AJC calls kid artists to create Art from the Heart

May 6, 2020 Leave a comment

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution invites kids 13 and under to submit hand-drawn artwork that shows appreciation for those working tirelessly during these times, from healthcare workers and delivery drivers to employees in grocery stores and restaurants.

The Art from the Heart project will accept submissions until June 1, 2020. Selected drawings will be published on AJC.com and in a special section of the newspaper to be printed this summer.

Categories: Enrichment, Uncategorized

Georgia Tech takes its summer programs online

May 4, 2020 Leave a comment

Georgia Tech will deliver a series of STEAM-oriented online workshops for middle- and high-school students during the summer of 2020.

Topics for the week-long STEAM Whistle Workshops include creating mobile apps, music production, art with an engineering twist, meteorology, and more.

The summer workshops are being offered through the university’s CEISMC office, which manages outreach to the pre-K-12 community, and is the group that operates K.I.D.S. Club and Summer PEAKS.

Registration for June sessions is open now. Registration for July sessions is coming soon. Cost is $100 to $150 per workshop.

Categories: Uncategorized

Free, online coding classes for children of healthcare workers

April 8, 2020 Leave a comment

STREM HQ is offering one month of free coding classes to children of healthcare workers.

The classes are designed for kids ages 8 to 12. Sessions will begin April 13, 2020.

Categories: Enrichment, Uncategorized

Kids’ science author offers free online events

April 6, 2020 Leave a comment

There’s something special about learning science from someone who’s passionate about it. And Heather L. Montgomery is about as passionate as they come.

When Heather talks about bugs or snakes or other unusual animals, she absolutely lights up, and her enthusiasm is contagious. I know this because I know Heather personally. She and I are both authors of children’s books, and we’ve talked about our writing lots of times. When Heather tells a bug story, it’s riveting.

Ordinarily, Heather travels around visiting schools, sharing her passion for living things, and teaching students about science and writing. With schools closed, she’s offering three free virtual events.

  1. Author reading. Heather reads from her book, Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill in a series of YouTube videos. Recommended for 3rd grade and up. (Videos available through the end of June.)
  2. Write Like a Scientist. Heather teaches the similarities between the scientific process and the writing process. Offered via Zoom on April 17, 2020, at 2 p.m. Eastern. Recommended for grades 2 through 6. Registration required.
  3. Bug Hunt. Heather will dive into some curious aspects of insect moms and dads, from her book Bugs Don’t Hug. June 9 at 2 p.m. Eastern on Instagram’s “True Stuff Tuesdays.” Recommended for grades pre-K through 2.
Categories: Enrichment

Virtual field trips to Atlanta venues, starting tomorrow morning

April 2, 2020 Leave a comment

This has been added to the Enrichment from home page on the GiftedAtlanta.com site, but I wanted to give it an extra boost here as well.

Tomorrow, Friday, April 3, the newly created ATL Museums at Home will host its first digital field trip. The site says the field trip will include interactive activities. Partners for the first field trip are:

  • Fernbank Museum
  • Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • Georgia Aquarium
  • Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame
  • Children’s Museum of Atlanta
  • Breman Museum
  • Zoo Atlanta
  • High Museum of Art
Categories: Enrichment

Just added: Enrichment from home

March 30, 2020 Leave a comment

I’ve just added a new page to GiftedAtlanta.com: Enrichment from home

It’s a list of free, online resources, from museum tours and symphony concerts to zoo webcams and jigsaw puzzles.

Use the list. Share the list. And please help me grow the list. If you know of a good online resource for gifted kids, please go to my Contact page and send me the link so I can add it to the page.

Let’s get through this together.

Categories: Enrichment

Atlanta Science Festival starts this weekend

March 2, 2020 Leave a comment

The annual Atlanta Science Festival starts this Friday, March 6, and continues through March 21 with a wide variety of events for kids, teens and adults, including many hands-on activities.

Whether your child is into trees or bees, astronomy or arithmetic, there’s probably something they’d enjoy.

Most activities will be held in the city of Atlanta, but a few are scattered in other locations. The festival web site’s events page allows you to search for events by geographic area, so you can find something close to you if that’s a priority.

Many events have limited space and require you to register ahead, so don’t wait until the last minute to take a look and sign up.

As it does each year, the festival culminates in the Exploration Expo, a free event with more than 100 informative and interactive booths, Saturday, March 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Piedmont Park.

Categories: Enrichment

Duke TIP Scholar Weekend this March at UGA

January 27, 2020 Leave a comment

duke-tip The University of Georgia will host a UGA-Duke TIP Scholar Weekend March 28-29, 2020.

The Scholar Weekend program gives students the chance to study a topic that’s outside the typical school curriculum, and to do so in a college environment with like-minded peers.

Scholar Weekends are open to any students in grades 8 to 11 who either took part in the Duke TIP 7th Grade Talent Search, or have been confirmed through the Duke TIP office as meeting the gifted identification standards of their school.

Topics this spring include marine biology, aircraft design, 3-D animation, veterinary medicine, psychology, sports medicine and more.

Students arrive on the UGA campus on Saturday morning, spend the day learning, stay overnight on the UGA campus, and continue their studies on Sunday. Courses are taught by UGA professors, graduate students, professionals, and gifted educators.

