Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Update on Gilbert Pulbic Schools Junior High Gifted Programming

2016 - 2017 Junior High Gifted Program

Gilbert Public Schools has updated their website with information on gifted programming for 7th and 8th graders for the 2016-17 school year... "The Self-contained Gifted Program will have at least one 7th and 8th grade classroom at Highland Jr. High School for the 2016-2017 school year. The determination of a second class of students will be based on the number of qualified applicants who apply. The last day to submit an application is April 10, 2016."   Click here for more information.

2017- 2018 Junior High Gifted Academy

In December 2014, the Gilbert Publc Schools Governing Board adopted their 2014-17 Strategic Operating Plan - "Scholarship, Innovation, and Technology."  Per Strategy #3,"School Design and Innovation," a district committee has explored the viability of a centralized gifted academy.  The proposed academy aligns with the district's Gifted Education Vision and Mission as established in 2012.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

ACTION NEEDED! Support HB 2356 by February 17th!

Your chance to help make a difference

Per our by-laws, we are informing you, members/subscribers of Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted, of pending Arizona legislation that can positively impact gifted education in our state.

HB 2356 has been approved by the House Education Committee and it now moves to the Appropriations Committee.

What is HB 2356?   

A House Bill proposed by Rep. Heather Carter to move gifted funding from Group A to Group B.  This will allow the funds to be targeted to support gifted students.  In Group A they are not.  Click here for more information on HB 2356

What can you do?  

Send an email to your Representative by February 17th by following these easy steps:

STEP 2:  On the House roster (the 2nd roster listed), click on “send email” for your representative.

STEP 3:  Complete the fields provided with your contact information.

STEP 4:  Complete the subject line with “Constituent of LD#(INSERT YOUR NUMBER).  HB 2356: Gifted Education Group B Weight” ... Legislators receive hundreds of emails, yet they are more likely to prioritize those from their own constituents.

STEP 5:  Cut and paste the letter below, adding your personal information and story as indicated …


My name is (INSERT YOUR NAME), and I am a constituent of LD#(INSERT #).  I wish to encourage you to vote yes on HB 2356: Gifted Education Group B Weight.  I am a parent of a gifted child and a member of (INSERT ORGANIZATION, i.e.: the Gilbert Gifted Education Parent Council, Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted, Arizona Association for Gifted & Talented, ETC.)  Gifted Education is a state mandate, yet it has not been funded in Arizona since FY2009, even though gifted pupils have different and unique learning challenges.

There is a common myth that gifted children will do fine on their own and that they don’t need support.  However, ALL students have strengths and struggles in which they need support, and gifted children are no less.  It is often difficult for parents of gifted children to find academic programs and teachers who understand the strengths and struggles of gifted kids.  

How will supporting gifted students help Arizona?  Investing in Arizona’s gifted children is an investment in our Intellectual Capital and our state’s economy.  It will foster a home-grown workforce to fuel growing local businesses.  HB 2356 will help fund the training of teachers in identifying gifted pupils in underserved populations as well as training teachers in gifted child development and gifted teaching strategies. 


Gifted children who do not have teachers who understand them often do not experience a year’s worth of growth as typical children do in the regular classroom.  Having teachers who are trained in understanding gifted children is critical to gifted children’s success and the development of the skill set needed to contribute back to society. 

The philosophy of gifted education is to identify and support a student’s strengths as well as in their areas of struggle.  When gifted education is supported this philosophy can permeate the schools and make a difference in the education of ALL students.  Please support HB 2356.

PS. I'm including this quick link so you can see a map of how Arizona compares with other states in gifted education support - http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/StatePolicy.aspx


Be sure to share this information with other parents and family members.  Ask the educators in your life to subscribe to our blog (www.gilbertgifted.blogspot.com) with their home email address so that they can receive this information.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Recap on GPS School Board Work Study on Proposed Gifted Junior High Academy

On Tuesday, February 9, 2016, GPS District Staff presented the Gifted Academy Committee’s proposal to the GPS School Board.  This was the second of three items on the evening’s agenda and you may view the presentation of the Gifted Academy Proposal here, beginning at minutes 59:00:00 through 02:14:00

GPS staff will refer to a report with background information which was given to board members.  Click here to view that report.

If you would like to ask questions of board members, submit comments to board members, or share your story of the need for gifted education, you can do so by emailing all Board members at the following address: Board@gilbertschools.net

The philosophy of gifted education is to identify and support a child in their strengths as well as in their areas of struggle.  We hope this philosophy permeates throughout the district,  allowing each GPS student to receive the support for growth that they need. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Free Event - Chandler Science Spectacular Saturday - 2/20/16

Bring your family and friends to the Chandler Science Spectacular Saturday for a free event focused on Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM). Orbital ATK employees will be hosting a hands-on exhibit complete with wind tunnel testing, and rocket launches.  

Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
3 S. Arizona Avenue
Downtown Chandler

Along with the Orbital ATK booth, there are many interactive exhibits that use 'sneaky science' by entertaining the whole family while explaining how science is important to daily life.

