Marion Co. district leaders celebrate opening of center for gifted and talented students; facility also open to other students, and evening, weekend activities are planned

Lebanon Enterprise, Nov. 2, 2016

‘Every child deserves to wear a crown’
Crown Center celebrates grand opening
By Stevie Lowery

“We believe that every child in our district deserves to wear a crown,” Marion County Superintendent Taylora Schlosser said during last week’s grand opening of the Crown Center. “So, when you come to the Crown Center, you’re going to be the king or queen of learning.”

Schlosser, along with students, staff and parents, celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the Crown Center Thursday evening. The Crown Center, which is located at the Marion County Area Technology Center, will serve the school district’s more than 600 gifted and talented students throughout the school year.

“We couldn’t do this without saying something about Ms. Joyce Payne,” Schlosser said. “She was instructional supervisor years ago and she actually started this program. I feel like we’re very fortunate to expand our gifted and talented program so that all children have a special opportunity to make education a memory and a dream come true.”

According to Troy Benningfield, Marion County Public Schools special programs director/instructional supervisor, while the Crown Center will target the interests of gifted and talented students, every student will be welcome to take advantage of the center. This year, MCPS students will be taking in-district field trips to the center, but evening and Saturday events are also planned. Staff have already offered an evening seminar series for students interested in applying for the Governor's Scholars Program. This month, staff will be hosting an evening event called ‘Real Talk for Seniors.’ MCHS seniors and their families will be invited to visit with MCHS graduates and discuss the life of a college freshman, Benningfield said.

“We want to amp up the opportunities for our students with exciting, hands-on experiences that allow students, and their families, to extend their learning and, as we like to say at MCPS, dream big,” he said. “The opportunity to partner with the area technology center is a plus as students will also have the chance to visit and explore that facility while attending Crown Center events.”

Benningfield, who is a proud alumnus of the MCPS gifted and talented program, said he’s excited about the opportunities this new space will provide current and future students.

“This is another dream come true for our Marion County Public Schools,” he said.

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