Category Archives: Advocacy

How Schools Can Support GT Parents

The best ways to communicate with parents are those that are regular in nature ~ text/email updates, newsletters, or personal invitations to school activities or events. Sometimes, spending a little extra time at regularly scheduled school meetings (parent-teacher conferences, welcome back to school night, etc.) may be all that is needed.

What information do parents of GT students need most from schools? Parents of GT students should be made aware of all the options available for their child; the entire range of academic programs K-12. Options including social-emotional interventions, enrichment opportunities through the school and out of school, and possible accommodations for twice-exceptional students. Parents should be given an opportunity to review all assessments/test scores relating to their child and be able to participate in planning sessions for IEPs or ALPs (when available). They should be given information on ways they can support their child at home.

Schools can engage and involve parents in their gifted learner’s education by inviting them to volunteer to organize or chaperone field trips, become a coach for academic competitions, or participate in classroom activities. They can provide information sessions for parents about gifted issues, gifted education, and resources available to them from state and national organizations. They can also list information on their websites for parents about online resources, local support or advocacy groups, and upcoming conferences.

Teachers can assist parents of newly identified GT students by sharing information on the criteria used to identify their child as gifted. They may periodically ask parents if they believe their child’s needs are being met and what more they’d like to see as part of their child’s education plan. Also, teachers can encourage parents to form or participate in a parent advocacy group. Oftentimes, parents can advocate for gifted programs in ways school personnel cannot.

What should teachers know about gifted education to best support parents? The best way to support parents is to become educated about gifted education and then share that information and resources with parents. Teachers may need to seek out PD at both the local level or online and consider attending gifted conferences to learn about the latest developments/research in gifted education.

How can tensions between parents and school personnel be minimized? Open channels of communication can go a long way in easing tensions between home and school. This can prevent unnecessary surprises for all involved. Teachers can reassure parents that they have their child’s best interest at heart; becoming a trusted ally can promote positive relationships between schools and parents.

A transcript of this chat can 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 2PM NZDT/Noon 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.

Resources:

How Do You Teach Parents to Advocate for their Child?

10 Steps to a Better Parent-School Partnership: Pre-action, not Re-action

The Teacher-Parent Connection: Tips for Working with the Parents of a Gifted Student

14 Things Gifted Students Want Teachers to Know

The Survival Guide for Teachers of Gifted Kids: How to Plan, Manage, and Evaluate Programs for Gifted Youth K-12 (book preview with Teacher Survey template) (pdf )

The Survival Guide for Teachers of Gifted Kids: How to Plan, Manage, and Evaluate Programs for Gifted Youth K–12 (book)

Teacher’s Survival Guide: Gifted Education (book)

Tips for Teaching Gifted Students

TEMPO Issue 1 2016: Advocating for Gifted Learners (pdf)

15 Ways to Help Gifted Kids Thrive in School (pdf)

The Care and Feeding of Gifted Parent Groups: A Guide for Gifted Coordinators, Teachers, and Parent Advocates (pdf)

Trying to Make School Better for Gifted Kids

Disclaimer: Some resources in our resources have affiliate links.

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Building a Successful Gifted Program

Gifted programs should ensure a continuum of services throughout a GT student’s entire K-12 school career. They should include opportunities for all forms of acceleration, differentiation in the regular classroom, and alternative learning environments. All gifted programs need a social-emotional component to fully meet the needs of gifted students.

Best practices in gifted identification require a multifaceted approach. Reliance on only one measurement, such as IQ tests, will result in many students being missed. Out-of-level testing are essential to avoid inaccurate measurements. Because the best programs are tailored to student needs and not vice versa; universal testing as well as parent and teacher recommendations, should be utilized. Gifted identification should be culturally sensitive, linguistically appropriate, and take into account low-SES environmental factors such as lack of access to technology.

The best gifted programs provide challenge to all GT students include PG, twice-exceptional, and ELL. Curriculum should promote authentic experiential learning experiences and be conducive to exploration of student interests. A gifted curriculum should be more complex, provide in-depth study of key-concepts; and stress higher-level thinking, creativity, and problem solving. It can include enrichment and compacting as needed. Services may include standalone gifted classrooms; full-grade or subject acceleration; full or part day pull-out; independent study; early entrance/early out; dual enrollment in college classes; and counseling services.

