Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Will the new state budget include funding for Gifted Education??


Please forgive us for posting once again about gifted funding, but we are literally in the last days before the budget drops. Your legislators need to hear from you that these programs are worth funding. This year's current funding for gifted classrooms is .... drum roll please ... $0. Prop 123 will not restore this funding. The only way to get these programs reinstated is to get them into the budget. If you value these programs, please let your elected officials know. The letter below is the most recent AAGT email. Please feel free change or use, but make sure your subject line uses the words "gifted" somewhere. Thank you!

Dear [Senator or Representative],

Please make reinstating gifted funding a budget priority this year. Gifted classrooms in Arizona have not been funded since FY2009. This legislative session, parents, educators, and legislators have requested a one-time $500,000 grant to fund the gifted programs already in statute. Can we count on your support?

Some have said that gifted students will be fine on their own, but we know this is not always the case. In fact, gifted students disproportionately drop out of high school. For those who stay in school, they are more likely to underachieve, particularly when gifted students are not identified or supported in the classroom.

Arizona needs robust gifted programs to keep our gifted students and families in the state and avoid the "bright flight" of our gifted families to states where their needs can be met. This funding would train teachers to identify gifted students and support those students in the classroom.

Representative Heather Carter and Senator Jeff Dial have made gifted funding a budget priority.

The following Republican Legislators have also voiced their support for the reinstatement of gifted funding in this year's budget:

Sen. Sylvia Allen
Sen. Don Shooter
Sen. Steve Pierce
Sen. Carlyle Begay
Sen. Steve Smith
Sen. Bob Worsley (LD25)
Rep. Russell "Rusty" Bowers (LD25)
Rep. Jill Norgaard
Rep. Kate Brophy McGee
Rep. Doug Coleman (LD16)

Are you willing to make gifted funding a priority? Would you support this measure if included in this year's budget?

[YOUR NAME]
Legislators' email: first initial of first name + last name + @azleg.gov

Also, feel free to send the above legislators a THANK YOU email. Let them know they DO represent families in Arizona. This will help them keep up the fight!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

UPDATE: Self-Contained Gifted Programs in GPS - Enrollment and Deadlines





The district website with information on the 7th grade program includes a video and slide show of student work and projects.  Highland Jr is the only junior high in the district with a comprehensive gifted program, in that their teachers have received extensive training to work with gifted students and therefore teachers and students collaborate in depth across subjects. 

This has been our experience in the 7th grade gifted program in 2016-17 ...

This current year the gifted 7th graders are grouped together in their core classes of English, Social Studies and Science.  For math they are grouped according to their ability and so many of them are together for math as well.  The teachers for 7th grade gifted honors science and 7th grade gifted honors math involve their students in projects that cross both subjects, providing an opportunity for depth not usually seen in the typical honors classes (student video is on the district website).  The 7th grade gifted English and gifted Social Studies teachers also work together to integrate learning across their two subjects, providing their students with a similar opportunity for depth.  (After their study and role play of Hamlet, SCG students are currently building a scale model of the Globe Theatre - this integrates multiple subjects.  You can see a slide show of their work on Hamlet and the Globe Theatre on the district website.)

The English teacher has a weekly class discussion on social/emotional skills.  I requested to observe class on this particular day during first semester and enjoyed listening to a productive discussion on effort and growth vs. grades along with a teacher led story on growth and advocating for yourself.  The students shared their own insights about the value of learning from mistakes and experiencing growth.  (This supports the GPS Gifted Vision Statement of supporting the needs of the whole child.)

The core teachers of the gifted students have received extensive training in giftedness and gifted education strategies, some having their Gifted Endorsement or Masters in Gifted Education.

We have found that the daily homework load is comparable to what we had in 6th grade, in that because subjects are integrated, students aren't given a mountain of English homework, a mountain of Social Studies homework, etc. each night.  This provides an opportunity to be involved in extra-curricular activities.

