Shaver: TPSD should improve gifted program

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo Schools Superintendent Randy Shaver wants to the see the district improve its gifted program.
The school system’s leader also said during a community question-and-answer session at the Link Centre on Monday that he would like to see the district add more Advanced Placement classes and that he doesn’t believe parents should be able to choose their children’s teachers.
He said the district may need to redistrict its schools again at some point in the next few years.
Monday was the last of three “Conversations with Dr. Shaver” events for the current school year. Community members were able to submit questions to Shaver on slips of paper. On Monday, he had time to answer all 11 questions he received.
Shaver said the program was a good way for people to see him “in a different light” and for him to see the community in a different setting.
“I like the format in which I don’t know the questions beforehand, because it makes it more authentic,” Shaver said.
He said he’d like to continue to hold the events monthly next year, hosting them at different times and locations.
At Monday’s session, Shaver said he felt that the district’s method of pulling its challenge students out of class for an hour each day was inefficient and frustrating for the students who then had to make up the significant amount of missed work.
“I am not comfortable with the gifted program we have in the school system,” Shaver said.
The superintendent said he did not know yet what the solution is but that the district was researching a better plan.
Tupelo High School currently has 13 AP classes, and Shaver would like to increase that number to 24 by the 2012-13 school year.
Shaver said that the task of assigning children to classes and of choosing teachers for those classes belonged to principals.
“More often than not, an experienced professional educator is in the best place to make an educational decision,” Shaver said.
When the school district reorganized its schools before the current school year, the belief was that it would be the final restructuring the district would need for years. But Shaver said Monday that may not be the case.
“We are probably going to need to redistrict again,” Shaver said.
Monday’s event was filmed by Comcast and will air six times between now and May 9 on CTV 21.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.