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Two coastal schools model gifted and talented program

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TWC News: Two coastal schools model gifted and talented program
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY -- North Carolina schools that teach all students as if they are gifted and talented have attracted national attention.

The state Department of Public Instruction and Duke University developed this philosophy called Project Bright IDEA several years ago.

The purpose of the program is to find and develop gifted and talented students from diverse backgrounds. To do this, good behavior and thought habits along with problem-solving skills are integrated into the curriculum for all students.

On Tuesday, Duke faculty, students and researchers visited two Brunswick County elementary schools that have implemented this program in kindergarten through fifth grade. They want to make Town Creek and Lincoln Elementary model sites for not only North Carolina school districts but interested out-of-state school systems as well.

"To try and explain it to people is very difficult so they need a place to go, people need to be able to go see how teachers teach differently, how they set up the classroom and how children get engaged in learning at a high level," said Margaret Gayle, director at the American Association for Gifted Children at Duke University.

Teachers said they know what they are doing is working because test scores are improving and more students and a more diverse group of students are being identified for the Academically Intellectually Gift Program.

"It's not necessarily about how smart you are but what do you do with what you have? Are you able to persist, do you strive for accuracy, do you double check your work and if you practice those habits of mind, you are going to be a successful person in life," said Lisa Dolak, a teacher at Town Creek.

Duke officials said the college students used the visits as opportunities to gather research and see public policy working in public education.

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