National Summer Gifted Programs

Stanford:  Pre-Collegiate Studies

Stanford | Pre-Collegiate Studies

Find the program that is right for you

Stanford University selects top high school students from around the world to participate in engaging summer academic programs. These programs are ideal for gifted students currently in grades 8 – 12.

Our programs offer highly motivated, intellectually curious students the opportunity to investigate topics not typically taught in secondary schools. Students engage in small classes taught by instructors who are experts in their fields and passionate about teaching. In this setting, students hone their academic skills and form new friendships with intellectual peers. Students in our residential programs get a taste of college life on the beautiful Stanford campus.  Past students have described their Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies experience as life-changing.

Applications are open for all our programs:


Students ages 16 – 19 take courses that have three weeks in a live, real-time online class and three weeks on the beautiful Stanford campus.  Students can chose among 21 courses in a variety of subjects and earn Stanford Continuing Studies credit and a Stanford Continuing Studies transcript. This hybrid program is ideal for students wanting college credit yet don’t have a full eight weeks to be on campus. 

Students currently in grades 10 and 11 explore the big questions at the heart of the humanities in seminars led by distinguished Stanford professors. Students spend the first two weeks intensively studying and researching a topic in history, literature, or philosophy, attending daily lectures by the faculty members, and participating in group discussions and activities in the afternoon. During their third week, students work closely with their professors, graduate students, and writing mentors to produce original research projects.

Students in grades 9 – 11 engage in courses that stand at the intersection of the arts and science showing that the arts are at the heart of what we do and want to be. Our courses take a multilayered, interdisciplinary approach to understanding our relationship to music, visual design, and performance.  Students can choose among six courses ranging from Music Perception to Architecture, Drawing, and Design.

For students who have surpassed their high school’s math and physics curriculum, University-Level Online Math & Physics courses are offered throughout the year and are largely self-paced, giving students the opportunity to take a broad array of math and physics courses. Expert instructors are available for optional office hours to meet with students online and offer assistance as they progress through the course material. All courses carry Stanford University Continuing Studies credit, and students earn a Stanford Continuing Studies transcript.

Students ages 16 – 19 choose from more than 145 college courses in 30 academic departments, earning Stanford undergraduate course credit and an official Stanford University transcript. Students in the residential, commuting, and online Summer College programs create their own course schedules and experience what life is like as undergraduate students at Stanford.

Students currently in grades 8 – 11 engage in intensive study, single-subject courses with instructors and peers who share their talents, passions, and interests. Coursework is tightly integrated with the social experience in academically themed houses. Courses in areas ranging from biotechnology to entrepreneurship to creative writing are customized to give students deep exposure and hands-on experience.

An elite group of talented rising high school juniors and seniors from around the world convene for intensive study in advanced mathematics. Students participate in lectures, guided research, and group problem solving.

Academically-talented students, in grades 7 – 12, engage in a worldwide learning community. Through vibrant, real-time, online seminars, the rigorous curriculum challenges students to reason analytically, think creatively, and argue critically. Stanford OHS offers a number of enrollment options including taking solely a single course. Stanford OHS is a WASC accredited school and course credit is transferable to other WASC accredited schools.

To Learn More About Stanford Programs, visit: SPCS.STANFORD.EDU/NAGC

Monday, February 8, 2016

GPS Gifted Academy Proposal to School Board at Work Study - 2/9/16

This Tuesday, February 9th, at 6:30pm, the GPS Gifted Academy Committee will present its proposal to the GPS school board.  If you are able to come, your presence of support would be appreciated.   To attend in person: 
·         Board meetings are located at the district offices at SW corner of Gilbert Rd & Elliot - 140 South Gilbert Road, building A. 
·         The evening entrance is the set of doors to the right of the main doors, it’s marked with a sign.

The agenda for the work study is now posted on the district website and there are only three agenda items, the first two having to deal with junior high schools, #2 being the gifted academy proposal.  Presentations of this nature are usually about 30-45 minutes each, allowing for Q&A from board members.  Remaining at the meeting for agenda item #3 is not necessary as it deals with GPS employee benefits.

Links to watch via Livestream from home on your desk top computer are found in our previous blog post - http://gilbertgifted.blogspot.com/2016/02/gps-junior-high-gifted-academy-update.html.