The district policy for comprehensive junior high schools for students who are unprepared for class is after school detention, which is called 9th hour.  However, for those gifted students who live outside of the school boundaries, there is no 9th hour bus to bring them home, so their "9th hour" is detention during lunch.  This allows them to take their regular bus home.  (GCA does it differently.  A few years ago when another son attended GCA their 9th hour adaptation was Saturday School.  If still in practice at GCA, then families provide their own transportation to and from Saturday school.)

Class size for the core classes is about 28.

Gifted students take electives with other Highland Jr students - PE, Band, Orchestra, etc. - and my son has enjoyed these classes and making new friends.  The music program at Highland Jr. is top notch.

I hope this information in helpful.

Sincerely,
Stephanie Newitt
President, Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted
gilbertgifted@gmail.com

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Arizona Republic: Our Turn - "How we can boost up gifted students"



It was an honor working with Pam Sanchez, single mom and small business owner, and McKay Moulton, President of Tempe Parents for the Gifted, on this Op-ed article published in the Arizona Republic on April 18th, 2016. 

Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented (AAGT) has been at the forefront advocating at the state level for our gifted students. AAGT has been invaluable in helping us organize and communicate with parents at the grassroots level. Please continue emailing & tweeting to your legislators about the moral and economic impacts of recognizing and serving our gifted students across the socioeconomic spectrum.

Stephanie Newitt 
President, Gilbert Supporters of the Gifted

Share this article with family, friends and educators. Encourage them to find and contact their legislative representatives at the link provided, asking that they support gifted education in Arizona: How to find your legislator 



Friday, April 22, 2016

Gifted Education in Arizona. Article #3 in a Series from NPR.

Image result for npr kjzz logo
The third NPR article about gifted education in Arizona.  

Arizona has not funded gifted education since 2009-2010.  Arizona has a majority-minority school populationmeaning only 40 percent of students classified as White in 2014, according to the Arizona Department of Education (ADE).  


"Why Gifted Latinos are Often Overlooked and Underserved"

Article #3 from April 17, 2016 – NPR Ed.  By Claudio Sanchez.


"Three million school children in the U.S. are identified as gifted. That's roughly the top 10 percent of the nation's highest achieving students.

But Rene Islas, head of the National Association for Gifted Children, says tens of thousands of gifted English language learners are never identified. We sat down with Islas and asked him why.

He started out by explaining that there are several different measures for identifying gifted children. The most common in schools is recognizing achievement, above grade level work. But that poses a problem for English language learners, or ELLs, he says. ..." 

 Click here to read the rest of the article.
Share this article with family, friends and educators.  Encourage them to find and contact their legislative representatives at the link provided, asking that they support gifted education in Arizona: How to find your legislator 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Gifted Education in Arizona. Article #2 in the series from NPR.

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The second NPR article about gifted education in Arizona.  

Arizona has not funded gifted education since 2009-2010.  Arizona has a majority-minority school populationmeaning only 40 percent of students classified as White in 2014, according to the Arizona Department of Education (ADE).  


The Rare District that Recognizes Gifted Latino Students

Article #2 from April 12, 2016 – NPR Ed.  By Claudio Sanchez.

"Imagine you're back in school, bored to death, with limited academic options. Because you're learning English, everybody assumes you're not ready for more challenging work. What they don't realize is that you're gifted.
Researchers say this happens to lots of gifted children who arrive at school speaking little or no English. These students go unnoticed, until someone taps into their remarkable talent and potential. Vanessa Minero Leon was lucky. She was one of those students who got noticed.
Vanessa lives with her two siblings and their parents, Hector and Marcela, in Paradise Valley, Ariz. They have a lovely home with a big back yard, two rabbits, two dogs and a chicken. ..."  Click here to read the rest of the article.
Share this article with family, friends and educators.  Encourage them to find and contact their legislative representatives at the link provided, asking that they support gifted education in Arizona: How to find your legislator 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Gifted Education in Arizona - Article Series from NPR

Image result for npr kjzz logo
Beginning today, you will be introduced to NPR articles about gifted education in Arizona.  

