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FAQs about Gifted Education

In education, giftedness is defined as high achievement capability. It may involve academics, the arts, creativity, and leadership. Schools, however, are not bound by this definition. It’s important to know how a school defines ‘gifted’ as it is generally the basis for services and accommodations. It’s also important to note that twice-exceptional students may also be covered by 504 Plans. The U.S. Department of Ed recently announced they intend to amend 504s the first time in 45 years.

It’s important to know and dispel myths about gifted children. The perception of what ‘gifted’ means is generally at the root of many myths. They have had a detrimental effect not only on kids but the entire field of gifted education. The most prevalent myth is ‘all children are gifted’. In education, it’s used to deny services to students. In society, it implies children identified as gifted and their parents think they are better ‘than’ their peers rather than better ‘at’ certain things. Myths also include: gifted students will be fine on their own, underachievers can’t be gifted, AP classes = gifted education, acceleration is harmful to students, or gifted education is expensive and thus unaffordable for many schools.

Parents and early elementary teachers are the first to see signs of giftedness. It’s important to decide who will administer testing, at what age to conduct testing, the cost of testing, and how the results will be used. Many schools use universal testing (considered best practice), but not until the 2nd or 3rd grade. There are, however, instances where individual students should be tested earlier to begin accommodations and interventions sooner. The decision to test has greatest implications for how to meet the needs of a child in a school setting. The availability of services should be taken into consideration. Testing helps parents decide on the best educational options for their child.

What does the term ‘twice-exceptional’ mean? The term ‘twice-exceptional’ refers to students who are both identified as gifted and have learning challenges. They are often unidentified due to their challenges masking their abilities and or disbelief they even exist. Controversy surrounding the term can lead to schools not providing adequate services for these students. Recognizing twice-exceptionality is important because addressing student strengths first can be highly beneficial for the student both academically and socially.

What factors signify high-quality gifted programming? High-quality gifted programming is essential in meeting the needs of gifted students. It does not have to be expensive. It does need to be well-planned, continually evaluated, and employ highly qualified teachers. The NAGC provides schools with Pre-K to 12 Gifted Programming Standards. This is an excellent starting point. Many states also require ongoing professional development and specific gifted certification. Parents should be knowledgeable about their child’s school’s gifted program and be prepared to advocate when necessary. It may be necessary to consider alternatives such as homeschooling, cyber, microschools, or a private school.

What does advocacy look like in gifted education? Advocacy in gifted education often starts early and can become intense. It requires knowing state regulations and local school policies. It may involve using professional or legal advocates. Unlike other areas of education advocacy, the students themselves are often encouraged to become self-advocates as they enter their high school years. Learning self-advocacy can enhance leadership as well as social-emotional skills.

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 Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1AM 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 Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

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:

Gifted Education: FAQs | US Dept. of Defense Education Activity

How Does a Child Get Into a Gifted Program? | Davidson Academy

How to Get Your Child Tested for Giftedness | Davidson Gifted

Identification and Assessment of Giftedness Frequently Asked Questions (pdf) | Atlanta Public Schools

Gifted Testing and Assessment | Davidson Gifted

Twice Exceptionality: A Resource Guide for Parents (pdf) | Davidson Gifted

Twice-Exceptional Kids: Both Gifted and Challenged | Child Mind Institute

TX: Twice Exceptional Learners (2E) | TEA

Gifted and Talented Frequently Asked Questions | New Jersey Student Learning Standards Instructional Supports

The Parent Guide to Gifted & Talented Services (pdf) | St. Vrain Valley School District (CO)

Frequently Asked Questions | Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented

Gifted by State: State of the States in Gifted Education | NAGC

Pre-K to Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards | NAGC

Best Evidence Paper: Debunking Myths about Giftedness and Gifted Education (docx) | Australian Department of Education and Child Development

Three Images To Explain Giftedness To Parents | The Knox School of Santa Barbara

Dispelling the Myths around Gifted Education | NAGC

Let’s Talk Advocacy

UK: Gifted Advocacy | Potential Plus UK

Davidson Institute: What is Giftedness?

NAGC: Frequently Asked Questions about Gifted Education

Image courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Saving Gifted Education: The Importance of Advocacy

This week marked the 10th Anniversary of support from the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented for Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT on Twitter. We are grateful for all of their support over the last 10 years, and look forward to many more.

