Starting March 1, students in third grade through seventh grade can enroll in the school, as long as state testing identifies them as “gifted,” according to a news release. This year, only fourth- through sixth-graders could attend, with all students housed in the old Jackson Junior High School building at the corner of Jackson and West Madison streets. About 75 area students enrolled.
In the 2014-15 school year, third-graders will join them, while seventh-grade students will continue attending classes at the Sandusky Middle School building, adjacent to Sandusky High School.
“(This) allows our seventh-graders to have an authentic middle school experience, while being able to secure gifted services on a full-time basis,” superintendent Eugene Sanders said.
The location is also ideal because some students could pursue high school-level coursework throughout the day, Sanders said.
“One of the advantages of being in a full-time gifted program is the ability to work at an aggressive pace, should you choose to do so” he said.
Sandusky Schools debuted the regional center in August as the area’s only full-time gifted school.
A $500,000 startup grant from the Dorn Foundation made it possible. The funds support the Dorn Fellowship Series, a collaboration with college instructors from across the region. The faculty members provide on-site learning activities for students attending the center.
The program debuted in January.
“This is unprecedented in our region, and it’s a distinguishing variable for the school itself,” Sanders said. “It’s progressing reasonably on schedule, despite the numerous cancellations we’ve had” Regional Center for Advanced Academic Studies students are considered Sandusky Schools students and can participate in all district extracurricular activities. Students from any area district can enroll. The school is state-funded and does not charge tuition. Sandusky Schools will simply transition some of its existing, qualified teachers into “gifted” teachers to accommodate the regional center’s additional students next school year, and will not hire any new staff.
The district will look to accommodate eighth-grade students at the regional center in the 2015-16 school year, Sanders said.
‘State of the Schools’ is March 27
The Regional Center for Advanced Academic Studies is just one aspect of the expansive Sandusky Schools transformation plan. The district will publicly unveil the entire plan at a “State of the Schools” address March 27 at the Sandusky Rotary Club’s monthly meeting.
The Regional Center for Advanced Academic Studies will accept student applications starting March 1.
•To qualify, students must be in third grade through seventh grade and must be identified as “gifted,” according to state standards. Testing will be arranged after applying if test results aren’t already on file.
•Students not currently attending Sandusky Schools must also complete an open enrollment form.
•Call Julie McDonald, chief academic officer, at 419-984-1022 for more information.