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Parents speak out for Scotia-Glenville's Young Scholars

Close to 20 parents and even one student gathered at the Monday, March 23, Board of Education meeting to plead the case for keeping the Young Scholars program intact.

The district is mulling the idea of bringing the program for gifted students, which is currently outsourced through Capital District BOCES, in house.

Several Scotia-Glenville teachers already run OPAL, or Opportunities and Programming for Advanced Learners, and other programs for gifted students, and many parents feel adding Young Scholars to the workload may be too much.

Scotia-Glenville is in the middle of budget season and has looked at moving the Young Scholars program within the district to keep school taxes down.

Superintendent Susan Swartz has proposed an elimination of the Young Scholars programs in grades four and five next year for a savings of $45,000. Under her proposal, the OPAL teachers would take over that enrichment program in the elementary schools.

A mother of three children in the district, Christine McKenna, said that Young Scholars provides an opportunity for children who excel in the humanities, and she feels that the program offers opportunities that Scotia-Glenville may not be able to compete with.

We do the math and science piece very well, but there has been overwhelming support for the Young Scholars humanities. The program is challenging and meets the kids' needs. It makes sense to me to maintain something that has consistently had such positive feedback, said McKenna.

Another parent, Morena Rizutto, said she met with OPAL parents this past week to discuss different alternatives for the various gifted programs. She said the Young Scholars teachers through BOCES are very connected to the students and the parents, and communication with them is strong.

"I keep coming back to the fact that this is such a great program as it is. I often hear it's important to the district to have a strong connection to the teachers who teach this program. I can tell you they are very open and accessible. I just don't understand why I keep seeing changing Young Scholars on the agenda," said Rizzuto.

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