Proposed Budget Reduction effectively closing Jeffco’s ONLY High School GT Center – Feb 1, 2017

Robert Greenawalt  Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 2:39 PM

   The impact of the proposed Phase 1 budget reduction of 2 GT Teachers was glossed over at your January 26th meeting. These are not just merely ‘elective’ teachers at Wheat Ridge! No, these two teachers run the District’s ONLY high school GT Center, with 62% of its students coming from outside the Wheat Ridge articulation area, and even the district, just because of what this program provides to the students and its reputation. By eliminating these 2 teacher positions, you will effectively shut down the entire program and leave these at risk kids without the support system they have come to depend on. That’s a far greater impact than just reducing 2 elective teachers at a high school, as was communicated.
   I don’t know what you know about the GT Center, but I would like to recommend that prior to the next meeting, you visit the classroom and talk to some of the students. This is not just a place for smart kids. This is a Center for many, many twice-exceptional kids. These are kids who are really smart but yet are a bit quirky and who sometimes really struggle at school and with life. These are kids who were bullied and marginalized at their previous schools. These are kids who, without this Center, would no longer be attending any school or possibly even be alive. These are kids who would have no other place to go. This is a program that does a tremendous amount of social, life and emotional counseling to help these kids get by and succeed.
   You have to see it and talk to the kids to really understand this program’s value. This program is what schools should do to help kids but too often don’t.
   Please make an effort to visit the center and talk to some kids before next week’s meeting, and do everything within your power to change this ill-advised de-funding recommendation.
Bob Greenawalt