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Gifted school applications due Monday

June 12, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Parents of Washington County Public Schools students have until Monday to apply for nearly 160 gifted and talented magnet school program seats available at the newly designated Emma K. Doub School for the Integrated Arts and Technology and the year-old Fountaindale School for Arts and Academic Excellence.

Roger Giles, the director of funded and special programs, said that as of Tuesday about 90 parents had applied to have their children placed in one of the two programs, which will serve students in grades two through five.

Applications are available at either school and at Funkstown Elementary School, which is partnered with Emma K. Doub as The Funkstown Primary School for Early Childhood Education. Applications also may be picked up through Friday from Quest teachers at elementary schools and through Monday at the Office of Funded and Special Programs at the Washington County Board of Education central office.

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Giles said that during the selection process for Fountaindale last year, students who attended schools in the north end of town, where Fountaindale is located, were given preference over students from other parts of the county. This year, however, parents will be asked to mark which of the two schools they'd prefer their child to attend, either Fountaindale, which will have more of a visual and performing arts emphasis, or Emma K. Doub, which will place more emphasis on technology.

He said the decision was made to change the selection process after it was discovered that Fountaindale pulled students from eight different attendance areas.

Giles said he believes many students from Emma K. Doub and Funkstown will qualify for the magnet program and guessed that about 50 to 60 slots will be available after those students are placed in the program.

He said 41 students plan to return to the magnet program next year from Fountaindale, but parents of those students will be able to choose to go to Emma K. Doub instead of Fountaindale if they'd like.

He said three parents opted against having their children return to the magnet program next year.

There will be four classes at each school with a maximum capacity of 25 students each, he said.

"If we don't have students who qualify we won't just fill seats," he said.

Students will qualify for admission based on standardized math and reading test scores, Raven test scores and ratings on interviews and creative tasks to be performed at that time. He said the student interviews will be conducted by the teacher of the grade to which their parents apply.

One of the child's teachers also will have to rate the student on the ability to understand difficult concepts, creativity, motivation and reasoning and on the child's desire to improve and learn.

Giles said teachers will be at their schools through Friday.

He said interviews will be conducted before the end of June.

Schools Spokeswoman Carol Mowen said parents will be told the results by mid-July.

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