Minot Public School District starts new program for gifted students

MINOT, N.D. - Minot Public Schools is in its first year of a newly constructed gifted learners program.

Edison Elementary hosts both the Journey program and the PACE program.

Journey is for the highest level of advanced third and fourth grade students. They attend class with each other five days a week.

PACE however is one day a week, third through fifth grade students will leave their home school for a day of learning with like-minded individuals at Edison.

If you didn't know any better, walking into Ms. Erickson's classroom you would think it was just your typical third graders.

"We all made up our own dinosaur. Microbrachiobarourus. It means small arm large tail,” said one third-grader.

But when you ask them what they are doing, you quickly learn it's much more than that.

"We are using Greek and Latin roots to make a whole project,” said another third-grader.

The Gifted Learning Program is bringing their drawing to life while learning curriculum beyond their years.

"The concept of depth and complexity. The concept of digging deeper into the information and of extending their learning and accelerating their learning,” said Julie Jaeger, a PACE instructor.

These students would finish at the top of their class.

"It was really hard for us not to get bored in our class because we would finish before everybody else and it was just kind of boring sitting there waiting doing that easier stuff,” said Jack Stevick, third grade Journey student.

They now have the opportunity to be challenged in the classroom.

"Getting a better chance at learning harder things,” says Bella Curtis a third grade PACE student.

"I like how we get a challenge. At our regular schools it's the same stuff and now we get to learn something new,” said Teegan Dangel, third grade PACE student.

The students still face a learning curve.

"We actually have to teach them what happens when you meet an obstacle. They are really not used to coming across something like that. Usually it is so ready for them. So they don't always have the foundation and skills that they need,” said Cassandra Skar, fourth grade Journey Teacher.

The gifted program has not only benefited the kids academically.

"A lot of my students said at the beginning of the year that they felt that there wasn't somebody they could relate with in their classrooms before,” said Whitney Erickson, third grade Journey teacher.

"It's better because you think the same way and it's just easier to tell people your ideas,” said Alyviah Kopp, third grade Journey student.

Working to help better educate the next generation to achieve their dreams.

"I want to be an architect,” said Kopp.

"A fighter pilot,” said Curtis.

"A golfer,” said Dangel.

Minot Public School students qualify for the program based on scores from Cognitive Ability tests that all second and fourth graders take.