Parent Tip of the Week
02/19/2018 - 02/23/2018
What Makes A Quality Program for High-ability and Talented Learners?
Within the School System
School districts should establish guidelines that address the needs of high-ability learners. Plans generally include:
• An identification process that considers performance and quantitative measures of general aptitude and academic ability.
• Research-based instructional practices found effective with advanced learners.
• Ongoing professional development for teachers, administrators, and support staff.
• Counseling and guidance services appropriate for high-ability and talented students.
• Systematic evaluation of programs and services.
02/12/2018 - 02/16/2018
How to Collaborate With Your Child’s Teacher
- Describe your child’s behavior and share her activity portfolio.
- Inquire if there are opportunities for your child to develop his interests and abilities.
- Ask if your child has opportunities to work and play with intellectual peers. If not, seek alternatives outside of school.
- If necessary, request an evaluation to identify your child’s skills, strengths, and weaknesses.
02/05/2018 - 02/09/2018
How to Advocate For Your Child’s Interests
Every child deserves to receive educational opportunities appropriate to her learning aptitudes and talents.
If the school recommends that your child participate in a program for gifted learners, consider enrolling him without delay.
If you are first to notice that your child exhibits high-aptitude traits, consider taking the following steps:
- Keep a portfolio that reflects your child’s skill development, awards, and extra-curricular activities.
- Ensure that your child’s aptitudes and creativity are being challenged in the classroom.
- Explore alternate educational options offered to high-ability students within your school district.
Join or form a parent support group to serve as resource and to advocate for the well-being of gifted children.
01/29/2018 - 02/02/2018
What Can Parents Do for Their Child In the Community
Find or create opportunities where your child can explore interests and nurture talent.
- Universities and community organizations offer after school, weekend, summer, and online enrichment programs.
- Mentors and talent experts can be guides and sources of knowledge and inspiration.
- Activities and outside courses can nurture talent and help establish friendships with those who share the same interests.
- Group and individual projects or competitions can help to build lifelong skills.
01/22/2018 - 01/26/2018
What Can Parents Do for Their Child At Home
- Be attentive to your child’s comments and observations.
- Create an environment that promotes self-expression.
- Help him to develop skills and interests, for example, in plant science, animal care, electronics, carpentry, mechanics, law, design, and crafts.
- Encourage her to explore the beauty of diverse cultures—through language, poetry, story, song, dance, puppetry, cooking, and crafts.
- Promote exploration and discovery.
- Emphasize effort and progress rather than perfection.
- Show your child how errors can be opportunities to discover and learn.
- Model positive ways to address setbacks and solve problems.
- Instill ways to help your child understand and regulate emotional reactions.
- Promote a healthy lifestyle.
- Demonstrate how to serve your community.
01/08/2018 - 01/12/2018
Gifted Education State By State
The federal government defines gifted students as those “who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.”
Although the definition recognizes that gifted and talented children have special educational needs, the federal presence in gifted education is minimal. There is no federal mandate to identify and serve gifted students, and the single federal program for gifted and talented children, the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act, currently provides only $9 million for national research and demonstration projects. This funding is at risk . . ..
In the absence of a federal mandate, decisions about gifted education programs and services are made at the state and local levels. And the variability in state gifted education laws, regulations and funding result in a wide discrepancy between and within states of available services.
In at least 16 states, the availability of gifted education depends solely on local district funds, which all too often leaves bright students without access to appropriate services. The following snapshot, from a bi-annual report by the National Association for Gifted Children and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted, illustrates the patchwork quilt effect of state support and policy:
* 28 states do not require local school districts to follow the same identification guidelines or uniform identification processes;
* 14 states have statewide, residential public high schools for math and science;
* 24 states have no policies specifically permitting early entrance to kindergarten or leave the decision to local educators; and
* l 6 states require gifted and talented training in initial teacher preparatory programs.
Kentucky Services Provided
- Does the legislation mandate that gifted students be served?
