PS 20 will no doubt weather its troubles, but it is sad news for children who tested into the citywide gifted and talented program. One less option is always a sad story. Many parents saw the placement of a citywide program, which would consist of a single class on a grade, into an existing school as a curious move on the DOE's part. Considering the three citywides in Manhattan are full schools (although petite) it enables the teachers and administrators to build school wide programs especially designed for this end of the special needs spectrum. I would imagine that the school wide staff development geared to G&T would be invaluable and help produce fine and sought after programs.
The city has for years placed single G & T classes in general ed schools and although the talented teachers that lead these classes have toiled in solitude (one on a grade) they have done a fine job. It seems to me that the citywide program is serving a different purpose. I believe that was the thinking of the many parents that left their northern Brooklyn neighborhoods in droves to seek out Brooklyn School of Inquiry. Insideschools has reported that because of the huge popularity of the school that they will be adding a third kindergarten to the school and only opening one first grade class.
So, were Principal Keaton's troubles the reason that the program has closed? Was it the fact that it looked like this program, that had been given special development and attention at other schools, a seeming afterthought at PS 20? Was it a lack of focus and expertise in gifted and talented education that put parents off? We won't know. The DOE has a challenge finding the resources, the location and the educators to pull off this kind of program. I think that they have made a great bet in Donna Taylor and Brooklyn School of Inquiry.