Tuesday, March 28, 2017

AAGT ACTION ALERT! MARCH 28, 2017


Dear East Valley Families of Gifted Students,

We are key players in getting our members of the legislature to support the inclusion of gifted education in the state budget.  Please read this important notice from AAGT!

Stephanie Newitt
President
Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted


Update: Despite all of our efforts to get HB2199 to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee, it didn’t happen. The bill process is done. We now have to work at getting gifted funding into the budget. Reducing our ask from $3.5 million to $500,000 provides a more agreeable amount to get into the budget at this point. Then next year, we will be back for more! 

We are grateful for the leadership of Representative Heather Carter who championed HB2199 so successfully; it passed through the House Education Committee with a unanimous vote in favor, and passed through the House Appropriations Committee and the House Committee of the Whole with near unanimity overwhelmingly in favor of restoring gifted education funds. 

In the Senate, our friend, Senator Kate Brophy-McGee introduced mirror bill, SB1105. With the additional leadership of Senator Sylvia Allen, the Senate Education Committee unanimously voted in favor of restoring funds for gifted education. SB1105 did not go on to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

OUR TASK ASAP:  
Send emails to members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to include $500,000 in the budget to support the reinstatement of funding for gifted education. 

Even if you have contacted them before, this is a new ask, and it is important to remind them why this is important to you.

In addition, we are asking you to contact all leaders in both the House and Senate. If your Legislative District Senator and/or Representatives are not already on one of these lists, please contact them. Members of the Legislature value constituents’ opinions. 

The lists of the Senate and House Appropriations Committee members are attached along with other leaders we need to reach. Ask your contacts to do the same and remember every email counts! It just could be your story, your compelling reason to have funding restored that makes a difference! 

Thank you for your support! 
Donna Campbell,
AAGT Advocacy Chair 
dcampbell@azgifted.com

Click here for the google doc with the email addresses for the members of both the Senate and House Appropriation Committees.

Click here if you need help finding out who your legislators are.

Click here to visit the page of the GSG website regarding advocacy at the state level.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Inconvient Education?

Do you feel your child is an inconvenience to their class? To educators? Click here to check out this interview with Roland S. Person, Ph.D and see what he has to say about it!!
Roland S. Persson, Ph.D


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tips for requesting next year's teacher for your gifted child



Spring has sprung!  While you are enjoying the warm spring of Arizona and dreading the blazing heat of summer, you also may be concerned about how to request next year's teacher for your gifted child.  How do you articulate your child's intensities?  How do you articulate your child's fear of failure?  Her intense emotions that can pop out unexpectedly?  His struggle with boredom in class?

Schools today have veered away from "Teacher Request Forms" and now usually provide "Environmental Request Forms."  This can be to the parent's benefit since it is hard for parents to know what resources are available on campus and what training teachers have had.




As parents of gifted students, we often identify emotionally with our child's needs before we are able to articulate them.  On the Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted website's Advocacy page are tips to organize information on your child, including the articulating and organizing of your parental instincts and observations.  Once this is done, you will have tools to express the needs of your child.
  • Organizing data:  Also known as gathering "Objective Assessments" and includes any test scores that have identified your child as gifted.  See "Objective Assessments" on the GSG Advocacy page.
  • Organizing opinions and observations:  Also known as gathering "Subjective Assessments" and includes parent observations.  See "Subjective Assessments" on the GSG Advocacy page.  
    • GSG provides three informal surveys for parents on the GSG Advocacy page to help articulate your observations of your gifted child. Once you complete these simple surveys, phrases such as the ones listed below will likely help you complete your school's Environmental Request Form.
Samples:
  • My gifted child has emotional and sensual gifted intensity(s) and will do best at school if he/she has a teacher who is trained in and has experience with gifted education strategies for working with gifted intensities and uses a firm, yet not overly loud voice for discipline and class management.
  • My gifted child has a strong love of truth, equity and fair play but struggles with being practical in its application.  My gifted child is also creative and inventive and may wish to do things out of step.  My child will do best at school if he/she has a teacher who is trained in and has experience with gifted education strategies to support both the strengths and challenges of gifted students.
  • My gifted child scored in the 99th percentile in quantitative reasoning on the CogAT.  He will experience growth and do best with a teacher who is trained in and has experience with gifted education teaching strategies who will allow him to have subject pre-assessments and support him in learning at his own pace.
  • My gifted child scored in the 98th percentile in non-verbal reasoning (visual-spatial learning style) on the CogAT.  My child will experience growth with a teacher who is trained in and has experience with gifted education teaching strategies for visual-spatial learners and who actively supports and provides opportunities for creative expression.
Notice the common themes in the samples above:
  • State your gifted child's need(s) and a struggle (subjective data).  State that your child will do best/experience growth with a teacher trained in and has experience with gifted education teaching strategies.
  • State your child's CogAT score (objective data) and what you hope a gifted trained teacher will do to support the need.  
We cannot guarantee your child will receive a teacher who is the "perfect" fit, but we hope a "good fit" is likely with the above descriptors. Also, as a parent you will be empowered and educated on how to advocate for your child in a positive way.  Knowing positive advocacy is more likely to help you build bridges with your school and teachers than anything else.


Monday, March 6, 2017

AAGT ACTION ALERT! - March 3, 2017

We are pleased with the positive response from both Senators and Representatives who have listened, asked questions, and become champions of the importance of gifted education for our students and the future of our state.

Through the leadership of Representative Heather Carter, HB2199 passed through the House Education Committee with a unanimous vote in favor, and passed through the House Appropriations Committee and the House Committee of the Whole with near unanimity overwhelmingly in favor of restoring gifted education funds.

In the Senate, Senator Kate Brophy-McGee introduced mirror bill, SB1105.  With the additional leadership of Senator Sylvia Allen, the Senate Education Committee unanimously voted in favor of restoring funds for gifted education.  SB1105 did not go on to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  It is now up to the progress HB2199 can make in the Senate and on to the budgeting process.

Having made it through the necessary House committees, HB2199 is now in the Senate.  The next move is for it to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.  

OUR TASK ASAP-
Send emails to Senator Lesko (Chair) and ask that HB2199 be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
And send emails to the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to support HB2199 to restore funds for gifted education.

As always- add a personal note why this is important.  Below are some talking points to help you get started.

Support of gifted students aligns with the Governor’s goals to support talent development and prepare for access to post secondary education.  Gifted students are at risk for underachievement and even dropping out without an appropriate level of support.

The $3.5 million will restore the funding at the 2009 level. There has been a tremendous amount of inconsistencies around the state since funding was suspended in regard to the identification of and program support for gifted students.  This will make a real difference for schools that haven’t had the resources to respond to the needs of gifted students in the years since 2009.

Giftedness is a 24-7, lifelong condition.  It is not something that comes and goes depending on the economic and political climate of the school district, state or nation.

Immediately, these funds can make a difference in the identification of high ability students and in the professional development teachers receive to ensure these students have an education commensurate with their learning differences.

Restored funding helps to ensure parents that money spent on training teachers and providing quality programs and services will be available for their students, no matter where they live in the state.  There will be more accountability for districts and schools to comply with the mandate.

Restored funding helps the Arizona economy by investing in the future Arizona workforce.  Funding gifted classrooms creates the homegrown talent needed in this State for robust economy in the future.

Senate Appropriations Committee

Debbie Lesko (Chair) (LD 21) dlesko@azleg.gov

John Kavanagh (Vice Chair) (LD 23) jkavanagh@azleg.gov

Sylvia Allen (LD 6) sallen@azleg.gov

Olivia Cajero Bedford (LD 3) ocajerobedford@azleg.gov

Steve Farley (LD 9) sfarley@azleg.gov

Katie Hobbs (LD 24) khobbs@azleg.gov

Steve Montenegro (LD 13) smontenegro@azleg.gov

Warren Petersen (LD 12) wpetersen@azleg.gov

Martin Quezada (LD 29) mquezada@azleg.gov

Steve Smith (LD 11) stsmith@azleg.gov

If you are a constituent in any of these legislative districts, be sure to mention that in your email.

