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Updated Mar 9, 2012 - 8:46 am

East Valley schools expanding gifted programs

Photo by Bob McClay/KTAR

CHANDLER, Ariz. - Parents of gifted kids are getting more choices in east valley schools.

Terry Locke of the Chandler Unified School District says gifted programs are nothing new. "We've offered the self contained gifted program since 1976," says Locke. "We were the first district in the state to offer that program."

The current program is growing.

"This year, we've expanded the program to offer the Knox Academy," Locke says. "What's different about this program is that we're integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics."

Another new thing the district will soon allow is for some sixth through eighth graders to go to Basha High School next year. "To some degree. It will be a really small program," says Locke. "We'll have about 80 students involved. It's for those that are really looking to take pre-advanced placement courses at Basha High school beginning next year."

Chandler isn't alone in expanding gifted programs. The Tempe elementary district is creating the ASPIRE Academy at Connolly Middle School, which will offer gifted classes in Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science. The "East Valley Tribune" reports that the Gilbert Unified District is coming up with recommendations for a self contained gifted classroom next year. Higley district officials tell KTAR that they are pleased with the gifted program they expanded three years ago.

Locke says there's a reason for all of the expansion.

"Every student learns a little bit differently," says Locke. "Parents of gifted kids are looking for just a little different match. We survey are parents every year, and found that there is a real strong desire for (these kinds of programs)."

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