School Board President Defends Elizabeth’s Gifted and Talented Program

ELIZABETH—Elizabeth School Board President Carlos Trujillo struck back at negative comments made regarding the Gifted and Talented Program in the Elizabeth School district by City Council members at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.  He termed the comments, “a bad start to a very important responsibility.”

“First, there was their costly orchestrated effort to defeat the school budget. Now, we are informed of comments attributed to Councilman Patricia Perkins-Auguste who said the creation of the Gifted and Talented Program was ‘ungodly’.  Trujillo defended the Elizabeth Public Schools Gifted and Talented Program, saying it was nationally recognized as a Blue Ribbon School.


The Board President noted that operation of the program is mandated by the state and he is perplexed by her arguments.  He said, “We are disappointed that the councilwoman doesn’t feel the same level of joy and excitement for our schoolchildren, all of them from around Elizabeth, who successfully compete and are recognized nationally by the Federal Government as high achievers.”

“As we approach a critical budget review with the city council, these kinds of rhetorical firebombs are not helpful. Questioning the validity of a program that has the active participation of almost 2000 students throughout the City of Elizabeth doesn’t start our dialogue on the right foot,” added Trujillo.

“Let me try to put this in terms that hopefully the City Council can appreciate. The Gifted and Talented Program is a strong attraction for residents to buy homes and stay in Elizabeth.  More importantly, it is an investment in all our futures by helping to shape the next generation.  At the beginning of this very important process, it is time for the City Council to lower the political rhetoric and realize the obligation both bodies share in developing a budget that meets the responsibility to the children of our city.” Trujillo concluded.

Elizabeth Schools Victor Mravlag School No. 21 and William Halloran School No. 22 are both recognized by the United States Department of Education as Blue Ribbon Schools.

The Blue Ribbon award distinguishes and honors schools for helping students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

According to federal guidelines, Blue Ribbon Schools must be:

• Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that       dramatically improve student performance to high levels on state tests; and

• Schools whose students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10 percent of their state on state tests or in the case of private schools in the top 10 percent of the nation on nationally-normed tests. Under No Child Left Behind, schools must make Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, in reading (language arts) and mathematics.

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