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March 2011 Corner

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Your State Affiliate: Communicating with One Voice

Every so often I have the opportunity to write The Teacher’s Corner from Washington DC, where NAGC’s national office is located, and this weekend presented one of those rare moments. NAGC staff call it "Super Weekend" when the Convention Program Committee, the NAGC Board, and leaders from state affiliates all meet as separate bodies over five days. As I sit here to compose my thoughts, more than 40 state association leaders are busy discussing the importance of gifted education programming, planning visits to their elected officials on Capitol Hill, constructing common messages, and conversing about what works in their states.

Over the course of four days, your state leaders heard from a variety of speakers, increased their understanding of the important issues currently on the table, spoke directly with United States Senators and Representatives, and came away from the experience with resources, ideas, direction, and a renewed awareness of what needs to be achieved. This new “toolkit” will then be relayed to their members and supporters, including those of you active in your state groups. Some of these messages will be relayed through newsletters, others by way of website postings and announcements, and still others passed along from discussions with parents and administrators. Regardless of your geographic location I suspect the message, will be very similar. I urge you to visit your state association website for information on a regular basis. If you don’t know how to connect with them, NAGC has a directory

My presentation, "Maximizing Student Achievement: Asking Questions, Starting Conversations," spotlighted recent NAGC resources.  

  • Begin to insert gifted and talented education terminology and ideals into general education conversations. For example, when those involved in education mention terms like Problem-Based Learning, Grouping, Differentiation, 21st Century Skills, and Cooperative Learning, you can add that the field of gifted and talented has collected more than fifty years of research on all of these topics.
  • When discussing the Common Core Standards and the use of RtI, let them know that the new content standards allow for a variety of achievement levels and that RtI, when used correctly, can be used for gifted and talented students.
  • Recent reports highlight the need for a more comprehensive plan of school reform that includes focused attention to the STEM fields, the growing achievement gap, and underserved students. You can find PDFs of each of these reports either on the Advocacy Main Page or STEM section of the NAGC website. Many of the PowerPoints shown during the weekend will be available for download from the NAGC website soon.
  • Accessing this information is important because it presents the language and terminology needed to defend a stance that educational reform should include provisions for not only the students we have identified as having gifts and talents, but also for those who have yet to be discovered.  Gifted programming allows our brightest students to achieve their true potential, and while future decisions will be made by those in positions of authority, it is the teacher who will be at the forefront of each and every student’s education.

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