I'm going to the talk tomorrow night at Hale by Dina Brulles that is being presented by Wedgwood Elementary. I think it going to be very interesting.
I've been doing my research in preparation for the talk and found out some information that I think helps me understand the issue.
First, I note that this is what the principal at Wedgwood says about the presentation:
In response to our concerns about the equity involved in testing for advanced learning opportunities and what we have witnessed in the abilities of students enrolled in different programs at Eckstein, we have looked for better ways of meeting the needs of all kids in a heterogeneous setting.
Huh? I have no idea what he means by "what we have witnessed in the abilities of students enrolled in different programs at Eckstein" but I'm thinking he means the Spectrum classes look different. I would think they would be given the level they are supposed to be taught at but maybe that was a surprise to the Wedgwood staff visiting.
I would love to know how much Wedgwood is paying for her services because she clearly gets paid for her consulting (from looking at her website). I'm pretty sure the district isn't paying for this but it doesn't hurt to ask. I'd also like to know how her school district works around her consulting schedule.
My headline here is somewhat incomplete. I do understand how cluster grouping works but reading her district's website, the picture becomes more clear.
I'm not going to tip my hand here but her district is not all about cluster grouping. They very clearly have several methods for gifted programming depending on grade level. They also very clearly have supports and structures in place that our district is nowhere near. (They also use a pull-out method that the district used years ago in some Spectrum schools and guess what? It got dumped because no one liked it.)
So whew! I don't think that means the end of Spectrum as we know it unless our district has a really fabulous plan of overhauling our teaching structure, adding more administrative jobs and, of course, finding the money to do it all.
So the district can divide Spectrum students up among classrooms but without the kind of system that is in place in Dr. Brulles' district, I don't see how the district can go to cluster grouping to replace the current Spectrum system. Not if they really want to have a program that serves gifted students.