Seaford Middle School may become first center for highly gifted students

By Lynn R. Parks

The Seaford Middle School may become home to a center for highly gifted students. Superintendent Shawn Joseph intends to research such centers and made a report to the school board next month.

During Monday night's board meeting, Joseph talked about the number of students who leave the Seaford district to attend other schools. "The perception is that there is something better out there," he said. "We can sit back and continue to allow that to happen, or we can do something about it. We are losing some of our top students. We can't build capacity at our high school if we don't keep our middle school students."

This would be the first such center in Delaware, Joseph said. But a number of Maryland school districts have highly gifted centers.

Superintendent Joseph proposed that he lead a group of administrators, parents and teachers on a tour of some of those centers. That proposal got the blessing of the board.

"If we do this center, it would require that we dedicate some resources to it," he cautioned the board. Costs would include the hiring of a consultant to help set the center up, training for teachers and some teaching materials.

But school board member Clint Dunn said that those costs would be worth it. "I don't think that we can't afford to do this," he said.

The center would be similar to the Seaford Instrumental Music Academy, also housed in the middle school.

Joseph said that it would initially be designed to accommodate 50 students from the sixth grade.

Each year, 50 sixth-graders would be added so that in three years, the center would have 150 students.

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