Blog Archives

Acceleration: Its Time Has Come

In ‘A Nation Empowered’, there are 20 different types of academic acceleration identified. Most have been available for decades, but may prove beneficial today more than ever. Implementing acceleration now is good policy. Academic acceleration encompasses early in and out approaches to education; grade or subject skipping; mastery-based learning; independent study (self-paced education); and dual enrollment. Additional types of academic acceleration include multi-age classes; curriculum compacting; telescoping curriculum; and credit by exam.

In a field that places so much importance on research-based evidence, it is difficult to understand the skepticism that surrounds academic acceleration. Isolated instances of poorly planned acceleration too often make the headlines … in sharp contrast to the enormous amount evidence to the contrary. In fact, not accelerating a student whose situation indicates a need and willingness to do so has more negative repercussions than any perceived issues with acceleration. These students face disengagement due to boredom and higher drop-out rates.

When schools begin to re-open, budgets are going to be stretched to the brink. We’ve already begun to see gifted education programs being slashed from school budgets. These students’ needs aren’t going anywhere. The effects of being out of school for so many months have been devastating for a majority of students. The perceived need for extensive remediation will exacerbate the GT students’ need for greater depth and complexity. At all grade levels, K-College, it makes sense to allow students to progress through the system at their own speed with any means at their disposal … early entrance & graduation, distance learning, self-pacing, etc.

Best practices in academic acceleration starts with planning, planning, planning … what’s available, student buy-in, a strong commitment to the end-game, & the need to address the consequences of not making it available. Questions to ask before beginning acceleration – does the school have an adequate K12 infrastructure in place to support acceleration, how will acceleration benefit the student, & is there an exit-strategy if it isn’t working. Best practices include choosing appropriate assessments, a written acceleration plan with decisive objectives/goals, addressing academic gaps, and periodic follow-up.

Parents are often the first to assess their child’s potential. To facilitate the process of requesting consideration for acceleration, it is imperative that parents document early abilities, task and work completion, and outside test results. The first point of contact with the school should be the classroom teacher. Parents can request test data or appropriate testing, what resources are available, and to have the formation of a formal assessment team. Parents should document all communication with the school, take notes at all meetings, and be prepared to advocate with research-based evidence for all necessary services for their child.

Gifted education has long been cited for glaring inequities in how students are placed in gifted programs. In light of issues highlighted by the sudden onset of the coronavirus, it would seem a good time to reevaluate the process. Likewise, there has never been a problem with accelerating exceptional talent when it comes to sports. Perhaps it’s time to take a page out of the athletic playbook? Recent state programs that automatically enroll qualified students in advanced coursework have met with high levels of success and are far more reflective of the racial and socioeconomic makeup of their schools.

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:

Why is Academic Acceleration (Still) So Controversial?

Early to the Starting Line: Acceleration Begins at Kindergarten (Podcast 31:27)

Academic Acceleration (YouTube 5:35)

College at 13: Young, Gifted, and Purposeful (book)

Acceleration: Topical Research Series #1

Academic Acceleration for Advanced Learners

Academic Acceleration Can Help Students Whose Needs Are Not Being Met (pdf)

NAGC: Parent TIP Sheet – Acceleration (pdf 2017)

Essential Elements: Acceleration & Differentiation for Gifted K-12 Students with Dr. Broderick (YouTube 20:28)

Belin Blank: Gifted Education 101: The Basics

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

Belin Blank Chautauqua Classes Summer 2020 via ZOOM

Belin Blank FLOW Webinars

Guidebooks for Parents and Educators

Why am I an Advocate for Academic Acceleration?

20 Types of Acceleration

Advocating for Acceleration: Suggestions for Parents

Acceleration for Gifted Students

How to Advocate for Acceleration at Your School

Must Run in the Family: PEG Program Gets Its First Legacy Student

Academic Acceleration: Is It Right for My Child?