- Yes (K-12)
- Does the state require parent/guardian involvement in gifted and talented identification and service decisions?
- Yes, at the state level
- Does the state require specific criteria/methods to identify gifted students?
Range of state-approved assessments from which Local Education Authorities (LEAs) may select
- Does the state provide guidance or guidelines for the identification process?
- Is there legislation that mandates specialized training in gifted education for teachers of gifted students?
- Is the age or time at which students are identified for gifted programming mandated in your state?
- Does your state require school districts to have a gifted education administrator?
- Does the state have an acceleration policy?
- No state policy; up to local education authority determine
Acceleration Institute - State Policy page
- Does gifted education legislation exist?
SB 134 (March 2005)
01/02/2018 - 01/05/2018
Sense of Humor
Enjoy this wonderful time in your life; have fun. One of the hallmarks of giftedness is sense of humor. Other common traits are excellent vocabulary and high levels of perceptivity. You and your gifted children have much in common. As you get to know each other and grow together, take time to appreciate what a gift you are to each other. No matter what your child’s level of giftedness or your school’s level of support, you should be able to end most days saying to yourself, “Wow! Am I ever lucky!”
12/11/2017 - 12/15/2017
Helping Your Gifted Child Know Himself (or Herself) Better
Don’t worry that helping your gifted child know himself (or herself) better will lead to a “big head,” a know-it-all attitude, or undo vanity. True giftedness that is understood by the possessor leads to a more open understanding and acceptance of others (if it has been explained well). The more intellectually gifted a person is, the more likely the person will know how much he doesn’t know yet. That alone should lead to a sense of humility! Don’t worry that the child will feel superior to you; children need to look up to their parents and you are better equipped than you may realize. You are the right parents for your children.
12/04/2017 - 12/08/2017
Tell Them What You Know
Do give your gifted child the same information you have about her IQ and relative ability level. If you don’t know how to do this or don’t feel comfortable, get professional help to prepare yourself. Children who are within a normal, average range can certainly handle that they “fit in” and are normal. Children who differ from the norm and who therefore experience many things in life differently for that reason need help to understand why. I believe the specifics can be shared by the time the child’s mental age is about 12. You can roughly estimate your child’s mental age by recalling when your child reached certain developmental milestones compared to those charts you had on preschool behavior. Toys have an age range on the box, for example. Did your child enjoy and do puzzles earlier than the box suggested? Don’t think you can simply compare your child to the children of friends. To do so can cause you to underestimate your child’s intellectual level. Remember, you and your friends are very likely within a similar intellectual range; that’s part of how you found each other. Just because your child isn’t ahead of your friend’s kids does not mean he’s not gifted! It’s possible, and likely, that they are both gifted.
11/27/2017 - 12/01/2017
Do demonstrate how to prioritize, schedule, and let go. Gifted individuals discover early that they have many interests and can get more done—wear more hats—than most other people. Sometimes they get over-involved and can’t decide how to lower their stress and their commitments. Even gifted people need down time and processing time, so they must learn how to pick and choose carefully in order to allow the time necessary for emotional growth and self-discovery. Help them learn to recognize the difference between their own goals and someone else’s. Help them learn that some goals are necessary “hoops.”
11/13/2017 - 11/17/2017
Not An Example
Don’t hold your child up as an example for siblings or other children to emulate, compete with, or follow. Each person is unique, and natural abilities often affect interests and goals as much—or more—than effort. Comparisons might make you child tone down his abilities so as not to feel freakish or disliked. Comparisons can put other children in an untenable, unfair position.
11/06/2017 - 11/10/2017
Do Give Compliments
Do give compliments to your child for his abilities and efforts. Gifted children need recognition for their abilities from people whose opinions matter most to them just as much as anyone else. Try to be particularly aware of when your child really has put a great deal of effort or thought into something and needs encouragement or positive feedback. If the child has a talent area (art, music, games, anything), acknowledge it. Look for ways to help the child know himself.
