Sixteen Wake County Elementary schools will be participating in a Duke University tied pilot program called “Nurturing For A Bright Future”. This program is related to the American Association for Gifted Children at Duke University and is part of the ‘Bright Idea 2’ program.
The sixteen elementary schools are:
- Banks Road
- Creech Road
- Forest Pines
- Forestville Road
- Holly Ridge
- Walnut Creek
Through a Freedom of Information request, I was able to obtain details on the program. Part of the response I received from Wake County Schools included the following details:
Response from: Dr. Ruth Steidinger, Sr. Director Academic Programs & Support
Wendy Carlyle, Director of Academically or Intellectually Gifted Program
“Nurturing for a Bright Tomorrow is not a new curriculum; it is strategies used to infuse the teaching of critical and creative thinking into content areas. Nurturing for a Bright Tomorrow is an integration of skills into content instruction with the intent of nurturing the potential in all children.”
“There are no additional assessments related to Nurturing for a Bright Tomorrow.”
All the documents, contracts and material purchases provided were sent to me in image format, so I converted it to a PDF. Included in the PDF of these documents are the costs of materials, training, the list of schools, the sample letter to parents. I have summarized some of these details below:
- The cost of the book “Thinking Skills and Common Core Concepts” teacher manual was $84,314.17.
- The overall cost of materials/books for student paid to Anastasia Books was $71,609.50.
- The cost for training by 21st Century Solutions, Inc. was $7,750. (The training sessions were conducted June 18, 20 and 30th of 2014.)
The grand total came to $163,673. 67.
Key take-aways for parents:
- The main thrust of this program is to treat all kids like they are ‘gifted’ and to promote “critical thinking skills”. Question: Is this set of strategies is being employed on top of Common Core or is it being employed to temper the age/developmental inappropriateness of Common Core in K-3?
- This program is being piloted in Kindergarten classes. Average age of a Kindergartener is five years to six years old.
- Parents with children in these elementary schools received notification letters just this past week — after school had started. These letters did not include any type of opt-out ability for parents. Since training for this program took place in June, perhaps a letter to prospective Kindergarten parents should have gone out before school started?
- Some of the books and materials being used are Common Core aligned. Some seem to follow a classical education model. Either way, this is a lot for a young mind which thinks concretely, not abstractly.
- Reminder: The KEA (Kindergarten Entry Assessment) is also in place this year. Also, watch out for ACT and their attempt to assess your kindergartener to combat ‘workforce skill gaps’.
Related resources on the materials being used for this program:
- Exodus Books – Building Thinking Skills
- Kindergarten Thinking Skills & Common Core Concepts: Teacher’s Manual
- Infusing the Teaching of Critical and Creative Thinking into Content Instruction
Related brochure on Project Bright Idea 2: