by Stephanie Newitt, GSG President
This past year has been one of intense activity for gifted education in Gilbert, and Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted (GSG) has been very involved.
PARENT EDUCATION - We increased our focus on parent education through the publishing of our blog where we discussed important aspects of gifted education and began addressing some of gifted education’s common myths, including –
· MYTH - “Gifted students will do fine on their own. They don’t need accommodations.”
· MYTH - “That student can’t be gifted. He has a disability.”
· MYTH – “Advanced Placement courses are the same as a gifted program.”
· MYTH – “All children are gifted”
These myths and their corresponding truths are documented on the National Association for Gifted Children website.
We also began hosting quarterly guest lectures. Our guest speakers were gifted educators from Gilbert speaking on the -
· Social/emotional needs of gifted students
· Developing the Organizational and Management Skills of Gifted Students
· The Needs of Twice Exceptional Students – those who have both gifts and disabilities
· Underachieving Gifted Students
All lectures were amazing and left us hungry for more! A big thank you to our Gilbert Gifted Educators for their efforts. Our 2013-2014 Guest Lecture line-up will be published on our blog in August. Watch for it!
GIFTED EDUCATION ADVOCACY - This past year was also a big year for advocacy as some of our members were asked to participate in the Gilbert Public Schools Gifted Education Vision Committee. The 29 member Vision Committee met August-November 2012 and was comprised of GPS educators, administrators and parents. The committee went beyond the establishing of a vision statement and also created a mission statement and priorities for the expansion of gifted services in Gilbert Public Schools. To see the vision and mission statements, click here. The Gifted Presentation to the Governing Board can be found on the GPS Gifted Ed – Parent Resource Page.
In striving to align to the Gifted Vision Statement, GPS proposed two self-contained classes for highly gifted students, serving 4th and 5th grades at Towne Meadows Elementary, with the plan to grow the program each year in sequential grades. GSG expressed our support for the proposed classes and the school board voted in favor of establishing the classes, 3-2. Community response to this program was great and waiting lists had to be generated for both classes. The Open House at Towne Meadows for the new gifted program was successfully held on May 15th and was well attended.
GPS has currently brought into their office for review curriculum that is researched-based for gifted students. Again, this is in alignment with the new gifted education vision statement. As a parent of a gifted student, we invite you to review the proposed curriculum. For details about the curriculum review, please email email@example.com.
This past year GPS invited leadership from GSG to attend a Q&A session with school counselors from each GPS junior high and high school. These counselors have been and will continue to receive professional development training regarding giftedness and gifted education. GSG leadership was also invited to attend the first GPS Gifted 101 Parent Education class and to share a few words. Both of these events were well attended and attendees expressed appreciation for GSG’s contributions to gifted education in Gilbert.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
We definitely feel like a pebble thrown into a large pond, yet our ripple effect is growing. Gifted Education is gaining credibility, being considered as genuine as the students being served. GPS is looking to receive parent input regarding future Gifted Education accommodations and GSG's collaborative voice will be a part of those conversations.
We invite you to contact us if you would like to help with our grassroots effort. Our parent voice is one of sincerity and respect and we seek collaboration with GPS as gifted services are being expanded. We are making a difference and are in need of interested parents to help with social media, our web page, and also committee support. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be a part of this positive effort.
“Change, when managed, is opportunity.”