Micro-Schools with Guest, Jade Ann Rivera

gtchat 02022016 Microschools

 

This week at #gtchat we welcomed Jade Rivera, author of the latest in a series of books from GHF Press, “Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget”. Micro-schools are a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S. and have their roots in Texas and California. A hallmark of these schools is personalized learning in a relatively intimate setting; an ideal situation for gifted and twice-exceptional students who often fail to thrive in other school settings.

We asked Jade why she thought to start a school specifically for this student population. She told us that, “The small, personalized, intentional nature of Micro-Schools offers a balance of connection, flexible structure and freedom. They provide a chance to bring gifted and twice-exceptional issues out into the light. When you start a Micro-School, you’re not only educating students in your school, you’re educating the whole community.”

“A hallmark of these schools is personalized learning in a relatively intimate setting; an ideal situation for gifted and twice-exceptional students who often fail to thrive in other school settings.”

Individualized instruction is achieved in micro schools through the use of technology, project-based learning and restructuring how students are taught. Gifted students have an urgent need for depth and flexibility and micro schools deliver on both counts. It is imperative that the student, parents and teacher work closely together to develop a flexible plan to meet the specific needs of the student and then be diligent in the follow-through.

Student engagement is imperative in ensuring that the micro school model is working for every student. Jade explained her philosophy on engagement, “First and foremost, a student’s passion is personal. All a person can really do is make space for a passion to evolve. It cannot be forced into existence through independent projects and the like. Montessori as well as my chemistry education taught me how to observe in the classroom. By prioritizing connection and observing where your students are at; you can extrapolate where they want to go. Then it’s my job to provide a space where that can happen.”

“Desks in a row with a big teacher’s desk at the front of the room will not work. It connotes an authoritarian culture; the nemesis of the connection, flexible structure and freedom found in Micro-Schools.” ~ Jade Rivera

How are classrooms in Micro-Schools different from traditional classrooms? Jade explained, “My classrooms are more a co-working space. Sometimes students do their own thing together. Sometimes we come together for group learning. Comfort in the classroom is key. Overexcitabilities and sensory needs must be taken into account. There must be access to creative and technological tools in a Micro-School classroom. Desks in a row with a big teacher’s desk at the front of the room will not work. It connotes an authoritarian culture; the nemesis of the connection, flexible structure and freedom found in Micro-Schools. Our students tend to have paradoxical natures. It’s a delicate dance and it takes some time to get right.”

A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

 

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (1.00) UK. to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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

Links:

What Do We Really Mean When We Say ‘Personalized Learning’?

About Jade

Jade Rivera’s Website

Jade Rivera’s Facebook Page

Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget

The Mislabeled Child: Looking Beyond Behavior to Find Solutions for Children’s Learning Challenges (Amazon)

Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges

Twice Exceptional – Smart Kids with Learning Differences

“Gifted, Poor and Sassy”

Big Minds Unschool

Preview: Micro-Schools: Creating Personalized Learning on a Budget

‘Micro-Schools’ Network That Fuses Technology and Instruction Expands to Chicago

‘Micro Schools’ Could Be New Competition for Private K-12

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

The Gifted Identification Process with Guest, Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

 

gtchat 01262016 Identification

 

The gifted identification process has been a hot topic in gifted education for decades. Far too often it is mired in personal prejudices, politics, and misapplied theories about what constitutes a gifted student. Dr. Joy Lawson Davis, our guest expert, shed some much needed light on the topic during our chat and we thank her for taking the time to share her insights with us.

There are several issues associated with the fair assessment. The fairness of group vs individual testing is an important factor when considering assessing gifted students. There needs to be a procedure in place for identifying students in immediate need of services as well as potential for need. The identification process must involve the collaboration of multiple stakeholders – administrators, teachers, parents and the student. Dr. Gail Post, clinical psychologist, pointed out that “when schools form a gifted “program” with loose guidelines”; it can become an issue.

Best practices in the use of assessments include aligning assessment tools with state and local definitions of gifted as well as the school’s gifted program’s goals and objectives. School personnel need to be familiar with the test being used and know how to administer it. Joshua Lemere, 4th grade gifted education teacher in NC, explained, “[Best practices include] valid and reliable assessments; if using work samples, clearly defined rubric with independent “examiners”. If using a checklist and rating scale, then the auditor MUST BE trained in how to effectively use it without bias.” Dr. Stephen Covert, Principal at Pine View School for the Gifted in Sarasota, Florida, related, “it’s not just those who ‘play well at school’.” Susan E. Jackson of Celebrating High Potential  added, “Quantitative assessments should be re-normed for local population to be valid.”

