Blog Archives

Starting a Gifted Parents’ Group

gtchat 02092016 Parent Support Groups

Forming a gifted parents group is one of the first steps in forming a community within a school district; one of support as well as advocacy. The needs of the students in the community will determine the type of group formed. Parent groups are a great way of networking and sharing information about the local school environment for gifted. They can lend support to other parents  or even teachers who may need help in finding resources. Parenting gifted children can be a lonely and challenging experience without this type of support.

Parent groups who choose to act as a support for parents can provide resources such as speakers, book studies, and educational resources. They may decide to offer enrichment for students outside of school such as sponsoring academic competitions or activities like Super Saturdays, family weekend retreats, or clubs for chess or robotics. Advocacy groups are needed when a school does not provide adequate services for gifted students; if any at all.

There are organizations who seek to support parents in various ways. Many state gifted organizations have local affiliates for parents. The NAGC (U.S.) provides online resources in the form of information on starting parent groups. SENG is perhaps best well known for supporting parents with their SENG Model Parent Groups. Links to these organizations have been provided below.

How can parents find other parents who might be interested in joining a group? Your child can be a great resource; they will know who is in the gifted program at school. Many school districts will send home flyers (provided by parents) or mass emails to parents of their gifted students. As a reminder, Psychologist Dr. Gail Post of Gifted Challenges pointed out, “Either type of group needs to have goals – otherwise [they] can turn into social group. Goals also help with group dynamics and reduce potential for conflict.” Social media is another way to meet parents and even form online groups.

In order to be recognized as a formal group by the local school district, parents need to know who and how to approach school officials. School administrators should be contacted first; then, gifted coordinators, principals, and special education directors depending on how gifted education is organized in the district or state. Having the support of an organization such as SENG can validate the existence of parent groups in some schools. It was also mentioned that PTA groups on occasion will form committees to serve the gifted population within a school. As with any communications between parents and schools, the conversation needs to be respectful and helpful to both parties. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

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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:

Starting and Sustaining a Parent Group to Support Gifted Children (pdf)

SENG Model Parent Groups 

SENG Online Parent Support Groups

Gifted Parent Groups: The SENG Model (book)

The Care and Feeding of Gifted Parent Groups (pdf)

Parent Support Groups at Vanderbilt

Starting a Gifted Parent Group

How Parents Can Support Gifted Children

The Nuts and Bolts of Forming a Parent Group

How Parent Advocacy Groups Can Make a Difference

AUS: Gifted Families Support Group Inc.

The Oxygen Mask: Gifted and 2e Parenting

Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education: Parent Support Groups

TAGT Family Nights

Katy Parents of Gifted & Talented Students Wins Award

AUS: Support Groups Victoria

What Makes a Parent Group Successful?

MAGC: Starting & Sustaining a Parent Advocacy Group

Advocating for Exceptionally Gifted Young People (pdf)

Supporting Gifted Education through Advocacy

Cybraryman’s Gifted Parenting Resources

“Lazy” is a Four Letter Word. Don’t Use It in Front of Children

The Tres Columnae Project

 

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad. Image courtesy of MorgueFile.

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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

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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

Finding a Good Fit: Evaluating Gifted Programs

gtchat 12042015 TAGT 2015

This week marked our 4th Live chat from the Annual Conference of the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented. As with many live chats, most of our regular participants were not available at the time of the chat. However, we were thrilled to have many new faces at the chat and we hope that the first timers will be back in future weeks.

First, we considered some attributes that define high quality gifted programming. They should include differentiated instruction delivered at an appropriate depth and  breadth; curriculum that involves abstract, complex, higher levels of thinking; and programs that identify twice-exceptional, culturally different, and underachieving gifted students.

What steps should be taken by school personnel when evaluating & implementing a gifted program? School personnel need to prepare for evaluation, design data collection and analysis, conduct evaluation, and follow-up. Steps should be taken to involve all stakeholders: students, parents, educators, admins, school boards, and community. Evaluations should identify outcomes, create a written plan and establish a timeline.

It’s important to match student strengths with appropriate gifted programming. Student’s abilities must be assessed including present levels of performance. Effective identification procedures will ensure a student is challenged but not overwhelmed. Also, a gifted student’s progress needs to be assessed appropriately. Out-of-level testing is essential; grade level achievement tests are inappropriate. Identification should be continuous beginning in kindergarten. Classroom teachers should assess transference of skills and knowledge from gifted programs to regular classroom.

What questions should parents ask when considering a gifted program for their child? Initially, they need to ask if the school has a systematic procedure for gifted identification in place. Also, does the gifted program offer a continuum of educational services based on assessed abilities. Ideally, they could ask if counseling related to giftedness is provided for students and parents. A transcript of the chat can be found at Storify.

