Yes! For at least four very important reasons:
- It’s the law. Just as the Commonwealth assists other “special needs” groups, Virginia law has provided for “those students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 whose abilities and potential for accomplishment are so outstanding that they require special programs to meet their educational needs.” In Bath County, this group represents approximately 7% of the school population.
- It’s necessary. The concept that the brightest children will do fine on their own is misguided. In fact, if their needs go unmet, it is not unusual for gifted children to lose interest in school, become poor achievers and suffer low self-esteem. Some may even drop out of school altogether and/or seek the challenge and stimulation they crave in negative or unlawful behaviors.
- It’s smart. The nurturing and development of our most gifted and talented minds is not unlike the protection of our national forests, wildlife and waterways. All are invaluable resources on which our nation’s future depends.
- It benefits everyone. A learning environment and teaching techniques which challenge and stimulate gifted students have a similar effect on “average” students. Equally important, just as “average” athletes are often inspired to achieve their personal best by training side by side with exceptionally talented teammates, so “average” students can get caught up in the excitement of learning when sharing tasks and ideas with appropriately challenged gifted classmates.