasibility of a dual language program. Being trilingual, I’m all about learning new ways to communicate with people from around the world. Students learning new languages will develop quicker and have an an advantage not only in the job market but also in simply being able to communicate with more people in their community. It is an amazing experience to watch young students become proficient in math or science, and, add to the mix, doing it in a new language. Students at Stevens have been building satellites and submarines lately. This new principal and her staff have created an environment that has students racing to their seats every day.
Another celebrating principal in our community is Jeena Williams. The Manning School has a long wait list for next year! This used to be the norm up until five years ago, but parents decided that homework for the sake homework was no longer acceptable and that their kids did not need a “boot camp,” and started sending their kids to other schools. Principal Williams was very quick to share her new vision for the school, and after only a few months, families are flocking back, preferring the newly thriving and inclusive environment of the Manning Middle School.
Finally, a word of thanks. We spend more hours of the day finding blame and pointing fingers at people or situations that we might not agree with. But sometimes a “thank you” is so much more powerful in acknowledging not so much the issue but the time and effort that person made. A “thank you” to the Jeffco Board of Education for volunteering for a position that is second-guessed every second of the day and to Dr. Glass for his vision and leadership that energizes those at the school level to teach and motivate all children and their parents. And of course, as always “thank you” for reading.
Contact Guy Nahmiach at 303-999-5789 or Guy@NostalgicHomes.com.