“Too often creative,  aberrant gifted is ignored. It happens to diverse students too much!” ~ Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

The responsibilities of program administrators in the identification process are first being responsible for eliminating bias in the choice of assessments to be used to identify gifted students. Carolyn K of Hoagies’ Gifted suggested, “Program administrators should do in-service to refresh teacher training on specific measures, and keep an eye out for unusual gifted kids.” Finally, administrators should periodically review the identification process.

“Program Administrators should understand and re-design identification protocol as needed. They are responsible to ensure equity and fairness.” ~ Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

Next we considered how poor identification methods can adversely affect low-income, minority, and ELL students. Most often, they fail to account for cultural bias in tests. Dr. Davis told us, “Portfolios, performance based assessments, and observations are all excellent criteria and tools to use. Parent checklists appropriate for all cultures should also be used. A recent study from Vanderbilt demonstrated that Black students are less likely to be referred when teachers are white.  Also important that any checklist be culturally fair and up to date. Many districts use lists that are 20+ years old. Limited access to high end high school courses limits students ability to apply for and be accepted in competitive colleges.”

“Students suffer from low self esteem, isolation, underachievement when they don’t have access to high end classes.” ~ Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

What do parents need to know about their school’s identification process for gifted programs? Parents need to understand that there are no nation-wide or even state-wide standards for identification. They should be aware of the criteria their school uses and ask how their child was evaluated for selection into gifted program. Barry Gelston of Mr. Gelston’s One Room Schoolhouse, queried, ” Should I homeschool my child?”

Dr. Davis added, “Parents need to know WHO will administer the testing what the results of the tests ‘say’ about their child’s potential. They need to know about the district’s appeals process in case the child is not ‘eligible for services’. Parents need to know if outside/alternative testing is allowed and what the time-frame is.Parents should ask if they can attend the ‘decision’ meeting to serve as an advocate for their child.”

A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

Enjoy our blog, but haven’t joined in a chat on Twitter? We’d love to have you share your expertise with others. Who knows? You may be quoted in one of our posts and you will definitely be included in the transcript. Not sure where to start? Check out our post here to find out how! And remember that #gtchat now meets on Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P. See you there!

 

 

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT/1 AM (1.00) UK. to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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

Links:

Why Gifted Children Can Slip through the Cracks

How Teachers Can Identify Gifted Students and Promote High Achievers

In One Elementary School, a Researcher Finds Sharply Divergent Views on its Gifted Program

Identifying and Nourishing Gifted Students 

Identifying Gifted Learners (Livebinder)

#gtchat Blog: Gifted Identification

Identification of Gifted Children

The Ongoing Dilemma of Effective Identification Practices in Gifted Education (pdf)

Cybraryman’s Gifted Identification Page

Ethical Considerations for Gifted Assessment & Identification of Diverse Students (pdf)

The Role of Assessments in the Identification of Gifted Students

Giftedness Defined: How to Identify a Gifted Child

Best Practices for Identifying Gifted Students (pdf)

Study: Washoe Gifted, Talented Selection Process Biased

Educational Views: Dr. Joy Lawson Davis (audio 2:37)

Gifted Children at About.com with Carol Bainbridge

Bright, Talented, & Black: A Guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners by Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

Identification from the NAGC via Jerry Blumengarten

An Overview: Tests and Assessments from the NAGC via Cathleen Healy

These Kids were Geniuses — They were Just Too Poor for Anyone to Discover Them

Gifted by State from the NAGC

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Every Student Succeeds Act and Gifted Education

gtchat 01192016 ESSA and Gifted Education

 

Recently, the U.S. Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Replacing the controversial No Child Left Behind Act, the new legislation is commonly referred to as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). A $21 billion appropriation of federal funds to states and  school districts, it proclaims to reduce the overuse of standardized testing and one-size-fits-all mandates.

This week, #gtchat reviewed the positive and negative aspects of the new bill for gifted students and their education.  According to NAGC Executive Director M. René Islas, “ESEA Re-authorization marks the first time that Congress makes clear that Title I funds may be used to identify and serve gifted students, which will ensure that high-ability students from low-income families and other under-served populations receive the challenging instruction that they require to achieve their potential. In addition, the law retains the authorization of the high-impact Jacob Javits Gifted Education Grant program, which has yielded numerous strategies to identify and serve academically talented students.”

Many participants at this week’s chat expressed doubts that the new legislation will make any difference at all for most gifted students and were leery of comments coming from the NAGC. However, the importance of having gifted students even acknowledged in the ESSA was considered a victory by most. The ESSA also specifically mentions types of services; such as acceleration, enrichment, and dual enrollment. Only time and a commitment to advocacy will tell if it will be effective.

Much of the law is about ‘allowing’, but there are several important ‘requirements’ that pertain to gifted students. For Title I, the funds are allowed to be used to identify and serve gifted students. When reporting student achievement data on low-SES, race, ELL, gender and students with disabilities; states must now include data on students who achieve at the advanced level. All identified gifted students may participate in programs funded by Title 1; regardless of socio-economic status.

