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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad. Image courtesy of MorgueFile.