AUS: Acceleration of Gifted Students Procedure

Laddering Up: Academic Acceleration

Learning Acceleration Guide Planning for Acceleration in the 2020- 2021 School Year (pdf)

Social-emotional Characteristics of Gifted Accelerated and Non-accelerated Students in the Netherlands

BISD: Advanced Academics Acceleration

Pros and Cons of Skipping a Grade

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

NAGC PHP: Advocating for Grade-Based Acceleration (pdf)

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

A Summer of Opportunities

 

With so much upheaval in our world, we that it might be a good time to chat about all the opportunities available this summer.  How can we make the upcoming months teachable moments – critical thinking about the spread of the virus, empathy, grace towards others? Every single person involved in education has experienced some level of trauma. Consideration of others will be of the upmost important when schools resume. Simply because schools reopen should not imply that the risks from the spread of coronavirus have been eliminated. Class instruction and discussion should take this into account.

A lot has been said about re-imagining education. This may be the time to advocate for best practices in gifted education – such as, acceleration and mastery-based learning. Many schools are now planning to resume in person classes this summer as well as online options for students who prefer to wait. Most experts seem to agree that outdoor summer activities such as day camps are viable options for students.

If we have learned nothing else, it is that schools are so much more than simply an institution for delivering instruction. For many students, it is a place of shelter, a source of nourishment, and where children develop social skills. Schools must work to provide students with a clean, anti-viral atmosphere where they feel safe to return to.  The summer months will be a time for significant planning to ensure that teachers & staff are prepared to meet the trauma-induced needs of returning students.

How can educators use their summer break to personally prepare for a return to school? After so much time out of the classroom, the summer break can be a time to prepare for the unforeseen. Although schools may resume in coming months, classes could be suspended just as quickly as they did in the spring. This summer, most professional development opportunities are being offered online. This eliminates costly travel and related expenses making it a great option for expanded learning.

How can parents best use (non-academic) the summer months while respecting the presence of #COVID19? Most parents have had to suddenly become surrogate teachers over the past few months and summer may be a time to get reacquainted with summertime parenting. With so many under quarantine for many months, the upcoming summer months should include time outside and time for play while certainly respecting the presence of the coronavirus.

With so many impending changes to how we educate our children, this summer needs to involve some form of professional development with specific consideration of safety procedures for both students and teachers. This summer, all of us should be open to the possibility of significant changes and how we’ll adapt when schools eventually reopen.

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/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:

TX: Pasadena ISD Summer School Expected to be Busy Because Of Pandemic

TX: Pasadena ISD Summer Information for ECHS (Early College High School) Class of 2024

NAGC: At-Home Summer Fun for Creative Kids & Families for June 2020 (pdf)

NAGC: Beyond School Walls: What Parents Can Do to Widen the Horizons of Their Gifted Learners (pdf)

NAGC: Getting Gifted Kids Outdoors – Tips for a Summer of Play (pdf)

NAGC: Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy (pdf)

Summer Institute for the Gifted 2020

NuMinds Enrichment: Camp Pursuit 2020

Michigan State University Gifted and Talented Education Summer Programs 2020 – Live Online (Apply by 6/15)

Northwestern University: Center for Talent Development Online Summer Programs 2020

Columbia University Teachers College: Summer Certification

Texas Wildlife Association Youth On-Demand Webinars

NASA STEM Engagement & Educator Professional Development Collaborative (Digital Badging)

Rodriguez Resources GT (Google Docs)

Summer Writing Residency Online

Depth and Complexity RULES Webinar Series

National Inventors Hall of Fame Summer Programs 2020

Turning Challenges into Opportunities with Open Educational Resources

MENSA: At-home Learning Resources for Kids

PAGE: Gifted and Talented Resources

MO: Springfield Public Schools Announces In-Person Classes for July’s Session of Explore

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

GT Education Post COVID19

 

Teachers are reporting both in the US and Australia that shy, hyperactive, and highly creative kids are thriving out of the classroom. These were kids they were concerned about while school was still in session. GT students are expressing relief at being at home in an environment where they can self-pace, be able to independently structure their day, have fewer distractions, and have time to work on passion projects. Older GT students feel less pressure due to less standardized testing, fewer extracurricular activities required to bolster college admissions, and freedom from social peer pressures.

What unique challenges have existed for our twice-exceptional students during quarantine? Our 2E kids often have additional needs for one-on-one support which may not be possible in the home setting. Without a more formal schedule for task completion, some struggle with getting school work done. Many twice-exceptional students have multiple services in school such as OT, PT, Speech and SEL counseling. Most parents cannot provide all these supports at home.