For Title 2 funding, schools are required to provide PD which addresses needs of gifted students. “In applying for Title II professional development funds, states must include information about how they plan to improve the skills of teachers and other school leaders that will enable them to identify gifted and talented students and provide instruction based on the students’ needs.” (See “Q&As about the ESSA” from NAGC below.)

Gifted Education will continue to be at the discretion of the local school district. Although it is important legislation, advocates are being tasked with ‘getting the word out’; the ESSA is over 300 pages. In the end, it will be incumbent upon advocates for gifted education to educate local districts on provisions for gifted students in the ESSA. A transcript of this week’s chat may be found at Storify.

This week also marked the 6th birthday of #gtchat on Twitter! Thank you to all who have and continue to support us!

gtchat 01192016 Happy 6th Birthday

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  1 AM (1.00) in the UK,  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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

Links:

Every Student Succeeds Act

Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Gifted

PALNYC (Parents of NYC’s High Potential Learners) Every Student Succeeds Act

Q&A’s About the ESSA (pdf)

CEC’s Summary of Selected Provisions in Every Student Succeeds Act (pdf)

S.1177 – Every Student Succeeds Act114th Congress (2015-2016)

Federal Policy Briefing: ESSA Briefing (YouTube 1:01:20)

New Education Law Covers Gifted Students, Too

Missouri Board of Education Weighs in on Every Student Succeeds Act

Letter to @usedgov on #Title I of #ESSA (pdf)

A Fair Shot at Opportunity

Special Education Advocates Gear Up for ESSA Implementation

Cybraryman’s Gifted Advocacy Page

 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

The Many Faces of Gifted

gtchat 01122016 Many Faces of Gifted

 

The many faces of giftedness often look quite different depending on the characteristics used and who is making the judgement. Early on in the discussion, Jen Merrill, author and blogger at Laughing at Chaos,  pointed out appropriately so that we shouldn’t be looking at ‘types’ of giftedness but rather differences in ‘wiring’ or ‘strengths’ among gifted children.

Although arguments have been made for and against labeling gifted children, we considered the consequences which occur when children are mislabeled or not identified at all. Gifted children often ‘feel different’ from their age-peers and when not identified or mislabeled, they can feel confused. They may be placed in an inappropriate educational setting, miss valuable opportunities, or receive a medical misdiagnosis. According to Gail Post, Clinical Psychologist, “At worst, [it] could result in depression, despair, isolation; always feeling there is something wrong with them,”

What do we risk by equating ‘gifted’ only with high academic achievement? Many gifted children never achieve academically as their areas of strength may lay elsewhere. Talents outside the academic realm may never be realized if only academic achievement is considered. As Jeremy Bond expressed, “We risk getting it spectacularly wrong. Our most gifted leaders weren’t correlated with school “achievement” (whatever that is).”

Intellectual giftedness can get overlooked as well when considering twice-exceptional students and those from culturally different or diverse populations. Disabilities can be more visible and obstruct the viewpoint of adults responsible for identification. Too many educational professionals lack the necessary expertise in cultural differences & diverse populations. As #gtchat adviser, Krissy Venosdale, told us, “I honestly can’t think of a field in education where there is more bias, preconceived notions, misunderstandings than gifted.”

Highly gifted children are at particular risk for medical misdiagnosis that fails to recognize giftedness. Many areas such as ADHD share characteristics with giftedness making diagnosis difficult. Most medical professionals have had little to no training about gifted characteristics. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at  1 AM (1.00) in the UK,  2 PM (14.00) NZDT/Noon (12.00) AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found atStorify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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

Links:

Many Faces of Giftedness: Lifting the Masks (Amazon)

The Misunderstood Face of Giftedness via @MarianneKuz

Handbook for Counselors Serving Students with Gifts &Talents: Development, Relationships, School (Amazon)

Misdiagnosis & Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children & Adults

Trading Beyond the Mark: Supporting the Genius of Disobedient Thought

The Faces of Gifted: A Resource for Educators & Parents

The Varied Faces of Gifted/Talented Students (pdf)

Many Faces of Gifted (PPT pdf) by Dr James T Webb

Revised Profiles of the Talented & Gifted 2010 (pdf) by Betts and Neihart

Changing Our View of Gifted Learners

GT Chat: Labels: Good, Bad, or Simply Wrong

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 3

Hoagies’ Gifted: Testing and Assessment

Cybraryman: Twice-Exceptional Children

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum: Healthcare Providers’ Guide to Gifted Children (downloadable guide)

SENG Misdiagnosis Initiative: Reducing the Risk of Medical Misdiagnosis

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop: Discovering the Depth and Breadth of Giftedness

Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop: Ages & Stages of Giftedness

 

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic Courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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