Gifted 5-year-old’s family moves from Oahu to East Coast for new school

Keoki Kerr:

The parents of a Kalama Valley kindergartner said they reluctantly sold their house, are looking for new jobs and moving to the East Coast to enroll their gifted son in a special school. And they fault the state for not offering enough support for extraordinarily talented students in Hawaii public schools.
Parents who believe they have a gifted child should seek help from school officials, conduct plenty of online research and get deeply involved in their child’s education inside and outside of the classroom, according to a local expert and the parents of a gifted Oahu boy whose family moved to the East Coast to go to a special school for gifted students.
“Work with the principal to see what can be done at the school that your student attends,” said Anna Viggiano, the educational specialist in charge of gifted and talented programs for the state of Hawaii Department of Education.
Most public schools have a period during which you can nominate your child to be designated gifted, she said. Parents can nominate their children for screening and testing by school officials who will evaluate the students to see if they are eligible for special classes.
“As a parent, you can’t depend totally on the school,” Viggiano said. The DOE does not have the money for any statewide initiatives for gifted students, she said. The state gives each public school $914 per gifted student, money that every principal decides how to use.
Viggiano said parents should ask, “What can I do on my parent time to make my child love learning and feel happy?”