Gifted Education Coordinator: Stakeholder or Gatekeeper?

gtchat 10182018 Coordinators

 

The role of the gifted education coordinator is highly dependent on how a school district is organized. Their role may be strictly administrative or a blended role such as teacher, student advisor, and program coordinator. Administrative duties generally include producing student IEPs (where required), providing PD to district teachers and staff, meeting state mandates, and resolving parent/teacher or student/teacher issues.

Should the GT coordinator be seen as a stakeholder or gatekeeper?  Whether seen as a stakeholder or gatekeeper, the reality is often in the eye of the beholder (parents or other teachers) rather than as they see themselves. Parents who are happy with their child’s gifted program will most likely see a stakeholder. The manner in which a GT coordinator approaches their job and views gifted education in general often influences who they are viewed by teachers and parents. Gatekeepers may restrict access to programs for various reasons.

There are some ways GT coordinators can interact with teachers and staff to build consensus around the gifted program to benefit students. Professional development for teachers and staff trainings are seen as key consensus builders in gifted education. Few teachers have any exposure to gifted education courses at the undergraduate level. GT coordinators can model best practices in their approach to developing the gifted program in their school. They should seek certification or an advanced degree in gifted education if possible.

Positive interactions with other educators responsible for educating GT students is a good first step in recognizing the need for a strong gifted program. Attending conferences and workshops dealing with gifted education can have a profound effect on how a GT coordinator views gifted education.

What are some justifications GT coordinators can use for providing gifted education services when they are not valued by the local community? A local community will not support a program it does not understand or for which it sees no value being provided or returned to it. GT coordinators should develop outreach programs to educate the local community about gifted education. GT coordinators can periodically bring together the local community, teachers, and parents to serve together on gifted advisory boards. By involving community members in decision making, they can see benefits of the programs.

“If a student is operating at one-and-a-half or more standard deviations below average, we provide services in the form of Special Education. If a student operates at one-and-a-half standard deviations ABOVE average, shouldn’t we do the same?” ~ Jeffrey Farley

State and national gifted organizations such as the NAGC, SENG and TAGT are a good place for GT coordinators to find resources to inform their decisions about the administration of gifted programs in their schools. Also, most state departments of education have information on their websites about gifted education programming.

On a personal note: I would like to thank Mr. Jeffrey Farley, M.Ed., former District Special Programs Coordinator, Beaumont ISD, for taking over the moderator’s role this week so that I could take a few days off to visit family! ~ Lisa

Please check out the resources below about the role of gifted coordinators as well as resources for them.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1 PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Stakeholder or Gatekeeper: The Role of the Principal in Gifted Education (pdf)

Ten Things All Administrators Should Know about Gifted Children

Shaping School Culture: The Heart of Leadership (bn)

TEMPO: Positive Ripple Effects of Professional Development for Gifted Programs (pdf)

Programs and Services for Gifted Secondary Students: A Guide to Recommended Practices (Prufrock)

Giving Our Gifted Students a Voice (pdf)

Administrator Quick Guide to Gifted Education (pdf)

Resources for Administrators

Administrator Toolbox 

Texas G/T Program Implementation Resource: G/T Coordinator-Teacher-Counselor Documents

How Leadership Influences Student Learning (pdf)

Pre-K to Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards

Resources for Administrators

Gifted Tactics in the Field: Reports from Four School Districts on the Challenges of Instruction for Gifted Students

Snapshot Survey of PK-Grade 12 Gifted Education Programming Effectiveness Factors (pdf)

Image courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Farley.   Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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Embracing Multipotentiality in Gifted Students

gtchat 10112018 Multipotential

The textbook definition of multipotentiality is: an educational/psychological term referring to the ability and preference, particularly of strong intellectual or artistic curiosity; to excel in 2 or more different fields. A multipotentialite does not need to be an expert in any one field and may like to study diverse subjects. They are often referred to as a Jack-of-all-trades or Renaissance person.

Being a multipotentialite means having the potential to pursue many different passions and   be successful at many or all of them. They have a wide variety of career choices and the ability change from one to another if they wish.

Is there a downside to multipotentiality? A multipotentialite often finds it difficult to choose a single career or when they do; stick with it. Often they are never challenged until college when studies become difficult. It can lead to high stress levels, overscheduling, confusion and depression.

One can embrace their own multipotentiality by seeking inspiration from peers and  from mentors who can help a multipotentialite focus on their passions. Investigation, researching ideas, and trying things out can all help a multipotentialite gain a career focus.

How can parents guide their child’s response to being a multipotentialite? They can expose children throughout their lives to opportunities to work with peers, mentors and professionals. Parents can tune into their child’s passions and look for ways to help them explore ideas and potential careers.

