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Shaver says he wants a state gifted program
[September 22, 2010]

Shaver says he wants a state gifted program

TUPELO, Sep 22, 2010 (Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Tupelo Superintendent Randy Shaver said on Tuesday night that he would like to see Mississippi allow for an academically gifted program for its high-achieving students.

The state's current gifted program only focuses on intellectual skills.

Shaver made the remarks at his first "Conversations with Randy Shaver" event of the school year. He answered 21 questions that were submitted by audience members at the event, which was held at Tupelo Middle School.

The next "Conversations with Randy Shaver" will be held on Oct. 13 at 9 a.m. at City Hall. An event for the Spanish-speaking public will be Oct. 24 at 3:30 p.m. at St. James Catholic Church.

Shaver also spoke on Tuesday about the use of textbooks in the district and about a filter that will be installed on all of the district-issued laptops. He addressed the importance of professional development and called for the community to help the school district by acting to aid low-income children.

Mississippi's current gifted program is geared toward challenging students in intellectual thinking skills through more abstract programs but not toward allowing them to do more rigorous academic work, such as covering material that older students would normally study.

Shaver said he has already spoken with Mississippi Superintendent Tom Burnham about changing that. He said most other states allow for both intellectual and academic gifted programs.

Shaver also answered several questions about the district's laptop initiative that provides MacBooks to all sixth- to 12th-graders. He said that the district is working to get wireless in place at Tupelo High School, Tupelo Middle School and Milam Elementary.

Once that wireless is implemented, students will have filters installed on their computers that will prevent their access to many restricted websites, even when they are off campus.

Those filters will restrict the same websites currently prohibited by the district's on-campus filters. They will also prevent students from using the iChat program on their computers.

Shaver said that the laptop program does not prevent teachers from using textbooks. He said the district still owns most of the textbooks it used last year and that teachers are authorized to use those if they feel it is best to do so.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or

To see more of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2010, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo, Miss. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit, e-mail, or call 866-280-5210 (outside the United States, call +1 312-222-4544).

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