Monday, December 4, 2017

Awake the Sleeping Giant, part 2

Part 2 of 3


This is part two of our 2017 November-December legislative effort.

If we want our emails to stand out during the legislative session, then we need to contact our legislators now, in the "off-season" so they will be familiar and recognize us and our efforts once the legislative session begins in January.



OUR GOAL


Contact your legislative representatives at least three times before the December holidays and encourage them to restore funding for Gifted Education.  Below you will find template #2.  Click here to find the contact information for your representative.  Send this email by Thursday, December 7th. 


Template 2 of 3  


Subject line:  Let your email subject line contain "funding" and "gifted education" in a manner of your choosing.

Greeting:  Dear Senator/Representative ________________  (Send three separate emails, one to your senator and one each to your two representatives.)

First paragraph:  Let this contain a brief personal experience regarding the strengths and struggles of your gifted child.  You may wish to incorporate material from our Strengths and Challenges worksheet.  Example ...

I am the parent of a gifted child, age 10.  My daughter is able to work a year ahead in math and is an avid reader, reading four grade levels ahead.  She acquires and retains information easily with little repetition.  A challenge she has is patience while waiting for classmates to learn the same material.  She detests multiple repetitions of material she already knows.  In such a classroom climate her desire for learning actually wanes.  She needs teachers who understand her need to accelerate so that she can experience growth while in the classroom and develop into a lifelong learner.

Second paragraph:  Let this include your reason why gifted education needs funding, namely so that districts can train teachers in gifted education. 

I am grateful that the state of Arizona mandates gifted education (A.R.S. 15-799), even though gifted education has not been funded in Arizona since 2009.  If gifted education were funded, more teachers could be trained in multiple accelerations strategies to support the learning differences and growth of gifted students. I'm writing to ask for your support to reinstate gifted education funding.  This would allow districts to offer continual instructional support to teachers of the gifted.

Conclusion State that supporting gifted education is an investment and thank them for their support and service.


Gifted children learn differently and by supporting their learning differences you are investing in Arizona's intellectual capital.  I hope I can count on your support to reinstate gifted education funding.  Thank you for your service to our community.

Sincerely,
Your name
Active Voter in Legislative District # ___

Monday, November 20, 2017

Upcoming Events

Registration is now taking place for the following events ...




AAGT Conference Registration NOW OPEN!
"Shaping Our Future One Child at a Time"
When: Thursday, 02/01/2018 - Friday, 02/02/2018
Where: Black Canyon Conference Center, Phoenix
What: A two-day event geared towards the needs of the Gifted population in Arizona and around the U.S. This event is for educators, professionals, parents, and anyone wishing to learn about Giftedness, further develop their knowledge, and to become a part of the Arizona Gifted community. Look forward to hearing from nationally renowned speakers, as well as statewide organizations.
Early bird registration prices end December 1st.






Parent University Gifted Education Classes



The Role of the School and Home Environments in the Lives of Gifted Students

When:  Monday, 1/22/18, 5:30-7:30
Where: Highland Junior

The discussion will explore how the school and home environments can work collaboratively to ensure gifted students' learning differences and social and emotional needs are addressed so the students are able to thrive in all areas of their lives. Topics include the importance of following passion interests and having social activities to accommodate each child's asynchronous development.

Registration required.  Click here for registration.    

The Gifted Child - Underachievement 

When:  Tuesday, 1/30/18, 5:30-7:30 
Where: Val Vista Lakes Elementary


What are the causes of underachievement? And what can be done about it? Puzzling to parents, teachers, and even children themselves, underachievement is often chalked up to poor choices. When it is recognized, parents often feel helpless or unsure what to do about it. But there is much that can be done. Learn when to take action – and how to get help.

Registration required.  Click here for registration.  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Awake the Sleeping Giant

Part 1 of 3

by Stephanie Newitt, Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted

It is November and during this time of reflection and Thanksgiving I am thankful for the Arizona Association for Gifted & Talented (AAGT).  They have tirelessly worked to bring the need of gifted education funding to the attention of members of the Arizona legislature.  In the 2017 effort, our bill made it all the way through the Arizona House!  However, it was stalled in the Arizona Senate, not progressing beyond the Appropriations Committee.

AAGT is gearing up for the 2018 legislative session which begins in January.  We have learned that once the session starts, members of the legislature are inundated with 200+ emails daily!  If we want our emails to stand out during the legislative session, then we need to contact our legislators now, in the "off-season" so they will be familiar and recognize us and our efforts.



OUR GOAL

Contact your legislative representatives at least three times before the December holidays and encourage them to restore funding for Gifted Education.  We will provide templates for you.  Click here to find the contact information for your representative.  The first template is below.  Send this email prior to Thanksgiving.

Template 1 of 3

Subject line:  Let your email subject line contain "constituent" and "gifted education" in a manner of your choosing.

Greeting:  Dear Senator/Representative ________________  (Send three separate emails, one to your senator and one each to your two representatives.)

First paragraphLet this contain a statement that gifted education is needed and a brief personal experience.  Example ...

I am grateful that the state of Arizona mandates gifted education (A.R.S. 15-799), even though gifted education has not been funded in Arizona since 2009.  My 12 year old son is not in sync with his 12 year old peers as he is able to work two years ahead in math.  

Second paragraphLet this include your reason why gifted education needs funding. 