Gifted education done correctly is integral to equitable opportunities based on individual needs allowing GT students to progress at their own speed and not languish in classes where they know most of material going into the school year. Providing quality gifted programming benefits the local community’s economy by providing an educated workforce and enhancing neighborhood schools with high quality education. As Dr. James Delisle so aptly explains, “gifted kids have the same needs for understanding, love, equity, and advocacy as any other child with a learning difference.” (TEMPO, September 2020)

How has the Pandemic affected gifted advocacy? Despite early predictions, a NC study found a negative impact of COVID-19 on gifted students too; especially for in 6th, 7th & 8 grade reading, & 8th grade math. It’s a mistake to think advocacy isn’t still needed. Even prior to Covid, GT students were often the least likely to make AYP. Lack of access to gifted programs and association with intellectual peers has inevitably taken a toll on these students. Advocacy efforts have been hampered by lack of access to decision makers, re-allotment of funding away from gifted programs, and fewer opportunities for advocates to meet in person.

Who advocates for the twice-exceptional child? The question is not only who advocates for 2E kids, but also who ‘should’ be advocating for these kids. Twice-exceptional students have both academic and talent potential while also experiencing learning differences and challenges. Parents are usually the first to advocate for their 2E child, but astute classroom teachers also have the opportunity to recognize their abilities and needs. Advocates for gifted education have long known about #2E kids and the need to seek interventions addressing their strengths first and foremost. Participation in gifted programs can be supplemented by special education support teachers.

There are several factors affecting gifted advocacy due to a school district’s lack of economic resources or its affluence and whether it is located in an urban or rural area. Schools in high poverty and rural areas often lack necessary funding. Schools in affluent areas often see a relatively greater divide in opportunity for GT students between public and private school options. Urban school districts seem in a constant struggle to equitably identify students for gifted programs. An unfortunate reality is the existence of bias among decision makers regarding who can and cannot be considered for gifted programs. Reducing opportunity widens economic disparity and promotes myths about talent and ability.

What should be done when districts simply eliminate gifted programs? Gifted programming is often the first to be cut when school districts seek to trim budgets. Smart tactics to counter the cuts should first promote options which involve little to no cost. This involves raising awareness of the need for gifted education. Advocates need to organize and seek buy-in from parents and educators of GT students. The local community should be educated through public forums on the benefits of a strong gifted program. Advocacy should be based on data and well research-based information regarding the needs of GT students at the local level which can be shared with all stakeholders.

How can parents best make their voices heard? Parents often don’t realize just how important their voices are in education. Involvement such as attending school board meetings, educating themselves about state laws governing gifted education, and persistence are key. They can start an advocacy group with the help of their state gifted organization and demand greater transparency from their local schools regarding gifted education programs.

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 1PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/1AM 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 Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

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:

Eliminating Gifted Programs Won’t Make Education Fair

Every American School has Talented Students. It’s Time to Start Acting like We Believe That.

NYC: Parents in Top District Forced Into Admissions Roller-Coaster

WI: Altoona Student Speaks at State Capitol in Support of Gifted and Talented Programs Bill

NJ: Changes to Montclair’s Gifted and Talented Program Air for Equity

Reimagining Gifted Education and Special Education | Psychology Today

The Impact of ‘lost instructional time’ on Students during COVID-19

New Study of NC Test Scores Shows more Remote Learning Translated to Bigger Academic Loss

House Bill would Establish Gifted Programs in Missouri Schools that Lack Them

NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks Outlines Fixes for ‘broken’ Education Department

‘We’ve Broken the Trust:’ NYC Chancellor Drops Bombshell on Public School Exodus, Shares Vision

Advocate for Gifted Children | NAGC

Establish a Parent Support Group | TAGT

Parent Support Group: Quick Start Guide (pdf) | TAGT

#whyGT: Read Their Stories | TAGT

Gifted Education Advocacy, Networking, & Professional Development … 21st Century Style (pdf)

Stop Eliminating Gifted Programs and Calling It ‘Equity’ | Teach for America

Advocating for your Gifted Child: Advice from NAGC President Jonathan Plucker

Gifted Advocacy is an Education

Resources to Help with Advocating for Your Gifted Learner

Neurodiversity Podcast: A Guide to Self-Advocacy (YouTube 31:59)

It’s Time to Speak Up for Gifted Education: How to Advocate for our Kids (YouTube 7:46)

Gifted Support Group: Education Rights Advocacy for 2E Students (YouTube 25:31) | IEA

Resources for Twice-Exceptionality | PAGE

Potential Plus UK: Gifted Advocacy

Empowering Underrepresented Gifted Students (book)

Gifted and Talented Programs: What Parents Should Know

Les Links – Gifted Advocacy (Live Binder)

Gifted Advocacy | Hoagies Gifted

The War on Gifted Education https://bit.ly/3iKp25a

Achieving Equity in Gifted Programming: Dismantling Barriers and Tapping Potential 1st Edition (book)

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

Power in Numbers: How Gifted Advocacy Parent Groups can Help You and Your Kids

Image courtesy of Pixabay   Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Gifted Education Program Options

Often overlooked, teacher training can affect the availability and quality of gifted program options. Lack of knowledge about special populations in the classroom often leads to lack of understanding of their needs. When teachers and administrators become aware of their gifted and 2e students, they often are their greatest advocates. Teacher training in gifted education needs to begin at the undergraduate level and continue throughout their careers. State mandated PD can go a long way in making this a reality. This can lead to the availability of high quality programs. Extending PD to all faculty and staff can increase the number of options available as well as educate the wider community of the benefits of meeting the needs of GT and 2E students. This can result in increased funding and opportunities.