Multipotentialites should embrace the philosophy of ‘variety is the spice of life’; it is no longer necessary to remain in a single career throughout one’s life. It’s acceptable to hold multiple part-time positions that blend passions. They should remain adaptable and be ready to change course when opportunities arise. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1 PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Refuse to be Boxed In: Embrace Your Multipotentiality

From Identification to Ivy League: Nurturing Multiple Interests and Multi-Potentiality in Gifted Students

Career Counseling for Gifted Students: Literature Review & Critique (pdf)

Multipotentiality Among the Intellectually Gifted: “It Was Never There and Already It’s Vanishing” (pdf)

Gifted Adrift? Career Counseling of the Gifted and Talented

A World of Possibilities: Career Development for Gifted Students

If You Still Don’t Believe You’re Gifted

Multipotentiality: Are You Overwhelmed By Your Too Muchness?

Let’s Get Real about Gifted Kids

What is a Multi-Potential?

Identity, Purpose, and Happiness: Helping High-Achieving Adolescents Find All Three

Counseling Concerns of Gifted and Talented Adolescents: Implications for School Counselors

Multipotentiality: When High Ability Leads to Too Many Options

When I Grow Up: Multipotentiality and Gifted Youth

Good at Too Many Things?

Cybraryman’s Multipotentiality Page

Multipotentiality Resources

Multipotentiality: When High Ability Leads to Too Many Options

Multipotentiality – Do You Have Too Many Tabs Open?

Image courtesy of Flickr  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Building Intentional Leadership in Gifted Learners

gtchat 10042018 Leadership

 

This week, our guest at #gtchat was Dr. Mary Christopher, Professor of Educational Studies and Gifted Education at Hardin-Simmons University and Program Director: Doctorate in Leadership. Dr. Christopher is a Past-President of TAGT and also does consulting in gifted education and leadership. She is the co-author of Leadership for Kids: Curriculum for Building Intentional Leadership in Gifted Learners from Prufrock Press.

The definition of leadership has been evolving in recent years. It now includes the ability to expect the unexpected and adapt quickly to change. Leaders today are seen as innovators and producers rather than simply consumers of someone else’s information or product. According to Robert Sternberg, gifted leaders possess creativity, intelligence and wisdom.

“Since the Marland Report, experts included leadership in definitions of giftedness and viewed leadership as integral to giftedness, but leadership remains the least served domain of giftedness. Gifted leaders may not be served within the gifted program.” ~ Dr. Mary Christopher

It is important for GT students to learn about leadership. Depending on their personal interests and goals, GT students often become future leaders and the quality of their leadership depends on understanding what makes a great (intentional) leader even better. Today more than ever, it’s important for GT students to see the value in moral and ethical behavior, clear communication with those they are working, motivating others through personal positive actions and providing inspiration.

“Gifted kids will often be ahead of the pack in some regard throughout their lives. Learning to achieve goals through teamwork whether they have formal authority or not is going to be crucial for a sense of satisfaction.” ~ Kate Arms

What characteristics, skills, and perspective of leadership are needed to become intentional leaders? Intentional leaders should be able to develop ideas to be studies, provide new solutions to existing problems, persuade others to assist in solving problems, and ensure implementation of those solutions. (Sternberg) They are willing to work with a diverse group of colleagues engaged in problem solving and seek to involve all stakeholders.

“It’s important that we balance students cognitive abilities with skills that allow them to be successful people in the world. It’s about challenging Ss to tap into the affective domain that will grow their capacity to bring positive change to society.” ~ Matt Cheek 

Educators can use many different strategies to incorporate leadership training into their curriculum. Students should be presented with opportunities for critical thinking, analysis and creative problem solving. For young gifted students, teachers can include biographies of great leaders in their LA curriculum to read and discuss.

Where can students find opportunities to develop leadership skills outside of the classroom? Finding mentors who are leaders in their community can help develop leadership skills and allow skills to develop naturally. Volunteering exposes students to opportunities to practice and model leadership skills while helping others.  Extracurricular activities can provide avenues for developing skills necessary to lead within group and team activities.

Below find curated resources from the chat and additional ones that can be used in and out of the classroom when teaching students about leadership. A transcript may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1 PM NZDT/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Leadership for Kids: Curriculum for Building Intentional Leadership in Gifted Learners (Prufrock Press)

Does Your Gifted Kid Have Leadership Characteristics?

Developing Leadership Goals for Gifted Learners (PP – pdf)

Eight Great Ways to Develop Youth Leaders

Developing Leadership Skills in Young Gifted Students (pdf)

Dare to Care: Teaching Leadership to Gifted Students (pdf)

Leadership Education for Gifted and Talented Youth: A Review of the Literature (pdf)

Intelligences Outside the Normal Curve: Co-Cognitive Factors that Contribute to the Creation of Social Capital and Leadership Skills in Young People (pdf)

Early Development and Leadership: Building the Next Generation of Leaders (CRC Press)

TEMPO: What the Research Says about Leadership Development of Gifted Students (pdf)

TEMPO: Understanding and Encouraging Leadership Giftedness (pdf)

The Most Important Leadership Competencies, According to Leaders around the World

The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness (bn)

How Great Leaders Think: The Art of Reframing (bn)