Giftedness affects the social and emotional development of gifted children as well.  Just because my son can do the math of a 9th grader doesn't mean he is socially and emotionally capable to socialize with them regularly.  I'm writing to ask for your support to reinstate gifted education funding.  This would allow districts to hire and train more teachers with gifted education certification, including training them to provide social/emotional supports for gifted students.  

Conclusion State that supporting gifted education is an investment and thank them for their support and service.


By supporting the learning differences of gifted children you are investing in the state’s intellectual capital.  I thank you for your support of this issue and for your service to our community.

Sincerely,
Your name
Active Voter in Legislative District # ___

Friday, November 3, 2017

November 2017 Events

November 11 - 12:  Barnes & Noble's 3rd Annual Mini Maker Faire



Calling all tech enthusiasts, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science club members, authors, artists, students, entrepreneurs, crafter, and makers of any kind—join us this November for the 3rd annual Mini Maker Faire!



November 18 - Earth and Space Exploration Day 2017

by School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU



Earth and Space Exploration day is a FREE annual fall event hosted by the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) on ASU’s Tempe campus inside/outside ISTB 4. The SESE community offers special science-related activities from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. for students age five and up, families, educators and anyone interested in exploring Earth and space.

More than 40 exhibitors will participate in the annual Earth and Space Exploration Day. One of the biggest attractions is ISTB 4 with its Gallery of Scientific Exploration offering a variety of interactive exhibits and the Marston Exploration Theater, which will be running 3-D astronomy shows.

Each year, the SESE community brings to life its research through innovative hands-on activities as part of this special Earth and Space Exploration Day.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mark Your Calendar! Event November 14th

Parent Class and Kids' Game Night


GPS Parent University and the Gifted Education Parent Council (GEPC) 
are partnering for this event: 

Presents:

The Vibrant Social and Emotional Life of a Gifted Child

Val Vista Lakes Elementary Library
November 14, 2017
5:30 - 7:30 pm

The social and emotional development of gifted children can be like a roller coaster ride!  This discussion will focus on how the nature and traits of giftedness impinge on the normal affective development of these students.  We will explore ways both parents and students can better manage the ups and downs of growing up gifted.

Register for the Parent University class here:   

Attention Kids in Grades K - 8
While your adults participate in the lecture, come meet new friends and enjoy a fun game night! Please bring your water bottle, snack for yourself, and favorite non-electronic game (such as: board game, card game, K’nex, Legos, chess, checkers, etc.). High School Student Volunteers will assist with game night. Kids meet in the Val Vista Lakes Elementary Multipurpose Room at 5:15 pm. 
Sponsored by:

Questions?  Contact:  giftededucationparentcouncil@gmail.com
 Together we can ensure that every GPS gifted student has the opportunity to learn and grow.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Update: Junior High Gifted Talented & Creative Program

2017 Fall GTC Newsletter




After two years in the pilot phase, the GTC program was fully launched fall of 2017 at Highland Junior High.  The full launch was approved by the GPS school board spring of 2017.

The 2017 fall newsletter includes a description of the program, an introduction to the GTC teachers as well as students' perspective of the program.

We wish to thank the district teachers, staff and committee members who helped make the GTC a reality!  We wish to thank the GPS School Board for their support of gifted education in our district.

Click here to view the 2017 Fall GTC Newsletter.

Click here to visit the GTC informational page on the district website.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Preparing for Parent Teacher Conferences: Part 4

Understanding the Visual-Spatial Learner

By Stephanie Newitt



What is a Visual-Spatial Learner?

"Creative, curious, out-of-the-box thinkers, visual-spatial learners (VSLs) learn by intuitive leaps. They remember what they see and forget what they hear. They may forget details but remember the BIG PICTURE forever."

Did your child score high in the "non-verbal" area of a gifted identification test? Are you wondering what "non-verbal" even means? "Non-verbal" is a phrase coined by testing companies which refers to the sub-test that contains picture puzzles with no verbal instructions. This test area identifies individuals who thinks with the big picture in mind, who prefer to move from "whole to part" as opposed to "part to whole." Individuals with this learning style can feel frustrated in an audio-sequential learning environment in which sequential steps are given verbally with little to no reference to what the end product is to look like. These are visual-spatial learners.

Qualifying as gifted in the "non-verbal" area is different from other areas. Other testing areas may be directly connected to an academic subject, but being identified as gifted in the "non-verbal" area reflects the student's learning style, not a specific academic subject, though the VS learning style can help them be successful in various subjects and cause frustration in others.




Preparing for Parent-Teacher Conferences

Prior to your PT conference, review your child's gifted assessment scores.  GPS uses the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) for gifted assessment.  If your child has been identified as gifted in the "non-verbal" area, and is struggling in an academic subject, you may wish to discuss with your child's teacher your child's need to learn from whole to part, such as to view a sample finished project when a project is assigned.  Ask what strategies and resources are available in the classroom/district to support VS learners.  If your child is excelling in an academic area, thank the teacher for supporting the VS learning style in his/her classroom.

For more information on Visual-Spatial Learners, click here to visit the VS Learner page of our website.

Source: Silverman, Linda K. “Vivid Imagination.” Visual-Spatial Resource, www.visualspatial.org/.

This concludes our four-part series on "Preparing for Parent Teacher Conferences." If you found any of this information helpful, we would like to hear from you. Please email us your thoughts at gilbertgifted@gmail.com. Thank you.

Stephanie Newitt is a co-founder of Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted and a member of the GPS Gifted Education Parent Council Executive Committee. She has a B.S. in Family Science and is the mother of four gifted children, ages 14-24.