Gifted school groundbreaking in Green Bay

Green Bay school and city leaders break ground for the Leonardo da Vinci School for Gifted Learners.

GREEN BAY - A school for gifted students in Green Bay is one step closer to becoming a reality.

A groundbreaking was held Thursday for the Leonardo da Vinci School for Gifted Learners.

The school will be set up on S. Monroe Avenue, and it is set to open in the fall.

Increased enrollment at the school reflects a growing interest in the program.

With a Latin salute, Green Bay school leaders and students seized the day.

School Principal Tammy Van Dyke says gifted students need to be challenged.

"This tends to be a population that people forget about. The kids at the other end of the spectrum who can learn things at a much more rapid pace," said Van Dyke.

The Gifted Learners program started last fall. 130 students currently attend classes at Langlade
Elementary. District leaders expect about 275 kindergarten through eighth-grade students this fall.

Edward Piontek says the program is a good fit for his second grade son Teddy.

"He was bored at other schools, kind of gets in trouble, frustrated," said parent Edward Piontek.

"I had a really bad year, so I'm trying to turn it around, and it's been happening a lot," said Teddy Piontek, second grade student.

"He's doing great this year. Challenged, really excited about it," said Edward Piontek.

Aaron Willems has three children in the program.

"The kids seemed a little bored at school. So this gave them an opportunity at a faster pace. My third grader, for example, is doing fifth grade math right now," said parent Aaron Willems.

Students need to apply. A committee evaluates test scores, and grades before recommending students for the program.

"It should be no surprise to any of us that exceptional children grow into extraordinary adults," said Green Bay Area Public School District Superintendent Michelle Langenfeld.

New construction will compliment renovations to the old Catholic elementary school. Crews have been working for about a month to build the campus.

The project cost is about $4.4 million.

The bill is being split between the school district, the city of Green Bay and private donors.