Teachers from Pulaski Heights Middle School are going back to school at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to learn how to more effectively teach gifted and talented middle school students in mathematics and literacy.
“Training teachers in gifted, talented, and creative instruction and services is a hallmark of districts who are interested in advancing the performance and engagement of all students,” said Dr. Ann Robinson, director of the Jodie Mahony Center.
The online program offers dynamic coursework through which teachers will learn a broad range of skills for teaching advanced children, including identifying talents, designing and implementing curriculum, and addressing social and emotional needs.
“Keeping advanced students engaged and making learning gains through the middle school years is critical to preparing them for bright futures,” said Dr. Christine Deitz, associate director of the Jodie Mahony Center.
The Little Rock School District is covering the cost of tuition and fees so more teachers and students can benefit from the program.
The collaboration began when Principal Darryl Powell started researching ways to keep his students and teachers at Pulaski Heights Middle School motivated and performing well. The school was recently recognized as an “Achieving School” as determined by results from the 2015-2016 ACT Aspire, a standardized test measuring how student perform in math and reading.
Powell met with Robinson, Deitz, Jennifer Thomas, coordinator for Gifted Secondary Programs at Little Rock School District, and Dr. Daniel Whitehorn, associate superintendent of secondary education for the Little Rock School District.
Joy Thompson, a sixth-grade English teacher at Pulaski Heights, is excited about the opportunity to enhance her teaching by earning the licensure.
“I’m looking forward to learning unique strategies and approaches to help foster my students’ gifts in such a way that will cultivate and enhance their learning,” Thompson said.
Dr. John Kuykendall, director of UA Little Rock’s School of Education, is looking forward to the partnership and a continued relationship with the Little Rock School District.
“The School of Education program in gifted and creative education is uniquely positioned to develop Pulaski Heights Middle School teachers’ classroom instruction for advanced learners,” Kuykendall said.
Pictured in the upper right photo, from left to right, back row: Terese Oliver and Holly Wolfe; Front row: Jennifer Thomas, Dr. Christine Deitz, Dr. Ann Robinson, and Darryl Powell.