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New blog covers gifted education policy

September 14, 2016 Leave a comment

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the National Association for Gifted Children have joined forces with The High Flyer, a new blog about gifted education policy.

Policy papers are sometimes academic and dry, but I recommend you check this blog out anyway. Why? Because the more you know about what’s happening in gifted education in different states and school systems, the more effective you can be in bringing needed changes to your own school, district, or state, not only for your child, but for all gifted children.

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Categories: Advocacy and policy

When academic awards season means hurt feelings for the gifted

May 12, 2016 9 comments

For the metro Atlanta area, May brings the end of the school year, and with that comes academic awards season. It can be a surprisingly difficult and disappointing time for gifted children.

Gifted kids will receive their Principal’s List awards for earning all A’s, but when it comes to those big awards — the special awards that are accompanied by a teacher’s speech about how wonderful the child is — gifted kids often are passed over in favor of students who have struggled through school.

I am all in favor of rewarding hard work in the face of adversity. I am often moved to tears when the teachers describe a child who, for example, started the school year not speaking English and now is reading independently. That child absolutely deserves praise for what they have achieved.

But how do I look into the saddened eyes of my child and explain that although she is at the top of her class academically, is helpful, respectful, responsible and well-behaved, she is never chosen for this standout award?

I try. I compare these awards to what on my sports teams were called the “Coach’s Award” or “Hustle Award,” an award the coach gave to a player who worked hard but who didn’t have the skills to be the best scorer, defender, or all-around athlete. The problem is, at least in my child’s school, there is only one special recognition award per class. So if the award goes to a kid who has struggled to get from the bottom to the middle, it will never go to a child who has consistently been at the top.

The “Crushing Tall Poppies” blog addressed this dilemma in a recent post, “Not the Underdog, Yet, the Underdog.” The author, Celi Trépanier, is a former teacher and a SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) facilitator. She argues that it’s human nature to give additional support and encouragement to children who are struggling, but points out that this can translate to neglect of well-adjusted, high-performing kids in school. She writes:

Cutting down the tall poppies does not level the playing field; it promotes an unfair and inequitable situation. What many seem to forget is gifted children are human and they are children—children who have feelings, who have flaws, and who can also have physical and learning disabilities. Gifted children, like all children, need positive feedback, encouragement, and they need to be nurtured and supported like every other child. When support, encouragement and positive feedback is denied to a gifted child based on the assumption he or she probably does not need anything more, they grow up feeling left out and shunned.

And so we go into awards season, my child hopeful, me filled with the dread of another disappointment, of trying to explain once again why her success isn’t enough to earn her the recognition she craves.

Urge our senators to support gifted research

March 20, 2015 Leave a comment

Would you give ten minutes to support gifted education?

Here’s how: E-mail our U.S. senators in support of continued funding for the Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act.

Javits Act funding supports research into how gifted students learn, and how we can improve teaching methods.

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) have written a letter to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education, asking that the 2016 budget continue to fund the Javits Act.

Showing support for Javits funding is crucial, because previous budgets have cut or eliminated it. Although Javits funding was as high as $11 million a year in the early 2000s, it dropped to $7.5 million per year later that decade, and was cut out entirely for the years 2010-2013. In 2014, Congress allocated $5 million to Javits, and in the 2015 budget, thanks to the leadership of Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, gifted research was funded at $10 million.

Don’t let Javits funding get slashed or eliminated again in the next budget.

Your letter to our senators can be short and simple. My suggestion:

  1. Open with the call to action: to sign the Grassley-Casey letter in support of Javits funding.
  2. State your connection to gifted education. For example, that you have a gifted child, or you teach gifted children.
  3. Voice your support for research to ensure that gifted children are well served by our schools.
  4. Restate the call to action.

Send an e-mail to U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson

Send an e-mail to U.S. Senator David Perdue

We need to take action on this by March 26, 2015.

Gifted kids are a minority. They need our advocacy.

Categories: Advocacy and policy

Incoming Ga. superintendent seeks student advisers

January 7, 2015 Leave a comment

Here’s a chance for your gifted student to have his or her voice heard, and to advocate for better gifted education in our schools:

[The following is a press release from the Georgia Department of Education]

Superintendent-elect Woods Seeks Student Advisers

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, mcardoza@gadoe.org or Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 656-5594, mfrick@doe.k12.ga.us

INTERESTED STUDENTS: Ron Culver: rculver@doe.k12.ga.us

Link to application

January 5, 2015 — State School Superintendent-elect Richard Woods is accepting applications for the 2015 Student Advisory Council.

The members of the Student Advisory Council meet three times during the school year with the State School Superintendent to discuss how decisions made at the state level are affecting students throughout Georgia. Members are advisers and act as liaisons between the Department of Education and the students of Georgia. Superintendent-elect Woods will be conducting the meetings, which will also feature various DOE personnel providing further information.

“Meeting with students and getting their advice will be a top priority of mine as State School Superintendent,” said Superintendent-elect Woods. “I am committed to making decisions that are in the best interests of our students, and hearing from them directly is how I can ensure that happens.”

All students in grades 7-12 are eligible to apply. Meetings will be held in February, March and early May (dates are subject to change). Applicants should be able to attend all meetings.

To be eligible for the Council, applications must be received by Friday, January 16, 2014.

 

 

 

Categories: Advocacy and policy

GiftedAtlanta offering more on Twitter

October 14, 2014 1 comment

GiftedAtlanta.com has reached 500 subscribers. I’m stunned. Thanks to everyone for supporting the site and for passing it along to others who can use the information.

In honor of this milestone, I’m adding a Twitter component to GiftedAtlanta.com. On Twitter, I’ll point you to the latest articles and research pertinent to gifted kids.

I’ll still post information about local programs at GiftedAtlanta.com. Whenever I post something new on the web site, I’ll send a quick tweet that links back to the full article here.

I hope you’ll find this a useful addition.

– Dori

Categories: Advocacy and policy

AJC reporter broadens his request for parents of gifted kids

April 9, 2014 1 comment

Yesterday, I posted a request from Ty Tagami, a reporter at the AJC. He’s working on a story about gifted education in metro Atlanta schools.

He contacted me last night and asked to expand his request. He wants to hear from anyone who has an opinion about gifted education in metro Atlanta. He is most concerned with how parents feel their school’s gifted program stacks up against its general education program. In light of that, the ideal source for his story would be a parent who has at least one child participating in gifted classes, along with another child who is in the general education program at the same public school.

Also helpful would be parents whose children entered the gifted program relatively late in their school careers, or parents who have kids in the gifted program but are familiar with the general education program by their own in-school observation.

He would also be interested to talk with parents who left the public school system because they were unsatisfied with their child’s education, whether that was in the gifted program or the general program.

You can reach Ty at ttagami at ajc dot com (reconstruct the address to use it).

 

Categories: Advocacy and policy

AJC seeks parents’ input about gifted programs

April 8, 2014 Leave a comment

I received a call today from Ty Tagami, reporter at the AJC. He’s working on a story about the gifted population in metro Atlanta schools. He said he’s heard apocryphally about parents who pull their children out of the public schools prior to middle school if the child has not been admitted to their school district’s gifted program by then.

If this is something you’ve done or plan to do, or if you know someone who has, would you get in touch with Ty to help him out? You can reach him at ttagami at ajc dot com (reconstruct the address to use it).

 

Categories: Advocacy and policy