Superintendent Search: Paul DeAngelis – Birmingham Deputy Superintendent
I have sent each Rochester Community Schools superintendent candidate questions about Advanced & Gifted Education. Here are the questions and Paul DeAngelis‘ 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?
Thank you for contacting me. I am aware of SAGE, as I saw your post on the original article about the candidates from the Patch.
Birmingham has a long tradition of offering excellent enrichment opportunities for our students. These opportunities remain a top priority even as we face the challenges of reduced financial resources from the state. In the past year, we have restructured our enrichment program, but continue to offer opportunities that meet the needs of our students.
In Birmingham, we start with high-quality classroom instruction to meet every student’s academic needs. Our teachers continue to improve their comprehension and delivery of differentiated instruction. Specifically for students identified for our “cluster” program, we offer direct service to elementary students, provided by our Instructional Specialists, focusing on thinking skills, creativity, problem-based learning, etc. We have opportunities through our elementary Intervention/Enrichment Block, and each elementary school has an accelerated math program for 5th grade students. Our after school enrichment opportunities include Math Pentathlon, Odyssey of the Mind, Imagineers, etc. District-wide, we have a growing list of ‘competitions’ (i.e., Chess Club, Science Olympiad). At the secondary level, we offer an exhaustive list of honors and AP courses.
I want to emphasize that the ideal advanced and gifted program begins with high-quality classroom instruction; instruction that is differentiated to meet the needs of all students. At my core, I am about learning for all students. While the ‘achievement gap’ gets most of the attention, providing quality instruction that leads to academic growth for all students must be our primary goal. The ideal program also identifies and supports students whose strengths are not just in the areas of literacy and mathematics (traditional targets for gifted programs). We must offer opportunities for students who excel in the arts, business, computer/technology programming, etc.
As I will present to the Board of Education, my 90-day transition plan emphasizes a thorough examination of the current instructional model for the RCS. In broad terms, this examination will look at: the depth of implementation of professional learning communities (PLCs), response to intervention (RtI) and data analysis; efforts to address the achievement gaps and support for the county’s LAC-O initiatives; the scope of programming for high-achieving students; the integration of technology and 21st century skills; the development of principals as instructional leaders. Your question asks about funding. In my current position, I have emphasized the need to align our core mission – providing an exceptional education for all students – with the necessary resources. This will become a greater challenge in the face of additional cuts from the state. However, it is one of the key responsibilities of a superintendent to work with the Board, administration, staff, parents and community to keep our limited resources targeted on the core mission.
I am committed to conducting an exhaustive – yet timely – examination of the current state of the instructional model. Thus, it is too early to predict timelines for implementation. With certainly, I can say that if I find that we are not meeting the needs of all students I will focus my efforts on addressing this immediately.
I am a supporter of the IB program. I am a member of the International Academy’s Steering Committee, and the Birmingham Public Schools has a strong commitment to providing our students with the opportunity to attend the IA. We have explored the Primary Years (PYP) and Middle Years Program (MYP), as well as the Diploma Program (DP), but we have not implemented them. Again, until I can examine the current state of the instructional model for the RCS I do not feel I can comment on – or commit to – the place of IB in the RCS.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I appreciate your interest in my candidacy.
Thank you for reading Rochester SAGE!
Rochester Supports Advanced & Gifted Education!