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Brooklyn and Bronx Leaders Seek Input in Specialized School Program Reforms

 Community members can share their thoughts on gifted and talented programs at two
Community members can share their thoughts on gifted and talented programs at two "Gifted & Talented Task Force" hearings this month in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
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UPDATE: The Brooklyn public hearing for the Gifted & Talented Task Force has been rescheduled to Tuesday, March 28 in anticipation of a blizzard on March 14.

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The borough presidents for Brooklyn and The Bronx are convening a pair of public forums this month to find ways to equalize the opportunities for gifted and talented school programs throughout the city.

Community members will have the chance to weigh in on the programs, along with the specialized high schools admissions process, as part of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams' and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.'s “Gifted & Talented Task Force.”

A March 14 meeting in Bedford-Stuyvesant has been rescheduled to March 28 due to Tuesday's predicted snowstorm, a spokesman for Adams said Monday.

The two leaders have pushed for the expansion of the accelerated classes throughout the city with more testing, and have pointed out neighborhoods in the South Bronx and central Brooklyn that were, until recently, without G&T programs.

Adams and Diaz formed the task force in January to study issues surrounding G&T, and the group is made up of the elected officials and three parent leaders from each borough.

During the meetings, parents, educators, students and other stakeholders are asked to share their thoughts and experiences with gifted programming.

"This input will be integral to shifting the delivery of specialized instruction in our city, as we push for reforms that gives every child high-quality opportunities in a more equitable and prosperous system,” Adams said in a statement.

The feedback will be used to “craft positive changes on gifted education, test prep and other resources” for students, according to Diaz.

READ MORE: Gifted and Talented Program Finally Coming to Bed-Stuy Middle School

MAP: See How Racial Segregation Persists at Gifted and Talented Programs

The Bronx Borough president previously said that students in some Bronx and Brooklyn communities had been denied opportunities given to their counterparts in other boroughs for G&T programs.

In September, the city opened new, pilot G&T classes in four school districts that were previously without — in the South Bronx's District 7, Crotona Park's District 12, Bedford-Stuyvesant's District 16 and Ocean Hill/Brownsville's District 23.

“Gifted and talented programs are very important to help our children be all that they can be. We need to have a wide range of programs because our children have a wide range of abilities,” said Ralph Yozzo, Adams’ task force appointee and member of the Community Education Council for School District 16.

Later this year, the group is expected to release a set of recommendations for the future of gifted education.

The Bronx hearing will be held Monday, March 20 at the Bronx High School of Science, 75 West 205th St. The Brooklyn hearing will be held on Tuesday, March 28 at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza, 1368 Fulton St. Both sessions will go from 6 to 8 p.m.