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Temporary solution to AGATE program reached

A temporary fix for the location and structure of the Brainerd school Gifted and Talented AGATE Program will bring officials through the next year.

The Brainerd School Board met Monday and voted to keep the program as-is at Lowell, while studying deeper the ways to fix the problems in the next year.

The location and structure of the Gifted and Talented AGATE Program was brought before the board since Lowell Elementary, where the program is currently located in four classrooms, will be undergoing construction at the end of the school year. Officials decided to re-evaluate the program’s space needs. The location at Lowell is restricting for staff in working together and with students, officials say.

The Brainerd School Curriculum Committee this month was briefed on options by a task force, which formed to pull together potential changes to location, offering to the committee a handful of options.

“None of theses options are perfect,” said Deb Lechner, director of teaching and learning. ”They all carry pros and cons.”

Options included leaving the program as is; splitting it up and having two classes at one elementary school and two classes at another elementary school; move the program to Forestview Middle School; change the school boundaries to accommodate the AGATE Program located at Lowell; and the final option, which was endorsed by the task force, to keep the program at Lowell and temporarily begin formal programming at grade 2, adding grade 4.

At Monday night’s meeting, a handful of parents with children in the AGATE program spoke against moving the program out of Lowell because of the disruption it would cause.

Board members agreed, unanimously approving a combination of two options presented. The program will stay as-is at Lowell for another year as officials do a study on possible attendance boundary changes and brainstorm any other solutions.

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at jessica.larsen@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/brainerdnews.

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