COVID-19 and the Pandemic had a profound effect on gifted education – both positive and negative. Already existing anti-intellectualism gained ground as education in general was affected by uneven school closures & political influences. Far too often, the Pandemic was used as an excuse to shut down gifted programs in schools where districts had a negative view of providing it at all. However, when parents and supportive educators pushed back, it was a different scenario. Positive implications include the availability of tech, increased distance learning opportunities and a vision of what is possible. Also, greater awareness of educational needs of GT and 2E by parents and caregivers thrusted into homeschooling.

What are the best delivery options available in gifted education? Delivery options have evolved over the past several decades. Pull-out elementary programs are still the most common. Self-contained gifted classrooms offer exceptional opportunities for GT students to learn with intellectual peers. Out of school options include after-school programs, academic competitions, weekend programs, summer classes, and distance learning. Delivery options differ at the secondary level and involve accelerated options such as dual enrollment, early out options, magnet schools, AP/IB, and credit by examination. Alternatives to public education include private schools, micro schools, and homeschooling. Each family needs to determine which is best for their student and family finances.

What curriculum and instructional modifications best benefit gifted students? Curriculum and instruction involve content, process, product & learning environment. The NAGC’s Pre-K to 12 Programming Standards provide a comprehensive outline of evidence-based options. Differentiation is a widely used option when servicing GT students in the regular classroom. Curriculum compacting and tiered assignments have historically also been used. More recent options include Genius Hour, design thinking, VR and experiential learning opportunities.

Online learning is a program option which can be used in gifted education. It can be used in a variety of ways for GT students including in-class enrichment, extensions to outside opportunities (mentoring, linking to experts) or for distance learning (rural ed, dual enrollment). Issues which need to be addressed in online learning for gifted students include student accountability, etiquette, collaboration, and communicating with parents (Phelps, 2020).

Homeschooling has long been a viable option for students whose needs aren’t being at their local school due to lack of programs or for #2ekids or PG students whose needs may be better met in a home setting. It requires dedication, financial resources, provision of appropriate educational resources and learning environment, and someone to teach (parent/caregiver/other).

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 1PM NZDT/11 AM AEDT/1AM 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 Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

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:

Twelve Cost Effective Educational Options for Serving Gifted Students | Davidson Gifted

Gifted Services | Hempfield School District (PA)

Gifted Education: School Work Make-Up Guidelines | North Allegheny School District (PA)

K-12 Gifted Education Handbook 2021-2022 (pdf) | Bexley City Schools (OH)

Gifted Education 5 Year Comprehensive Program Plan (CPP) (pdf) | Colorado Department of Education

What Makes for a “Gifted” Education? Exploring How Participation in Gifted Programs Affects Students’ Learning Environments (pdf) | National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research

Six Ways Schools can Serve Gifted Students after the Pandemic

Applying the Pre-K-Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards: Guiding Questions (pdf) | NAGC

Five Ways to Support Gifted Students in Your Classroom

Best Practices in Gifted Programming (pdf) | Arlington VA Public Schools

Standard 5: Ensuring Student Outcomes for Programming with Evidence-based Practices | NAGC

Introduction to Gifted Education (book)

Gifted Education and Support Options | Davidson Gifted

Educational Options for Gifted Learners | Davidson Gifted

Considering Homeschooling: A Guidebook for Investigating an Alternative Path to Education (pdf) | Davidson Gifted

Basic Educational Options for Gifted Students in Schools (pdf) | Center for Gifted Education College of William and Mary

Accelerated Programs and Gifted Education

4 Ways You Can Encourage Your Gifted Child’s Progress Outside of School

Successful Online Learning with Gifted Students: Designing Online and Blended Lessons for Gifted and Advanced Learners in Grades 5–8

Image courtesy of Pixabay   Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Supporting Gifted ELLs in the Latinx Community

This week, we welcomed Dr. Michelle Pacheco DuBois and Dr. Robin Greene. They are the authors of the book Supporting Gifted ELLs in the Latinx Community Practical Strategies, K-12. (Use code ‘loyal’ at Routledge for a 20% discount). Dr. DuBois  is the Gifted and Talented Coordinator for the Boulder Valley School District, Colorado, USA. She holds a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Gifted Education. Dr. Greene is the Director of Gifted and Talented Education for Denver Public Schools, Colorado, USA. She holds a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in gifted education.

