LC PAGE surveyed school director candidates countywide for their views on gifted education. Here are the responses we received.


Janet Carroll
Manheim Township

Q1
What is your own experience with public education?

I attended public schools, as did our three children, K-12. When we moved to this area we were only interested in areas with strong public schools for our growing family. For the past nine years I have also volunteered in a local elementary school, one to two times a week, working with second graders and their reading. Basically my experience has only been in public education.

Q2
Do you see yourself primarily as a representative of the community or as a representative of the school system?

Actually I see it as a balance of one to the other. Communication is the critical factor.

Q3
How do you see yourself engaging in dialogue with stakeholders?

In preparation for potential board service, I have been going door to door to meet stakeholders. In addition, I created a Facebook page, Carroll for MT School Board, which promotes communication in both directions. Once on the board, that page would certainly continue.

Q4
What is your philosophy of gifted education?

Gifted education was a life saver for our children. We saw it providing an outlet, an opportunity for creativity and challenge that their regular classroom setting did not always do.

Q5
What is your understanding of Pennsylvania law regarding gifted education?

I appreciate that it is a requirement for all districts to provide and am grateful that it is.

Q6
What do you think the greatest challenge in gifted education is in your school district?

Availability of time within the school day and individualization of the GIEP for all students. The gifted are not of one need or gift which probably presents the greatest challenge for any public education program.

Q7
When you know the school district has violated the law, how would you handle it?

Violations of the law need to be taken very seriously, I would start with the superintendent to resolve, then the full board and then outside resources as necessary if not resolved.

Q8
If you were asked a question about gifted education that you did not have the answer to, what resources and organizations would you turn to for help?

Of course it would depend on the question, whether it was an internal process question for the district or an individual issue with raising a gifted child. The first would of course go to the district but how I wish that there had been a Lancaster County Partners for Gifted Education when our children were in the program, what a wonderful resource and network for families.


Jason Spatola
Hempfield School District

Q1
What is your own experience with public education?

I graduated from Hempfield School District. My family has both attended public school system as well as worked/volunteered so have a basic understanding. Beyond that it’s from a Community standpoint of engaged in community looking for ways to be promoting education and help for schools and students.

Q2
Do you see yourself primarily as a representative of the community or as a representative of the school system?

The Community first and foremost because they ARE the school board. If I am elected I am a steward for the people in this community and what it is they are looking for happening. The School Board role is to serve the Community and guide our children so they have the best possible learning experience. Initiatives coming from the school board should take into consideration all community input

Q3
How do you see yourself engaging in dialogue with stakeholders?

Continuing the outreach and engagement I currently am doing plus expanding on it.. Be it out meeting people, attending school board meetings, community and school events where I am engaging with parents and residents as well as an active social media page on Facebook @SpatolaForHempfieldSchoolBoard/. Facebook has been good at engaging with people. I am also active in the business, art and community networking events aspect as we all have a vested interest.

Q4
What is your philosophy of gifted education?

Gifted education ensures all our students are staying actively engaged and being adequately challenged. This is a growth area for all districts to ensure the proper mental as well as social stimulation is being accomplished
Q5
What is your understanding of Pennsylvania law regarding gifted education?

It is a good framework and helps ensure that all gifted students have the opportunities they deserve. It falls on the Board to ensure we are exceeding the requirements and doing all we can to ensure all students are being identified and getting the resources and challenges they deserve.

Q6
What do you think the greatest challenge in gifted education is in your school district?

I view it more as opportunities than challenges. The area I see that will give us the most growth which will benefit the gifted education program as well as the school body as a whole is Hempfields implementation of the 1 to 1 program. With it I see lots of growth opportunities for the District in this area as we transition towards more creative learning environment. More targeted and customized lessons which are certainly more interactive as I’ve seen samples of them. It also allows for more time with instructors as well as peer learning. These added resources and its ongoing implementation will be our opportunity to make a real difference especially with the gifted program.
Beyond that just a steady improvement on where we are now, ensuring any issues are addressed.

Q7
When you know the school district has violated the law, how would you handle it?

We have a moral, ethical and legal obligation to take action. Legal issues should be addressed immediately be it through the District Solicitor, the Superintendent and involved parties through discussion with the Board on what needs done.

Q8
If you were asked a question about gifted education that you did not have the answer to, what resources and organizations would you turn to for help?

That would be situational depending on the question and concern. The School Board has access to many qualified professionals as well as a network of resources it can tap into. The State has even more Also we have a multitude of Community and Educational resources we can ask. This organization is a great example of resources that can be utilized.


NIkki Rivera
Manheim Township School District

Q1
What is your own experience with public education?

Public high school teacher in my 23rd year. My 5 children attend MT public schools (two graduated in June 2017).

Q2
Do you see yourself primarily as a representative of the community or as a representative of the school system?

Both. I appreciate having input in my local school district and I’m an advocate for public school success, in general.

Q3
How do you see yourself engaging in dialogue with stakeholders?

Respectfully, professionally, and with follow-up, as needed.

Q4
What is your philosophy of gifted education?

School’s need to meet students in their skills and provide avenues for academic, social, and emotional growth. Piquing students’ curiosity is key.

Q5
What is your understanding of Pennsylvania law regarding gifted education?

Students that meet the state requirements for gifted education must be provided gifted education.

Q6
What do you think the greatest challenge in gifted education is in your school district?

The process of assessment for acceptance into the gifted program.

Q7
When you know the school district has violated the law, how would you handle it?

Bring it to the attention if the superintendent as well as the solicitor.

Q8

If you were asked a question about gifted education that you did not have the answer to, what resources and organizations would you turn to for help?

LCPAGE, Director of Pupil Services in the school district.

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