Parents should be included in district planning and evaluation of gifted programs. Programs serve students and parents are often good judges of their child’s need. Their involvement can be a conduit for advocacy of gifted programs. As programs develop, parents need to be informed of identification criteria and procedures; and have access to application forms. Utilizing classroom tech, social media, and newsletters are all ways to stay connected. Forming a Parent Support or Advocacy group is a great way to build support for a school’s gifted programs. Parents can be invited to special information sessions at Parent Night events or engaged at regular monthly meetings.

Professional development is essential in a high quality gifted program. Few teachers receive any coursework in gifted education during their undergraduate years. PD should be often and on-going to be effective. Gifted endorsement is highly recommended. Most endorsements are attainable online. Many states require teachers of gifted students to receive continuing education credits in gifted education.

What criteria should be used for evaluating effectiveness of program options & design? Criteria for student products should high-level and exemplary. Student products should be comparable to those of professionals in the field, challenge existing ideas, and produce new ones. Criteria for evaluating a program’s success and effectiveness should rely on standardized, achievement, and performance-based assessments as well as program feedback from all stakeholders – students, teachers and parents. All students, including GT students, should demonstrate academic growth with special care identify areas of strength and weakness in order to modify existing programs to better meet students’ needs.

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 2PM NZDT/Noon 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.

Resources:

Gifted Program Development

Building an Exemplary Gifted Program

Elements of a Good School Gifted Program

South Carolina – Gifted and Talented Best Practices Guidelines: Identification (pdf)

Gifted Education in America is Finally Moving Past its Legacy of Inequality

Why School Districts Are Rethinking Gifted & Talented Programs

Why Grouping Kids Based on Ability Works

Duke TIP Study Finds Using Local Criteria Identifies More Students as ‘Gifted’

Featured California Schools for Gifted Learners

Top Four Things to Look for in Your Gifted Program

The Best Kind of Schools for Gifted Kids

TAGT: Program Evaluation

Program Evaluation in Gifted Education (Book)

Gifted Education Strategies

Developing Exemplary Gifted Developing Exemplary Gifted Programs: Programs: What does the research say? What does the research say? (pdf)

High-Potential Students Thrive when School Districts Develop Sustainable Gifted Services

Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students 2019 Final (pdf)

UK: What Works in Gifted Education? A Literature Review (pdf)

Is Gifted Education a Bright Idea? Assessing the Impact of Gifted and Talented Programs on Achievement and Behavior (pdf)

What Works in Gifted Education: Documenting the Effects of an Integrated Curricular/Instructional Model for Gifted Students

Gifted Education in China

State of the Nation in Gifted Education 2012 – 2013 (pdf)

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Common Terminology in an Uncommon Field

With little experience with the concept of gifted education prior to their child being identified (unless they participated in a program themselves), most terminology is new to parents. Many teachers also have limited exposure to gifted education prior to beginning their teaching careers.

Unique terms such as overexcitabilities or the idea of perfectionism in very young children can be confusing at first. Also, terms such as cluster grouping, self-contained classrooms versus full-inclusion classrooms, and acceleration may be new to many.

Perhaps the term ‘gifted’ itself is the most controversial term in gifted education. Many educators and some parents would prefer not to use the term. Others have decidedly opposing ideas about the word’s definition. Unfortunately, this has at times slowed how the field of gifted education has responded to actually helping gifted children grow and develop their potential abilities.

What are some general education terms that are also useful in gifted education? Terms such as universal screening, pre-assessment, curriculum compacting, scaffolding, and differentiation are used universally in both fields. It’s important to understand general education terms to be a successful advocate. Educators appreciate a willingness by parents to learn the terminology and be able to engage in intelligent dialogue.

Learning the jargon or terminology aids in a parent’s understanding of what will be discussed in meetings with teachers and school personnel regarding their child’s education. Intelligently conversing with educators will gain their respect for parents and ultimately benefit the relationship for all stakeholders; especially the student.

What resources are available for learning the lingo of gifted education? Gifted organizations such as the NAGC and state websites generally provide a list or terms for both parents and educators. Resources and links to these organizations can be found below. 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 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.

