The equitable identification of gifted students in all racial, economic and cultural groups is a primary goal of the MCPSS PACE Program for gifted students. Entrada is an initiative of the Department of Special Education, Mobile County Public School System, to identify gifted disadvantaged minority students, as well as students in other under-served populations. This effort is rooted in two premises:
- Giftedness is present in all ethnic groups and at all socioeconomic levels.
- Giftedness is context bound and multidimensional and thus its identification requires multidimensional strategies and assessments which are sometimes non-traditional.
Entrada means gateway or entrance. Entrada opens the door for gifted education. This program creates situations in which students who are potentially gifted can develop and demonstrate their giftedness. Schools use grades, test scores and teacher recommendations to choose high achieving, task committed students. PACE teachers will teach and screen these students who have not yet been officially identified as gifted.
- Middle and high school Entrada students and PACE students will attend PACE classes together. Secondary course offerings consist of core classes or elective classes.
- Elementary Entrada classes are offered during the second quarter of the school year. Students may be chosen from grades one, two or three. The curriculum concentrates on positive self-concept development through leadership, language development through literature and the infusion of Talents Unlimited throughout. Entrada classes will usually be separate from PACE classes.
At all levels, parents of students chosen for Entrada must give their written permission for the children to attend Entrada classes.
The implementation of Entrada in a school depends on the availability of a PACE teacher and of adequate facilities. For this reason, schools that wish to have Entrada services must obtain clearance from the Department of Special Education. Each local school will determine which students will be served and how long they will be served. Multiple criteria will be used to identify Entrada students. Schools will choose those students who can most benefit from Entrada. Entrada teachers will review their Entrada students for possible referral throughout the time of service. That is one of the purposes of the program. However, it is not necessary that every Entrada student be referred for evaluation or that every student remain in the Entrada class. The home school will determine how long a student remains in the class.
- Equitable identification of giftedness in disadvantaged minority students, as well as students from other under-served populations.
- Development of potential in leadership, communication and creativity in all the students served.
- Functioning by PACE teachers as advocates for the identification for and maintenance in the PACE Program of the Entrada students.