During the conference, we also announced our intention to change the time slot for #gtchat. Although there will never be a perfect time for everyone, Friday night is a difficult time for a multitude of reasons. Look for a link to a poll from @gtchatmod on Twitter in the near future.

 

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 13.00 NZDT/11.00 AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. 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:

Designing Services and Programs for High-Ability Learners (pdf)

Designing and Utilizing Evaluation for Gifted Program Improvement (Amazon)

Gifted Education Program Standards: Planning/Implementing High-Quality Services (pdf)

Aiming for Excellence: Gifted Program Standards Tiers of Competency (pdf)

Institute on Gifted Program Evaluation Evaluating Effectiveness & Services for Gifted Children (pdf)

NAGC: National Standards in Gifted and Talented Education

Gifted and Talented Program Evaluation Template for Large Districts (pdf)

What to Look for in a Good Gifted Program

Advanced Academics and Gifted and Talented Program Evaluation (pdf)

TAGT: Program Evaluation

Gifted Education Practices

The Best Practices Manual for Gifted and Talented Programs in Idaho (pdf)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

2014 – 2015 State of the States in Gifted Education

gtchat 11112015 NAGC State of States

In collaboration with the National Association for Gifted Children, Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented debuted the new 2014 – 2015 State of the States (SOS) of Gifted Education report found here (pdf); an extensive review of gifted education policy in the U.S. Our guest was René Islas, Executive Director of the NAGC. We were also pleased to have Dr. George Betts, president of the NAGC, and many of the Board of Directors join us as well.

In a press release, the NAGC characterized the findings of the SOS report as, “Despite some modest gains in how states serve high-ability students and fund such programs, a new report shows that a lack of transparency and consistency in laws, policies, and funding to support these students with extraordinary gifts and talents continue to vary sharply among the states.” Furthermore, “28 states lack even a single gifted education performance indicator on their annual report cards or other accountability measure. 19 states fail to monitor local district programs in this area, 16 do not require districts to submit reports and only 11 produce an annual report on the performance of these students.” Perhaps the most stunning fact to be revealed by the report was, “Only 1 state (Nevada) statutorily requires all teachers to receive training in gifted and talented education through a separate course before beginning their classroom service.”

“We need to change this reality by requiring states and districts to report on the key indicators of our high-achieving students, just as we have long required similar reporting for those students on the lower end of the achievement spectrum,” said Dr. George Betts, President of the NAGC Board. 

The need for such a report is obvious to those in the gifted community. As Michelle Swain, School Administrator in Texas and NAGC Board Member, pointed out, “We can replicate best practices when we see them successfully implemented in other states. Why reinvent the wheel?” Dr. Brian Housand, Associate Professor and NAGC Board Member, positioned the report as a means for collaboration, “Gifted educators should not live in silos. We have to find ways to collaborate across states and around the world.”

The State of the States report includes data on policies, funding, practice, and participation in gifted programs. It also gives details on state policies that can be used to check school district’s practices which affect gifted students including teacher training requirements, funding, and accountability. This valuable information can make all the difference when advocating for gifted students. For this reason as Dr. Joy Davis, Associate Professor and NAGC Board Member, said, “Wide distribution of the report is imperative.” Dr. Jonathan Plucker, Professor and NAGC Board Member, added, “We need to identify ways to help advocates in each state as they work to expand and improve services.”

gtchat State of States graphic

Tracy Weinberg of TAGT pointed out, “TAGT has made progress in Texas, reinstating some accountability for gifted services that is reported publicly. [However, it is] important to note that while services are mandated, there are over 1000 school districts in Texas, so services can vary widely.”

Although progress has been slow, many expressed the belief that gifted education is headed in the right direction and initiatives such as the State of the States report from the NAGC are helping to drive the change. Rene Islas shared, “One very positive change is that the state of Washington has adopted a mandate to identify and serve gifted students.” Dr. Brian Housand summed it up, “There’s no shortage of work to be done in gifted education. We must stay committed to serving gifted kids 24/7; get and stay involved.” A transcript of the chat may be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 13.00 NZDT/11.00 AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. 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:

Turning A Blind Eye: Neglecting Needs of GT – Limited Accountability/Oversight/Reporting (pdf)

The Nation’s Report Card: NAEP Results

Gifted by State

State Affiliate Resource Center

Using Research to Inform Advocacy Efforts (pdf)

Schools for Advanced Students at Universities and Gifted Centers (pdf)

University and Center Services for Parents and Families of Advanced K-12 Students (pdf)

Programs for Advanced K-12 Students at Universities and Centers (pdf)

The Nation’s Report Card

Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad and the NAGC.

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