English language learners are not native speakers and have limited ability speaking, writing, and reading English. They live in families or communities where English is not the primary language used. English language learners are at-risk of being underachievers, dropping out of school, and experiencing anxiety and frustration in social situations.

What does an inclusive culturally responsive gifted environment involve? It involves appropriate identification tools and methods as well as fair assessments which consider the student’s culture. Retention of Latinx gifted students requires blending a culturally responsive and linguistically diverse environment with gifted education strategies involving language, culture, and giftedness. Culturally responsive gifted education involves broadening professional learning to encompass a wider cultural lens, and policies and practices that respect a student’s culture.

A major criticism of gifted education today centers on a lack of diversity. Changes to identification tools and processes can go a long way in improving this situation. Misperceptions surround linguistic ability and language proficiency, and their bearing on a student being identified as academically talented. Limited English proficiency should never be used as a reason to prevent a student being identified for a gifted program. The program should be tailored to the student, not the other way around.

Best practices in culturally responsive assessments include multiple assessment options, availability of performance assessments, and provision for academic or talent portfolios. Further best practices in assessment include universal screening, use of local norms, and ongoing assessments throughout the school year. Best practices in culturally responsive programming include ensuring Latinx students see themselves in the curriculum, have access to advanced linguistic supports, and are provided authentic learning experiences which reflect their culture.

Best practices in PD for GT educators serving Latinx ELLs include having a district strategic plan which is culturally responsive. Professional learning for educators of Latinx students should involve learning about the various cultures within the school community. Educators of gifted ELLs should have access to PD in gifted education to better support their students.

Relationships between teachers and parents of gifted ELLS should be firmly rooted in partnerships that promote gifted education and find ways to involve families in the school community. Communication between parents and teachers should be multi-faceted, ongoing, and should look for ways to incorporate strengths of Latinx families in the classroom.

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/1AM 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 Meta Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community.

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:

Supporting Gifted ELLs in the Latinx Community: Practical Strategies, K-12 1st Edition (book)

Gifted Culturally Linguistically Diverse Learners: A School-Based Exploration (thesis – pdf) | Robin M. Greene, University of Denver

The Underrepresentation of Latin@ Students in Gifted Programs: Teachers’ Perceptions of Giftedness & Its Effects in the Nomination of Potentially Gifted Latin@ Students (thesis – pdf) | University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

“Why are the Gifted Classes So White?” Making Space for Gifted Latino Students | Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership

‘Where Are All the Latino Males in Gifted Programs?’ (chapter) in Gifted Children of Color Around the World: Diverse Needs, Exemplary Practices, and Directions for the Future

‘Si Se Puede/Yes We Can: Ramping up Efforts for Collaborating with Hispanic Parents & Families’ in Gifted Children of Color Around the World: Diverse Needs, Exemplary Practices & Directions for the Future (book)

Access and Equity Denied: Key Theories for School Psychologists to Consider When Assessing Black and Hispanic Students for Gifted Education | National Association of School Psychologists

‘We Don’t Have Any Talented Students’: Confronting English Language Learners’ Drastic Under-Representation in Elementary Gifted & Talented

Optimal Gifted and Talented Student Identification: Maximizing Efficacy, Efficiency, and Equity (pdf)

Using local norms in GT identification | The Citizens Advisory Committee for Gifted and Talented Education in Baltimore County, Maryland

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

Using Local Norms: A Strategy to Reduce Excellence Gaps (pdf) | WKU

Supporting Special Populations in Gifted Education

¿Dónde Están? Exploring the Identification Process for Gifted English Language Learners (pdf)

The Underrepresentation of CLD Students in Gifted and Talented Programs: Implications for Law and Practice (pdf) | University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender & Class

Exploratory Study on the Identification of English Learners for Gifted and Talented Programs (pdf) | National Center for Research on Gifted Education

Identifying and Assessing Gifted and Talented Bilingual Hispanic Students (pdf)

Job-Embedded Professional Development for Teachers of English Learners: Preventing Literacy Difficulties Through Effective Core Instruction (pdf) | Teacher Education and Special Education

Understanding Opportunities to Learn for Latino Students in Washington (pdf)

Conversations with CAGT — Dr. Michelle DuBois and Dr. Robin Greene (YouTube 1:02:23)

National Hispanic Heritage and Gifted Education | NAGC

ELLs in Gifted/Talented Programs

Cybraryman’s ELL Page

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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