ETC (Gifted and Talented)

Forest Park is fortunate to have two gifted specialists on staff: Ms. Cynthia Khoury and Mr. Jason Finney. Our purpose is to provide our students with enrichment and challenge that goes beyond the regular curriculum. Ms. Khoury provides weekly enrichment activities for K-2 students on Mondays and Wednesdays. During these enrichment lessons, students work on critical and creative thinking, as well as problem-solving skills.

The Little Rock School District’s Gifted Program, called “Enhance the Chance” (ETC), is provided to all identfied students.  Identification begins at the start of third grade. The Little Rock School District uses an inclusive, multi-dimensional identification process. ETC students receive two hours and thirty minutes of instruction each week in the gifted classroom. Students work on critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, and research skills embedded within thematic units. Mr. Finney teaches the third, fourth, and fifth grades. Please feel free to call Ms. Khoury or Mr. Finney (447-4531) if you have any questions. You are always welcome to visit us in the gifted classroom.

We look forward to working with your children!enlightened


Cynthia Khoury & Jason Finney Gifted Specialists

Letter to 5th Grade Parents 12/18

Dear Parents,

 We have had an excellent first semester in 5th grade E.T.C.!   Over the past few months we have focused on two units—Developing Growth Mindset/Reducing Anxiety and Pixar-in-a-Box. I have been impressed with the 5th grade students’ willingness to explore their own mindsets and reflect on how they respond to challenges/mistakes. In ETC I present students with high-level, challenging activities that often end in frustration and failure. Through our growth mindset unit the students have internalized some effective strategies for dealing with setbacks.  We also practiced ways to reduce anxiety based on the book, Why Smart Kids Worry: And What Parents Can Do to Help by Allison Edwards.

     The Pixar-in-a-Box unit was designed to help gifted students answer an age old question: "Why do I need to learn this stuff?" Through a series of interactive lessons the students learned that the very same concepts that they learn in school are used to make the Pixar movies they love. We focused on storytelling—the students went from zero to a finished storyboard for a film. They learned how the folks at Pixar create interesting characters, imagine exciting story structures, and use visual language and film grammar. Storyboarding one short scene from their film idea, the students then created storyreels. Check them out here:  (password: finney

    After some heated discussion and a class vote, the students have decided that their next unit will be a S.T.E.M.-based simulation—a truck hauling an unknown chemical has turned over just south of Little Rock! This curriculum, from the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary, explores chemical, ecological, and transportation systems. Next semester we will also compete in the Stock Market Game. If you, or someone you know, is an investing expert, let me know. We’d love have you visit and share your insider tips!

Have a wonderful break,

Jason Finney