 Lisa Conrad 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:

CO: The Principal’s GT Handbook – A Consolidated Resource (pdf)

NAGC: Glossary of Terms

Frequently Used Terms in Gifted Education (pdf)

Gifted Education Glossary of Common Terms (pdf)

Understanding Your Gifted Child From the Inside Out: A Guide to the Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Kids  (Prufrock – aff. link)

PAGE: A Glossary of Terms for Gifted Education

Acronyms, Terms, and Other Things We Need to Know

Davidson Gifted: A Glossary of Terms Used in Educational Assessment

Different Uses of the Term “Gifted”

Your Guide to Education Lingo

NAGC: Administrator Quick Guide to Gifted Education (pdf)

Dictionary of Educational Jargon

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Reforming Gifted Education (GPP)

Davidson Gifted: The Underachievement of Gifted Students: What do we know and where do we go? (2000)

Emotional Intelligence in Gifted Students

Sprite’s Site: The G Word

Acronyms, Terms, and Other Things We Need to Know

Image generated at Wordcloud.com by Lisa Conrad.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

 

Accelerating GT Students

 

Academic acceleration is a cost-effective way to meet many of the needs of gifted students across the spectrum which is hampered only by myths debunked long ago. It is, however, only as good as its implementation. A well-researched educational plan that is responsive to individual student needs can make all the difference in success or failure for the student.

With all the research in existence, why do some educators/admins still balk at acceleration? It only takes one poorly executed attempt at acceleration for a single student to influence school administrations for decades thereafter in a school district. Unfortunately, too often decision makers do not take the time to review the research involving academic acceleration. Outdated information propagated at the undergraduate level is rarely challenged.

Pertinent information that should be included in consideration of acceleration is test scores, psychological evaluations, and teacher and parent observations. An often forgotten part of acceleration is taking into consideration how the student feels about acceleration and the possible effects on the family. If a child does not want to be accelerated, it probably won’t work.

Every school district should have a policy on acceleration. This will ensure that the process is equally applied to all students; everyone is aware of the option to accelerate; and provides guidelines for the process. Administrators should take a deep dive into all the avenues of acceleration and make the information available to their faculty and parents to aid in the decision-making process and to provide adequate resources.

For most GT students, the earlier the acceleration; the easier it is to minimize knowledge gaps. Most students being considered for acceleration are generally identified as to having above-grade level abilities. For older GT students, knowledge gaps can be addressed by such avenues as summer school, tutoring, online classes, the use of mentors, or independent study.

Parents who want to support the acceleration process need to keep open lines of communication with school administrators and those teachers who will be directly involved with their child’s program. They should take the time to talk to their GT child about all the facets of acceleration as well as other family members who may be affected by the child’s acceleration. It’s always better to work through the issues beforehand. 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 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.

 Lisa Conrad 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:

Developing Academic Acceleration Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance & Single Subject (pdf)

Dual Enrollment: Participation and Characteristics (pdf 2019)

Understanding Acceleration Implementing Research-Based Practices for GATE (pdf)

Life in the Fast Lane: Effects of Early Grade Acceleration on High School and College Outcomes

Subject Acceleration: Who, What, How?

Developing Academic Acceleration Policies: Whole Grade, Early Entrance & Single Subject

Mathematically Gifted Accelerated Students Participating in an Ability Group: A Qualitative Interview Study

Acceleration or Enrichment? Which one is better for gifted kids?

A Nation Empowered Vols. 1 & 2 (Free Download)

What One Hundred Years of Research Says About Ability Grouping and Acceleration for Students K-12

Why is Academic Acceleration (Still) So Controversial?

Why Am I an Advocate for Academic Acceleration?

Possible Economic Benefits of Full-Grade Acceleration

Academic Acceleration: Is It Right for My Child?

NAGC TIP Sheet: Acceleration (pdf)

LesLinks: Acceleration (LiveBinders)

Cybraryman’s Acceleration Page

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Myth Buster – Myth 6

Sprite’s Site: Belonging – A Place of Sanctuary

Acceleration Institute

Hoagies: Academic Acceleration

Duke TIP: Academic Acceleration and Ability Grouping Work

Davidson Young Scholars – How We Can Help

College Versus Kindergarten and Radical Acceleration

Image courtesy of Flickr   CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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