Inequities in education that existed before the pandemic are being highlighted now such as the digital divide: access to technology and Internet access. GT students in low income areas are experiencing food insecurity, have parents & family members who must work outside the home & aren’t available to monitor school work, or lack access to mentoring/enrichment activities. Education is highly influenced by negative factors – test anxiety, bullying, income disparity, inflexible rules, passive learning vs. engaged learning, and failure to take into account student voice.

What positive effects of e-learning can we use to inform the future of education? One of the most profound effects e-learning has revealed is the antiquated approach to educating students. Time in seat does not equal learning. Much of a student’s time in school is wasted time. The future of education must realize that test scores on standardized tests does not indicate what a student has ‘learned’. It indicates how well a student tests. Unstructured time can be used for creative expression, contemplating possibilities, pursuit of passions, collaborative projects, and the potential for much needed rest.

As budgets tighten for school districts, how can they avoid eliminating gifted education? Gifted education never needed to be expensive; it needed to overcome false narratives created as excuses for not providing an appropriate education for GT students. Gifted education advocates need to do more than raise their voices; they need to offer solutions to providing equitable education to all students rather than as an alternative program, but also one which meets GT students’ needs. School districts and administrators must acknowledge the existence of GT and Twice-exceptional students who have educational and social-emotional needs. FAPE applies to ALL students.

Quarantine/Time-at-Home during this global crisis has been revelatory and should be seen as an opportunity to transform educational practices; especially regarding gifted education. Advocates for gifted education have been advocating competency-based learning, acceleration, and personalized learning. We must reimagine  education based on a student’s needs and creative abilities rather than a return to the status quo based on a system organized for the benefit of adults.

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:

AUS: The Students Who are in the Zone Studying at Home

Why Are Some Kids Thriving During Remote Learning?

Gifted Development Center: My Future…What Now? Teens talk about moving forward in our challenging times with Dr. Jim Delisle (YouTube 1:04)

Meeting the Needs of Gifted Learners at a Distance – A Focus on Grades 4-8

Cultivating Calm Amidst a Storm

Parenting for High Potential: Management of Anxiety Begins at Home (pdf)

Coping With the Stress of COVID-19: Tips for Families with Gifted Children (YouTube 9:13)

Resources for Providing Young Children Academic Support During the Quarantine

COVID-19 and Anxiety in Gifted Children

IAGC: 3 Top Strategies for Helping Your Child Cope with Anxiety during Challenging Times (YouTube 20:09)

What if We… Don’t Return to School as Usual (Medium)

The Invisible Blizzard and the Importance of E-learning

Unpacking Adult Mindsets (pdf 2002)

Mind Matters Podcast: Preparing for Post Pandemic Recovery (Audio 36:16)

Transitioning Gifted Education Online: A World of Possibilities

NAGC: Supporting Advanced Learners: New Roles for Parent Advocates during Times of Remote Learning

Fort Bend ISD: Covid-19 Gifted and Talented Resources

Special Solocast: Thoughts on Parenting Differently Wired Kids through a Pandemic (Audio 14:15)

Short Story Exploration (pdf)

6 Ways to Transition IEP Goals to Remote Learning

Parent Involvement Has Always Mattered. Will The COVID-19 Pandemic Finally Make This The New Normal In K-12 Education?

Distance Learning During The Coronavirus Pandemic: Equity And Access Questions For School Leaders

Image courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

The Future of Education after the Pandemic

 

This week at #gtchat, we were joined by guests, Jessica Torres and Andi McNair to discuss the future of education after COVID19. No one knows exactly when schools will reopen, but most are working on plans to do so safely and as soon as possible.

Public health including physical and mental health issues will need to be addressed if school reopenings are to be successful. Parents, students, teachers & staff need to feel school environments are safe to reenter. Consideration of health & hygiene measures must include widespread testing, vigilance regarding student and staff health (stay home when sick), wearing masks, frequent hand washing/sanitization, and physical distancing. Mental health considerations must be taken seriously upon reopening. Students and teachers experienced the trauma of sudden closings, lack of closure of previous school year, and some may have faced personal loss due to COVID19.

