SIOUX CITY | The scope of people who have bashed Sioux City School District officials over the functioning of the Talented and Gifted Program broadened Monday, as district TAG students aired critical comments at a Sioux City School Board meeting.
During the public comment period of the board meeting, three students and five parents shared scathing observations on TAG, contending changes in the 2017-18 school year haven't gotten off the ground and that teachers aren't ready to instruct the gifted students. The meeting marked the third time since June that people used the public comment portion of a board meeting to address TAG.
Quintin Greenwell, son of frequent district critic Dan Greenwell, said his TAG education at North High School is a far cry from his good experiences two years ago at North Middle School. He said the program now is essentially "dissolved."
"The district has not demonstrated that they are capable of producing a functioning system that works for TAG students under the new guidelines," Quinton Greenwell said.
When parents last spoke to school board members two weeks ago, school officials said some improvements would be coming in a month. The speakers on Monday didn't wait that long, contending insufficient learning opportunities were in place for students identified as in need of TAG instruction.
Among some of the TAG changes announced more than a year ago, the school shifted to so-called cluster grouping in order to lump TAG students in with regular students. That change to cluster grouping came after a school district Talented and Gifted Advisory Group processed through issues during the 2015-16 school year. Additionally, school officials made a change so that TAG students in all grades would get a Personalized Education Plan. Those PEPs are to diagnose a student’s needs and formulate a plan that best addresses an individual’s strengths and learning requirements.
Dan Greenwell said the district had a great TAG program in 2010, but the changes have undermined that.
"Why do we have to settle for this rubbish?" Dan Greenwell asked.
North Middle School student Nora Chmielewski pointed to four other fellow TAG students in the crowd and delivered a petition requesting action with signatures from 22 students.
"Currently, we are getting no help, no differentiation from other students, nothing," Chmielewski said. She said TAG students like herself are so bored with the instruction they get that they "bang heads" on school tables.
Jeana Guy Ferraro, parent of a West Middle School student, said, "It is not working, it is broken, so I am respectfully asking you to fix it."
School board member David Gleiser said, "The TAG issue is something that needs to be addressed, and very soon."
District Superintendent Paul Gausman said his team is working on a "compromise" idea on how TAG could work to be aired in the near future.