As always, thank you so much!  Every email counts! Ask your friends and neighbors to join the effort!

Donna Campbell, AAGT Advocacy Chair

Note from Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted ...
LD 12 is Gilbert!  We can make a difference!  Contact your Arizona Senator TODAY!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Patchwork of Educating the Gifted Child

"Educating our gifted children is a patchwork because there is no one approach that works for all of them.  There is no one approach that works for even one.  Teachers of the gifted can tell you that.  For many there is no continuity from year to year – or even month to month with the profoundly gifted." Read more here for more information about how to keep up with the "patchwork" of your child's education!!

 GPS board APPROVES GTC program!

The Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board approved the Gifted, Talented and Creative program at Highland Junior HIgh School on February 28, 2017. Gilbert Public Schools will expand gifted services for 7th and 8th graders for the 2017-18 school year through the GTC (Gifted, Talented and Creative) at Highland Junior High School by providing a differentiated learning experience addressing the individual needs of gifted students. The classrooms will offer enrichment experiences and a more rapid learning pace in an environment where curricula matches the gifted child's unique learning style. Their curiosity, creativity, intensities, sensitivities, and advanced learning styles will be embraced and appreciated by their teachers. A classroom of like-minded peers with teachers who understand and enjoy the gifted learner will result in a healthy atmosphere were a child can flourish intellectually, socially, and emotionally. Students will be with other gifted peers for the core subjects of language arts, social studies, math, and science.

For application criteria, application window, and dates and time for Parent Information meetings, click here to visit the GTC page of the GPS website.

Monday, February 27, 2017

GTC Update

On Tuesday, February 14, 2017, the GPS School Board held their monthly work study.  Item three on the agenda was to hear a presentation about the proposed GTC program and allow the board to ask questions. 

This is a hi-light of topics covered at the board work study regarding the GTC:
  • Program application criteria
  • Teacher qualifications
  • Option to replicate the program elsewhere in the district if data indicates such a need
  • Why the location of Highland Junior was chosen
  •  High school support for gifted students
  • Cost of the program (see links below)
  • Transportation via busing at regional bus stops
  • The origin of the program name.  

If you wish to view the video record of the GTC portion of the work study, it begins at 1:41:00 and concludes at 2:40:00 at this link


Parents, Now what?

The GTC program is now pending board approval.  The GPS Board will be able to approve the GTC program at their February 28th Business Meeting.  

Q:  As a parent, how can I show support for the GTC program?  
A:  Do one or all of the following:
  1.  Attend the February 28th GPS board meeting.  It begins at 7:00 pm and is at the district office.  This will show the board that the GTC is something that is valued and needed by gifted students in our community.
  2. At the board meeting, fill out a "request to speak form" to spend 1-3 minutes letting the board know the information below.
  3. Send the entire board an email at board@gilbertschools.net with the information below.
Express appreciation that ...  
  1. The district is supporting the GPS Gifted Education Vision statement by expanding gifted education programming into the secondary grades.
  2. District staff has worked many, many hours to research secondary gifted programming according to the Strategic Operating Plan, as indicated on page 8.
  3. The board is mindful of the genuine needs of Gilbert's gifted students.
  4. Also, briefly tell them what having the GTC will mean to you and your gifted child(ren)
  5. OR if you do not live in the east area of the district and your gifted child is not yet old enough to attend the GTC in 2017-18, express a hope that a second location closer to your home may be opened up in the near future.
  • We can let the board members know that the GTC is a well thought out, needed program in Gilbert.  By keeping our communications positive we can make a difference!  

See you Tuesday!

Your Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted Executive Board