Lots of Kids Left Behind–Especially the Talented Ones

Were there really no “Talented and Gifted” (TAG) seventh grade students in the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) during the 2014-2015 school year? The surprising answer would seem to be yes according to data found at the link below from the Iowa Department of Education, which shows the “2014-2015 Iowa Public School Talented and Gifted (TAG) Count by District and Grade.”

https://www.educateiowa.gov/documents/gifted-and-talented/2015/03/2014-2015-iowa-public-school-talented-and-gifted-tag-count

There is more at stake here than simply counting talented/smart/creative students. TAG students are frequently provided with advanced coursework, seminars, and other programming consistent with their advanced abilities. And it is not just the seventh grade TAG students who are being overlooked. ICCSD’s percentage of all TAG students district-wide is well below the state average. By failing to identify and serve all potential TAG students, ICCSD arguably shortchanges them.

The percent of students counted as TAG students among individual school districts in Iowa varies greatly. For example, ICCSD and Cedar Rapids are both part of Grant Wood AEA 10 yet the percent of students identified as TAG students is markedly different between the two districts with ICCSD counting 6.7% and Cedar Rapids counting 18.3% of its enrollment as TAG students.

Further, ICCSD often compares its performance to the districts below. So how does ICCSD’s count for TAG students compare to these districts? Overall, the comparison, unfortunately, does not flatter ICCSD.

District Name Total TAG K-12 Enrollment K-12 Percent TAG
Cedar Rapids 2,901 15,884 18.3%
Ames 757 4,206 18.0%
Dubuque 1,413 10,472 13.5%
Council Bluffs  1,095 8,582 12.8%
Davenport 1,703 15,269 11.2%
Ankeny 1,126 10,169 11.1%
Sioux City 1,501 13,862 10.8%
Des Moines Independent 2,326 31,356 7.4%
West Des Moines 621 8,963 6.9%
Iowa City 866 12,930 6.7%
Waterloo 567 10,662 5.3%
State 42,925 477,422 9.0%

From the Iowa Department of Education website spreadsheet entitled “2014-2015 Iowa Public School Talented and Gifted (TAG) Count by District and Grade.”

While ICCSD offers many wonderful opportunities to students, how and why ICCSD fares poorly when compared to Cedar Rapids or even the average Iowa school district on this metric is difficult to understand. In order to stop shortchanging those currently unidentified ICCSD TAG students, now is the time to identify them and ensure they are provided with programming and other services to meet their needs and abilities.

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This entry was posted in Gifted and Talented, ICCSD, Iowa City, Iowa City Schools, TAG. Bookmark the permalink.

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