Friday, February 16, 2018

2018 Legislative Action: Gifted Education Funding

The 2018 session of the Arizona Legislature is in full swing!  We want to keep you appraised of AAGT's efforts to advocate for the restoration of funding for gifted education.  Currently gifted education is an unfunded state mandate.  The state has not funded gifted education since 2009.

This year House Bill (HB) 2112, sponsored by Rep. Heather Carter, has passed the House Education Committee and the House Appropriations Committee. (Click here to view the video of amazing testimony given at the House Appropriations Committee.)  It continues to move forward in the process!

Mirror bill, Senate Bill (SB) 1161, sponsored by Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, has passed the Senate Education Committee.  This year there is a new chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and he has agreed to put SB 1161 on Tuesday's agenda, February 20th.  Last year the former chair did not permit our bill to be placed on an agenda, so this year we are already making progress!

Gilbert's Gifted Education Parent Council (GEPC) is working with AAGT to spread the word on these legislative efforts and how you can help.  The GEPC is asking that all stakeholders (parents, grandparents, educators, etc.) send an email to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Many thanks to the GEPC for preparing the sample email below.  Please try to email these Senators by Monday evening.

Sample email to Chairman Kavanagh and Vice Chair Petersen ...

Subject line:  SB1161 - Support for Gifted Education Funding

My name is  (your name here) and I am a (parent, educator, gifted student, administrator). I understand you will be hearing SB1161 on February 20th. This bill addresses Gifted Education funding. I am writing in support of SB1161, that helps restore funding for gifted education, assessments, and support needed to meet gifted students’ needs.

Arizona has a mandate stating that all public school districts must both identify gifted learners and provide appropriate educational programs and services for these students, yet there is no funding allocated specifically to gifted programming. Gifted allocations were defunded in 2010 due to fiscal budget cuts. Parents like me hope that there can be some effort made to help restore funding to gifted programming.

Gifted education is important to me (because...)

Thank you for your time,
(your name and contact info) Vice-Chairman

Thursday, January 25, 2018

GTC: Winter Newsletter & Important Dates

GPS Junior High Gifted Program

The GTC Winter Newsletter has been published to the GPS website.  

Highlights include:
  • Individual Educational Plans with student set SMART goals
  • Gifted Girls (GiGis) lunches
  • Visit from the Society of Women Engineers
  • Student written hi-lights

2018 Important Dates

  • GTC OPEN HOUSE: February 20, 2018 at 7pm in the library at Highland Junior High School. This event will allow for families to meet the teachers, view the campus and understand the curriculum.
  • GTC APPLICATION WINDOW FOR 2018-19 SCHOOL YEAR: March 7- March 30th. The application will be available in March on the GTC page of the GPS website.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ASU Barrett Summer Scholars

From the ASU website: 

The Barrett Summer Scholars (BSS) program provides students with the opportunity to experience college firsthand and prepare for enrollment and success at Arizona State University and Barrett, the Honors College. The program is designed for academically-talented and motivated students entering the 8th, 9th, and 10th grade in fall 2018. Our residential program invites students to live on campus, engage in college-level coursework, and participate in a community of peers from across the state.

Click here to visit the ASU Barrett Summer Scholars website for more information.

Application deadline is March 5, 2018.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Local STEM Event

DATE:  March 3 - 4, 2018
TIME:  8 am - 6 pm
LOCATION:  Mesquite High School

Go For Launch! is a 2-day program (10 hours each day) that uses Space Exploration as a platform to launch student involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), STEAM (Art), teamwork, communication and leadership. This program is created and presented by Higher Orbits, a non-profit, and was developed to reach high school-aged students.

Students are immersed in the wonder of Human Spaceflight through a variety of talks delivered by experts in the fields of space & STEM: such speakers have included an astronaut, former International Space Station (ISS) and Space Shuttle Flight Controllers, Astronaut Instructors, scientists, and engineers. Students get insight and feedback from experienced space and STEM professionals whose goals are to illustrate the numerous possibilities that exist in the world of STEM. A unique facet of Go For Launch! is that the students will work with an astronaut for during their time at the event.