Leadership for Students: A Guide for Young Leaders (Prufrock Press)

The O Factor: Identifying and Developing Students Gifted in Leadership Ability (Google Books)

Leadership Lessons with Raina Penchansky

Boundless Leadership: Leadership Hacks by Scott Stein – Book Review

Boundless Leadership: Now is the perfect time to take on a personal quest

Building Everyday Leadership in All Kids (Free Spirit Publishing)

Changing Tomorrow 1: Leadership Curriculum for High-Ability Elementary Students (Prufrock)

The Leader in Me Program

Co-Active Leadership: Five Ways to Lead (bn)

Photo courtesy of Dr. Mary Christopher.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Let’s Talk Advocacy

gtchat 09272018 Advocacy

GT advocacy is a long and winding road. For parents, it feels like it begins shortly after the birth of their child and continues to the point where their child takes over and self-advocates. It is the realization that it is a requisite for all those responsible for the education and care of a child who is identified as GT.

This week, our guest at #gtchat was Heather Vaughn. She is the K-12 Educational Outreach Coordinator at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas in Austin. Heather has been recognized by the National Association for Gifted Children and the Texas Association for Gifted and Talented for her contributions in creating and championing services for gifted students as well as serving on the #gtchat Advisory Board. She holds a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and Gifted and Talented from the University of Mississippi, and an Ed.S. in Educational Psychology from the University of Georgia.

Educators advocating for the needs of GT students should take the time to seek out professional development involving gifted education. A knowledgeable advocate will always be a good advocate. Parents advocating for the needs of their GT child can be a best advocate by listening to their child and using their concerns to direct any and all advocacy efforts. Advocacy will be for naught if the child isn’t a full partner in the process.

“Knowledge is power. Sharing your GT experiences with administrators, district staff and elected officials gives current and future decisions a face, a personal story. Share through social media, letters, emails, phone calls and in face to face meetings.” ~ Heather Vaughn

Self-advocacy goes hand in hand with maturity and understanding of one’s own desire to grow and learn. GT students gain self-confidence when allowed to speak on their own behalf; an authentic outcome of self-awareness. It brings with it respect and that encourages a well measured response to the student’s needs by those adults tasked with providing gifted interventions for & necessary challenge to the student.

Students should be encouraged to become active participants in their communities and to investigate issues of personal interest facing their community. One possibility is to identify a cause and start an advocacy campaign. Starting an advocacy campaign requires the support of the student’s teacher and parents. Educators provide students with the time and resources to study potential causes and support the development of an action plan centering on finding and implementing solutions. Parents can serve as role models by taking an active role in civic duties and encouraging their children to become involved as well.

On identifying a cause and starting an advocacy campaign: “Ask students to write out their action plan. Guide them through primary and secondary research to learn more about the problem and see who they need to contact to instigate change. Encourage partnerships with community leaders and groups. Encourage students to look at communities around them (classroom, school, club, neighborhood) and brainstorm in groups. What are some problems? What are potential solutions? Guide respectful discussion to select the most plausible solution.” ~ Speak Up! Speak Out

Check out the links below to find resources that aid gifted students in taking action and find a transcript of this chat at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Effective Advocates (pdf)

Advocating for Gifted Programs in Your Local Schools

Administrator Toolbox

Fearless Advocacy: A Day in the Life of a Gifted Child’s Parent

TEMPO: Advocating for Appropriate Education for Your Child

Advocating for Exceptionally Gifted Young People A Guidebook (pdf – updated 2018)

Tips for Parents: Advocacy – Working with Your Child’s School

Individual Instruction Plan Menu for the Gifted Child

Communicating Effectively with Your Gifted Child’s School

7 Ways to Advocate for Your Gifted Child

Are You an Advocate for the Gifted?

How to Make a Civics Education Stick

From the Community: Meeting of the Minds

Teenagers Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo Wrote a Textbook to Help Students Develop Racial Literacy

Digital Civics Toolkit

Houston’s Student Congress Launches New Civic Fellowship

Fort River Sixth-Graders Engage Local Officials in Civics

Teaching Channel:  Preparing Youth for Civics & Politics in the Digital Age – Creating Digital Stories (Video 10:04)

Elevating AP for Gifted Learners (pdf)

Action Civics (pdf)

Legacy Book Awards 2018 Nominee: The Power of Self-Advocacy for Gifted Learners Teaching the 4 Essential Steps to Success (Free Spirit Publishing)

The Power of Self-Advocacy for Gifted Learners

Nurturing Self-Advocacy

Gifted Advocacy: What’s the Point?

Communicating with the Community

Understanding the Media

Speak Up! Speak Out!

Cybraryman’s Gifted Advocacy Page

Sprite’s Site: Advocacy – Just Ask Sprite and Co.

Sprite’s Site: Asking for Help – A Guest Expert Panel Q&A Session

Hoagies’ Blog Hop October 2014: Advocacy

65 Ways Students Can Share Student Voice

Graphic courtesy of Heather Vaughn.

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