View the work study agenda here:  http://www.boarddocs.com/az/gpsaz/Board.nsf/Public

Once you locate the agenda for February 9th:
·         Click on agenda item #2 and you will see there is an icon that looks like sheets of paper.  This icon indicates there are files attached.  Click this icon.
·         Now you will see links to view the proposal (power point slide presentation) and the in-depth report

Again, if you are able to come, your presence of visible support would be appreciated.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

GPS Junior High Gifted Academy Update

This Tuesday, February 9th, at 6:30pm, the GPS Gifted Academy Committee will present its proposal to the GPS school board.  You are invited to attend in person to show your support or watch via Livestream from home on your desk top computer.
Brief information about the proposal is found on the GPS website:  Proposed GPS Junior High Gifted Academy
Helpful information:
·         Public comment is not available at GPS School Board work study sessions
·         The agenda for the work study will contain the slides for each presentation given.  You can view the agenda by Monday and access the presentation slides by clicking GPS Board Docs
·         Click here to view the schedule of GPS board meetings
·         If you have questions or comments for GPS school board members you may email all board members at:  Board@gilbertschools.net

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE READ - Gifted Legislation TODAY at 2:00pm


Today at 2:00pm the Arizona House will hear about House Bill (HB) 2356 which proposes that Gifted Funding in the state budget be moved from Group A to Group B.  This means that for the first time since the 2009 - 2010 school year that a dollar amount will be allocated for the education of each gifted child.

Click on this link to see a previous post that has a brief synopsis of gifted education funding history in Arizona.

Click here to see the text of HB 2356.

Click here to see a brief explanation of current funding law.

Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted (GSG) AND Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented (AAGT) are in support of HB 2356.

Please note that an amendment has also been proposed that will LIMIT this funding to only those students who are identified as being in the 97th percentile or above.  (Click here to see an explanation of percentile rankings.)

According to Arizona State Statute 15-7790.1 "School districts may identify any number of pupils as gifted but shall identify as gifted at least those pupils who score at or above the ninety-seventh percentile, based on national norms, on a test adopted by the state board of education."  

This state statute allows school districts to take into account that gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds (socio-economic, etc.) may not score into the 97th percentile.  It also recognizes that gifted children may not test well using a particular state approved test.  If a gifted child scored in the 96th percentile on one of the state approved tests (i.e.: the most common district administered test is the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)), they would most likely receive a 97th percentile or above on an expensive, much more thorough IQ test.  This state statute leaves the decision with local control, to those who know their community best.

This amendment does not recognize gifted children who do not test well with less expensive tests, nor the gifted children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.  This would hurt Title 1 schools.  This amendment takes away local control from those who know their communities best.

GSG and AAGT are opposed to the amendment on HB 2356.


  1. Email your Representative.  Click here to obtain the name and email address of your Legislator.  Once at the list of rosters, the House Representative roster is the second one listed. 
    1. Cut and paste the following paragraph into your email:  
Dear Representative (INSERT NAME),

Today before the House you will be reviewing HB 2356 regarding Gifted Education Funding.  As a member of Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted, I am in favor of this bill to provide much needed funding for our gifted students.  Gifted students need quality trained teachers who understand their unique developmental needs.  Gifted students grow and develop differently than typical students.  Gifted students need programs that allow flexibility which will foster student growth. They have their unique struggles and challenges and need teachers who understand them.  Please support HB 2356 in its original form.  

I oppose any amendment that limits gifted funding to a certain percentile ranking.  Such limitations will not allow gifted students in disadvantaged socio-economic groups to be serviced.  This will hurt the gifted students attending Title 1 schools.  This does not allow local control over these funds.  I ask that you oppose such an amendment, letting those at the local level, who know their community best, to serve their gifted students.

As the parent of a gifted child, I thank you for working to restore Arizona gifted funding which has been lost since 2010.


Are you registered for the "Request to Speak System"?  If so, ACT NOW, BEFORE 2:00PM, by going to this link: 

After you've logged in, 
  1. Click on "New Request" on the left hand column 
  2. Search by the bill number:  HB 2356
  3. When you see the bill listed, make sure to click "Add Request" to be able to leave your comment.   (Example:  "As a member of Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted I am in FAVOR of this bill to provide much needed funding for our gifted students.  However, I am OPPOSED to any amendment that restricts funding based on percentile groupings as it limits local control")
    1. Register your position
    2. If you don't actually want to testify in person, select "No" 
    3. Leave a comment in the box. 
  4. Click here for a visual step-by-step on using the system
  5. Do not forget to list yourself as a school board member, parent, or constituent when leaving your comment!
Share with your friends!

The "Request to Speak System" allows you to electronically share your position and comments on a bill without actually being present at the state capital.  Want to sign up so you may comment on future gifted education issues?  You may do so by filling out the form at this link, then emailing it to the email address on the form:  http://azsba.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ALISFillableForm.pdf

2/3/2016 8:00pm UPDATE:

This afternoon, the House Education Committee met and reviewed various bills.   Below is the committee's vote after reviewing and hearing comments on HB 2356.
  • HB 2356 (gifted pupils; group B weight) passed on a 6-0-1 vote. This bill removes gifted students from Group A weights and establishes a separate Group B weight for gifted students at 0.115 and requires a withholding of the full Group B weight (rather than the current 7% of the Group A weight), if a district fails to submit the scope and sequence for gifted students or if it is not fully approved. The bill also includes a conditional enactment that the bill does not take effect unless Prop. 123 is successfully passed. An amendment was adopted that requires a student to score at or above the 97th percentile on a statewide assessment to be eligible for Group B monies. 
Now HB 2356 goes to the House for review.