Registration deadline is February 21. Popular courses typically fill before the registration deadline. Cost is $450. Limited financial aid may be available.

Categories: Enrichment

Bill limiting dual enrollment revived in Georgia legislature

January 16, 2020 Leave a comment

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports that last year’s bill to limit the dual enrollment program is active again in the state legislature, as I predicted would happen when the bill was tabled late in the 2019 session.

The front-page story in today’s paper recaps what we know from last year: participation in dual enrollment has exploded in recent years, and as a result, the program has blown its allocated budget. The state has already shifted some dual enrollment costs to the colleges and universities that provide the classes, and is looking for additional ways to rein in spending.

As you may remember from the 2019 legislative session, the bill (HB 444) would cap the number of hours of dual enrollment classes that the state would pay for. According to the AJC, students enrolling at four-year colleges and universities would be limited to 15 credit hours per semester and 30 credit hours overall. Caps would be higher for students enrolling in technical education classes at technical colleges.

(Note: The version of the bill posted online shows limits of 16 credit hours per semester and 32 total, but perhaps the AJC reporter knows of a change that hasn’t been posted online yet. Last year, a substitute version of the bill written in the House did set the caps at 15 and 30 hours.)

Students could take classes beyond these “covered” limits, but would have to pay for them out of pocket.

Earlier versions of the bill from 2019 would have allowed students to charge additional dual enrollment classes against their future HOPE scholarship allocations; however, that option was removed during committee rewrites last year.

My position is mostly the same as it was when I posted about this last year. From a practical standpoint, I understand why limits are needed to control costs.

I also think it’s reasonable to have limits. I don’t agree with the parents who wrote to me last year to argue that the state should pay for unlimited college classes for high-school students and then turn around and pay for four full years of college under HOPE as well.

A limit of 30 credit hours works out to 10 college courses taken during high school. That ought to be plenty for students at high schools that offer AP classes in most core subjects.

However, for students in high schools that don’t offer many AP classes, 10 dual enrollment classes might not be enough. These students may have an unmet need for more rigorous classes to adequately challenge them, and if they want to get into selective colleges, they also need to keep up with their peers at bigger and better-performing high schools, who routinely take 15 or more AP classes.

That argument may not get much traction in lobbying legislators, though, because this bill also defines the purpose of the dual enrollment program, and it has nothing to do with providing advanced learning options for gifted students.

The purpose of the dual enrollment program shall be to provide qualified high school students with access to rigorous career and academic courses at higher education institutions in order to increase high school graduation rates, prepare a skilled workforce, and to decrease postsecondary students’ time to degree completion.

Georgia HB 444, Lines 19-22 (emphasis added)

State legislators could argue that providing advanced learning options for gifted students isn’t a state responsibility to be handled through dual enrollment, but rather is the responsibility of local public school systems, as mandated by state law. But, as advocates for the gifted, we need to know that school systems can fulfill the requirements of that law by providing gifted high-school students just one gifted or AP class per semester. That’s not enough for students who need the challenge of college-level coursework.

In my opinion, the 30-hour cap should be put in place for students in high schools with robust AP programs. However, I’d like for students in high schools with limited AP options to be able to apply for exemptions from the credit hours caps, or have the option of tapping into their HOPE funds to pay for classes beyond the caps — at least for classes that are in core academic areas (math, science, English / language arts, and social studies).

Step one, though, would be to convince legislators to amend the bill’s language on the purpose of dual enrollment to include serving Georgia’s gifted and advanced learners.

If you want to take action on this bill

The bill is in the Senate Higher Education Committee. That committee is chaired by Lindsey Tippens, who also is listed as the bill’s sponsor in the Senate. The other members of the committee are:

If one of these legislators represents your senate district, start by e-mailing them.

It’s also not too soon to get in touch with members of the Georgia House of Representatives. On that side, the bill would go through the Education Committee. The committee has 24 members, who are listed on the committee’s web page.

Categories: Advocacy and policy

Recommended reading: The need for gifted education in public schools

December 19, 2019 Leave a comment

If you’re a regular reader of news about gifted education, you know there’s widespread concern about the under-representation of minority and economically disadvantaged students in gifted education programs.

One of the most dramatic and talked about developments in gifted education in 2019 was the finding by a panel in New York City that the gifted programs in the city’s public schools were racially and socioeconomically unequal, and the resulting recommendation by that same panel that gifted programs should be eliminated from all public city schools.

In an article in The Atlantic magazine, Andy Smarick — author of Closing America’s High-Achievement Gap — acknowledges the role of public schools in leveling the playing field for all students, yet warns against shortchanging our brightest kids, as often happens in public schools.

He looks at the lack of structure and funding for gifted education in many states. And, like other advocates for gifted education, he points out that if public schools don’t provide gifted education, those who will suffer most will be the economically disadvantaged, who don’t have as many options for enrichment outside of school.

I recommend taking a few minutes to read the full article. Those of us who advocate for gifted children regularly encounter administrators, teachers, and neighbors who undervalue gifted education and even resent resources being allocated to it. Smarick’s article reminds us that gifted kids, like all kids, deserve the chance to be their best.

Article: The Contradiction at the Heart of Public Education

Categories: Advocacy and policy