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Grant Helps Poorer Schools Identify Talented and Gifted Students via Creative Commons

Title 1 schools usually get a boost from programs that help kids struggling academically to catch up to their peers. But a new program aims to help them put a spotlight on kids who are gifted and talented. 

Moya Kessig is Utah’s gifted and talented education specialist. She says a lot of students in Utah may be exceptional readers, but they’re not being identified for a number of reasons. 

“Maybe they’re limited English speaking, maybe it’s because they come from an under resourced community,” Kessig says. “Let’s try and see if we can pick up some kids and kind of get them in the pipeline early so that when they get into the middle school and high school, they’re not afraid to take challenging classes.”

The Utah Center for the Advancement of Reading Excellence or UCARE is aimed at finding talented readers in 60 of Utah’s low-income Title 1 schools. The program is funded in part by a grant from the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program. Kessig says kids who participate in gifted and talented programs are likely to be more invested in academics. 

“They graduate high school at a higher rate,” Kessig says. “They participate in concurrent enrollment. They participated in advanced placement classes. They go to college. And we know that kids who do participate in AP, IB or concurrent are more likely to get a degree.”

School administrators who are interested in the three-year program will have to apply with the Utah State Office of Education.

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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