Superintendent Search: Gary Richards – Imlay City Superintendent
I have sent each Rochester Community Schools superintendent candidate questions about Advanced & Gifted Education. Here are the questions and Gary Richards‘ responses. Other candidates’ responses will be added when they are received.
1) What advanced and gifted programs are currently offered in your school district?
2) What do you believe the ideal advanced and gifted program would be?
3) For Rochester Community Schools, what advanced and gifted program should be implemented based on your understanding of the surrounding community, the current finances, and the needs of RCS students?
4) What would your timeline be for implementing these programs?
5) Are you a supporter of the International Baccalaureate program and would you work to convert one or more elementary, middle, and high schools in RCS to the IB program?
Apart from advanced placement courses and dual enrollment at the high school, we do not offer an advanced and gifted program per se. We have recently partnered with the University of Michigan-Flint and the Lapeer County ISD to offer two programs for our high school seniors in the areas of medicine and engineering. As a county, we have just started the process of reviewing two programs (CHAMP and ISHALL) offered by Michigan State University (MSU) for our academically talented middle and high school students (7th through 10th grades) who wish to challenge themselves in the areas of math and literature. As you know, these programs are designed to replace parts of the high school curriculum, allowing students to complete four years of the high school math or literature curriculum in just two years.
Fundamentally, I am a strong supporter of differentiated instruction. Because learning takes place at different rates and in different ways, I believe that all students benefit from curricular differentiation, which recognizes that some students need more, while others need less time and support on any given lesson or unit. I believe that through differentiated instruction, teachers can meet the talents and strengths of students at all ability levels. Additionally, I am a strong supporter of offering students a wide variety of challenging courses, which range from honors and advanced placement courses to dual enrollment and afterschool or summer enrichment programs.
I support the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and would consider converting one or more schools to the IB program, but the timing is terrible because of the cost. As you know, we are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions. If Governor Snyder’s budget proposal is approved as presented, I expect that the Rochester Community School District will need to cut approximately $14 to $18 million in order to balance the budget. Although I am receptive to establishing an advanced and gifted program, it is a very difficult time to add or expand programs.
If selected as your next superintendent, I would like very much to continue this discussion with you and your colleagues of Rochester SAGE. By the way, I am definitely interested in learning more about your ideas of opening an International Academy location in Rochester.
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