Board of trustees hear briefing on F.O.C.U.S. (Gifted Program)

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Picayune School District Board of Trustees, Dr. Brannon Johnson gave the board a brief overview of the district’s gifted program, also known as F.O.C.U.S.

Dr. Johnson explained that F.O.C.U.S. stands for Fostering Originality, Creativity, Unique ideas, and Self-direction. He explained that the students in the program must have an IQ of 120 or greater to qualify for the gifted program in the state of Mississippi.

Debra Martin, Alicia Verweij, Dr. Johnson, Susan Spiers, Maureen Pollitz

Dr. Johnson explained that the primary outcome for the Picayune School District Gifted Education Program is Metacognition (Met-a-cog-nish-shun) which is the ability to understand one’s own thinking processes. He identified the six competencies of the program and an example of each:

  • Thinking Skills—Analyze and develop an awareness of social issues

  • Creativity—Select and apply principles of design and produce a product

  • Informational Literacy—Use primary and secondary sources to provide new knowledge and understanding in a particular area.

  • Success Skills-Identify career options through experiences.

  • Affective Skills—Understand and analyze feelings and emotions in self.

  • Communications Skills-- Participate in a variety of formal / informal speaking activities

Dr. Johnson said that each grade in the program has objectives based on that grade. He said each student receive a minimum of five hours of class each week. Dr. Johnson added that once a student is classified as “Intellectually Gifted” in the state of Mississippi, the student does not have to be retested.

Dr. Johnson said that each of the four elementary schools in the district has a teacher who is certified in Gifted Education. The team consists of Mrs. Susan Spiers at South Side, Mrs. Maureen Pollitz at Nicholson, Mrs. Alicia Verweij at West Side, and Mrs. Debra Martin at Roseland Park.

Dr. Johnson told the board that the program serves approximately 157 students in the district.

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