Returning to school will be traumatic for most students. Apprehension of socializing with friends & teachers, worry about coronavirus, and uncertainty about the future will all play a role in how they adjust to a new normal. School counselors and teachers may have to deal with students returning to school from home environments that were less than ideal. Open and frank conversations will need to take place with students. School activities will necessarily change in the near term and it will be a difficult transition for many students – limited or no sports, band, dances, performances, field trips, recess, PE classes, or being to interact with friends.

Instructional concerns will be tantamount to summer slide on steroids for many students who normally need extra supports, lacked access to tech to continue learning outside school, or who were personally affected by COVID19. All students will need a modicum of grace. It will take time to assess where a student is at academically, the need for remediation or grade acceleration, and to plan for inevitable return to social isolation due to virus resurges. Teachers will need to pre-assess, vertically align standards between grades, compact the curriculum, consider using IEPs for all students, and utilize differentiation. Schools may need to add after school programs for remediation.

We will address specific goals for gifted education next week, but we all need to consider this crisis as an opportunity to rethink the possibilities of improving education rather than just returning to the status quo. In recent years, ideas such as Andi’s genius hour, flipped classrooms, global classroom virtual connections, PBL, and competency-based learning have all been on the front-burners for educators. It is inevitable that blended learning will need to be increasingly used to meet the needs of all learners; especially during the next few years until a resolution is found to disruption of education due to coronavirus.

How can schools work to more powerfully engage their parents in the educational process? Parents are now co-teachers in the era of #COVID19. Communication is more important than ever. Schools need to educate parents on how to educate their children during school outages. Parents should be considered team members. They will need to be assured that their children are safe on school campuses, educational goals are in place for their child to be successful & be made aware of contingency plans for reoccurring school-at-home situations.

What will be the most significant change to K-12 schools in the next year? K-12 schools will need to rely on robust data and learning management systems to improve educational continuity. Secure & reliable video-conferencing systems will be essential. (Getting Smart) Schools will be re-imagined through collaboration with students (student voice), flexibility of hybrid learning, innovation in information sharing, and re-configuring class size as well as classroom logistics.

A transcript of the 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:

A New Normal in Education Instructional Implications after #COVID19 (Webinar 57:45)

Forging a Path Forward How to Design a Responsive Return Plan (pdf)

School Leaders Debate Solutions for an Uncertain 2020-21

American Academy of Pediatrics: COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Return to In-person Education in Schools

AAP Guidance on School Reopening Addresses Physical and Mental Health, Instructional Time

9 Ways Schools Will Look Different When (And If) They Reopen

How to Reopen Schools: A 10-Point Plan Putting Equity at the Center

What Comes Next for Public Schooling

A Few Schools Reopen, But Remote Learning Could Go on for Years in U.S.

AFT Launches Landmark Plan to Safely Reopen America’s Schools and Communities

A Blueprint for Back to School

Searching for the Other Side of the Tunnel: Leading through #COVID-19

Survey: Teachers Favor Moving on to Next Year’s Content in the Fall

It’s Time to Accept that the Point of School Has Changed

Teaching and Learning after COVID-19

What Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic will Shape the Future of Education?

The COVID-19 Pandemic has Changed Education Forever – This is How

Ed Week: COVID-19: Report Offers ‘Blueprint’ for Reopening Schools and Beyond

S.C. Educators Considers Safest Way for Kids to Return to School in Summer, Fall

After The Crisis Half-Time High School May Be Just What Students Need (subscription req’d)

Cybraryman’s The New Normal Pages

There’s Always Next Year: 3 Ideas to Recover Lost Educational Opportunities Post-Coronavirus Epidemic

The Coming Mental-Health Crisis

A Perfect Time to End Our STEM Obsession: 3 Ideas for Teaching Critical Thinking At Home during (And After) The Coronavirus Pandemic

The Case for Critical Thinking: The COVID-19 Pandemic And an Urgent Call To Close The Critical Thinking Gap In Education

Virtual Reality Classrooms (YouTube 1:54)

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Photos courtesy of Jessica Torres and Andi McNair.

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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