Gifted Instruction | St. Louis Public Radio

Gifted Instruction

A fifth-grade student works with her classmates on a project about food insecurity at Ritenour School District's gifted learning center Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

In Ritenour School District, no single ethnicity makes up more than half of its students. But it has been facing a challenge that many districts across Missouri and the country share: Its gifted classrooms are whiter than the rest of the student population.

Sonja Brewer, center, works with a gifted learning student March 7, 2018, at Washington Elementary School in Normandy. The gifted program was restored this school year.
File Photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri State Board of Education took steps Tuesday toward putting more counselors and support staff in the state’s public schools.

Counselors in Missouri currently serve an average of 347 students, according to the American School Counselor Association. That’s under the state requirement of a ratio of one counselor per 400 students but significantly higher than its recommendation of a counselor serving 250 students each.

Donye' Winston, 12, reacts to something her classmate Mahlia Pryor, 11, says during their gifted learning class on March 7, 2018, at Normandy's Washington Elementary School.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Discontinued during the turmoil of unaccreditation and reincorporation, a gifted learning program has returned to Normandy’s elementary schools.

At Washington Elementary, about a dozen students who tested two grade levels higher on an intelligence aptitude test are in the program. The students, ranging from third to sixth grade, gather twice a week to work on special projects in what was once an unused classroom.

Mallinckrodt Academy for Gifted Instruction on Hampton Ave. in south St. Louis finished transitioning into a gifted elementary school in the fall of 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

As St. Louis Public Schools prepares to add a first grade gifted classroom in north St. Louis in the fall, the overwhelming majority of students eligible for gifted instruction in the district continue to be white.

According to a program update presented to the district’s state-appointed board in March, 81 white students tested this school year qualify compared to 29 black students, 9 Hispanic students and 24 Asian students.