Arizona has not funded gifted education since 2009-2010.  Arizona has a majority-minority school populationmeaning only 40 percent of students classified as White in 2014, according to the Arizona Department of Education (ADE).  


Gifted, But Still Learning English, Many Bright Students Get Overlooked

Article #1 -  From April 11, 2016 – NPR Ed by Claudio Sanchez

"Of the 3 million students identified as gifted in the U.S., English Language Learners are by far the most underrepresented. And nobody knows that better than 17-year-old Alejandra Galindo.
"It's just kind of hard to not see people who look like me in my classes," she says. "I'm a minority in the gifted world."
Alejandra is a senior at North Canyon High School in Phoenix. Before she was identified as gifted, she was identified as an English Language Learner, or ELL. You know, those kids who are often assigned to separate classrooms while they learn English. That was Alejandra. ..."
Click here to read the rest of the article.
Share this article with family, friends and educators.  Encourage them to find and contact their legislative representatives at the link provided, asking that they support gifted education in Arizona: How to find your legislator 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Legislative Action Today! One last push!


Email blitz today, Monday, April 18th!  Choose the best time for you:  11am - 1pm OR 5pm-7pm.
*If you don't see this notice until Tuesday, then choose one of these windows on Tuesday.

Easy steps:

STEP 1:  Copy & paste the following to the legislative members below:

SUBJECT LINE:  Your own variations of "Will you support Gifted Education?" or "Will you support Arizona's gifted students?"

EMAIL BODY:  We are grateful for the funding for Advanced Placement in Gov. Ducey’s proposed budget.  We are a minority-majority state, in that the majority of Arizona students are minority students.  Funding gifted education for K-12 will help teachers identify and prepare minority gifted students as well as students across all socioeconomic backgrounds.  This will ensure a pipeline of students who are ready and able to be successful in high school AP classes.  There is the old adage of "Don't put the cart before the horse."  Funding gifted education for K-12 allows the state to put the horse before the cart.

This funding is very important to the parent education community in the East Valley.  If placed in this year's state budget, as our elected official will you support gifted education?

Thank you for your service.

Sincerely,
SIGN YOUR NAME

STEP 2:  Send to the email addresses below.

STEP 3:  Forward to family, friends and teachers!

Central Mesa
Rep. “Rusty” Bowers (R) - LD 25                    rbowers@azleg.gov
Rep. Justin Olson (R)  – LD 25                       jolson@azleg.gov
Senator Bob Worsley (R)  – LD 25                  bworsley@azleg.gov

Central Gilbert/SE Chandler/Queen Creek
Rep. Warren Petersen (R)  – LD 12                wpetersen@azleg.gov
Rep. Eddie Farnsworth (R) – LD 12                efarnsworth@azleg.gov
Senator Andy Biggs (R) - LD 12                     abiggs@azleg.gove

West Gilbert/East Chandler
Rep. JD Mesnard (R)  – LD 17                       jmesnard@azleg.gov
Rep. Jeff Weninger (R)  – LD 17                    jweninger@azleg.gov
Senator Steve Yarbrough (R)  – LD 17           syarbrough@azleg.gov

East Mesa/Apache Junction
Rep. Doug Coleman (R)  LD 16                      dcoleman@azleg.gov
Rep. Kelly Townsend (R)  – LD 16                  ktownsend@azleg.gov
Senator David C. Farnsworth (R) – LD 16      dfarnsworth@azleg.gov

Central Chandler/Tempe
Rep, Bob Robson (R) - LD18              brobson@azleg.gov
Rep. Jill Norgaard (R) - LD18              jnorgaard@azleg.gov
Senator Jeff Dial (R) - LD18               jdial@azleg.gov