Broken into teams, students will work together for the entire event. Nearly every talk features collaborative activity, before or after, where team members must work together to complete tasks for daily awards. These tasks are designed to build leadership and teamwork skills, as well as enhance team communication. The culminating exercise is a design project. Each team must define and design a space experiment. At the conclusion of each program, the teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges from the Space & STEM fields, who will then choose a winner from each Go For Launch! event. Depending on funding, the experiment will either launch, or it will be in competition with a handful of other projects from the same division and the division winner will have their experiment launched to the International Space Station.

One winning team will be selected from each individual Go For Launch! event. Winners within each division will compete for the division title and the winners of each division will have their experiments launched to space!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

ASU Open Door 2018

Please join in the fun at ASU Open Door @ Polytechnic on Jan. 26, from 4-9 p.m. on the ASU Polytechnic campus!
ASU Open Door @ Polytechnic offers a behind the scenes look into ASU’s state-of-the-art labs and learning environments. Come experience flight simulators, air traffic control simulators, the wonders of algae, new-age cars, play classic video games, and enjoy dance and theater performances.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Awake the Sleeping Giant, part 3

Part 3 of 3

This is the conclusion to our 2017 November-December legislative effort.

By following these templates and sending your emails to your legislators, you have begun to build a credible relationship with your senator and representatives.  Your actions are crucial to our group effort to draw attention to the new bills that will be introduced in January to reinstate gifted education funding.

Stay tuned for additional templates that will be posted here once the legislative session starts in January.  TOGETHER we can make a difference.  We hope 2018 is the year when gifted education in Arizona will receive state funding.


Contact your legislatitors at least three times before the December holidays and encourage them to restore funding for Gifted Education.  Below you will find template #3.  Click here to find the contact information for your representative.  Send this email by Friday, December 15th. 

If you missed any part of this series, click below for templates and send your email(s) ASAP, before the end of December.

Parent Preparation & Learning

The National Association for Gifted Children has a brief collection of myths which include rebuttals based on simple facts.  What myths have you encountered?  Click here to peruse the common myths that surround gifted education.  

Template 3 of 3  

Subject line:  Let your email subject line contain "support" 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 paragraphAfter you have familiarized yourself with the common myths that surround gifted education, choose one that you identify with.  In your first paragraph share the myth and your brief personal encounter with it.  Example ...

I am the parent of a gifted child. A few years ago I had a principal get offended when I tried to explain giftedness to her.  "Every child is gifted," the principal said and would not allow us to discuss it further.  I was not angry, only deeply frustrated and disappointed.  Her response is actually typical for those who don't understand giftedness.  Yet, how will principals know how to hire qualified teachers for their gifted students if they themselves don't understand giftedness?  Since that conversation I have learned more about explaining giftedness and wish I could go back in time and visit with this principal again. 

Second paragraph:  Let this include the rebuttal of the myth you chose.  State that by funding gifted education, schools and districts can educate their communities about the truths of gifted education and gifted children can receive the services that address their learning differences.  

I would explain my deep belief that ALL children have gifts and talents whether or not they receive gifted education services just like ALL children are special, whether or not they receive special education services.  Here in Arizona the term "gifted" is to "gifted education" as "special" is to "special education."  It is a legislative and diagnostic term to describe learning differences caused by neuro-diversity.  Both special education (A.R.S. 15-764) and gifted education (A.R.S. 15-799) are mandated by state law; however, gifted education has been unfunded in Arizona since 2009.  If gifted education were funded, more principals and teachers could be trained in supports for the learning differences and growth of gifted students. 

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

I'm writing to ask for your support to reinstate gifted education funding.  Gifted children learn differently and by supporting their learning differences you are investing in Arizona's intellectual capital.  Thank you for your time and efforts on behalf of our community.

Your name
Active Voter in Legislative District # ___