10/30/2017 - 11/03/2017
Don’t Focus the Challenge
Don’t focus the challenge on either your child’s strengths or weaknesses. Allow the child to really pursue her highest interests and abilities. Help the child recognize which skills and knowledge will be important for any normally functioning adult citizen. In other words, help her to recognize the necessary “hoops.” Then believe it yourself and let go of total perfection. Remember, perfect grades probably mean good “reading of the teacher” more than the quality of the academic or intellectual learning that has taken place.
At the same time, there are virtually no career opportunities that allow a person to circumvent the need for clear writing, filling in forms (tax preparation, job applications), or doing simple math. No excuses; these are examples of necessary “hoops.” Gifted children, however, just as with any other children, should be taught and accelerated at their own readiness level and pace. A gifted child does not need three to five years of elementary school to learn basic math facts. If that is what is happening to your child, it is not a necessary “hoop;” it is a waste of time and will lead to underachievement.
10/23/2017 - 10/27/2017
Don’t over-schedule your gifted child; that is not the same as providing challenge. Give your child exposure to many different skills and activities that may uncover talent and passion in the child. Give your child the freedom and opportunity to make choices regarding clubs, activities, and extra-curriculars. Give your child enough down time to process, read for fun, vegetate, and let ideas simmer. Don’t judge the value of your child’s choices during the free and down times (except for safety and health issues).
Rather than tacking activities onto her long school day, consider giving your child regular school breaks for learning at her own pace and depth at home, especially during early elementary grades when she is reading at the 5th grade level while her classmates are working on beginning readers. Some kids would quickly zoom ahead in math if only given the opportunity. Some schools will allow you to have your child tutored, usually at your own additional expense, on school property during the school day, but that is not common or completely comfortable to arrange. The home school laws available in most states also enable you to part-time home school. (You don’t have to make an endless, daily, all-the-time commitment to home school). You can decide which times of the school day are not contributing to your child’s intellectual or emotional growth and give your child challenging, meaningful experiences elsewhere during those times. You can get all the information you need to get you started on the Internet under “home school.” Ask questions on your own state’s gifted children organization’s parent listserves.
10/16/2017 - 10/20/2017
Provide A Challenge
Do provide intellectual challenge in and out of school. Gifted children learn to underachieve in the early grades. Accomplishing what their classmates accomplish is often done with great speed, no effort, and no practice. Test anxiety, perfectionism, and fear of failure may all be associated with this early conditioning and lack of challenge in school. Give your child chances to be frustrated, to need to work hard and to take extra time to figure something out. Try to arrange this opportunity as often as possible in the school setting.
Sometimes, however, “in the school setting” is not a quickly available option. You might have to work around the schools when they are not prepared to be collaborative with you and your child except on their own terms. You can set up meaningful intellectual challenges during non-school times and during school times that significantly contribute to many facets of your child’s growth.
10/09/2017 - 10/13/2017
Don’t Forget Who’s the Child and Who’s the Adult
Children need to feel they are safe and protected. An adult who assumes that a gifted child can make his own decisions about the best schooling or activities for him, just because he’s gifted, is giving too much power to the child. This undermines the child’s confidence in the adult. This puts too much of a burden on the young person. It also undermines the authority of the adult. It is curious to me that educators will often pose the question, “Has anyone asked Melanie what she wants to do?” when acceleration or other gifted options are being considered; but few would ask any children their opinions on regular schooling. These decisions are up to the adults who have experience, wisdom, and hindsight.
Seize teachable moments
You can help your child sharpen school skills as you go about your day. Say you drive by a windmill. Instead of saying “Hey, a windmill!” ask a question: “What do you think they do?” Encouraging observation of details will help your child do the same in class, says Rosales. And a trip to the store can be a chance to build vocabulary, math skills and money smarts. Tell a 2-year-old the names of fruits as you bag them. Ask a 3-year-old to find four cans of peas. Have a 5-year-old write down which cereal she wants. Older kids can compare prices and sizes, and sort coupons. Sarah Brown, a preschool teacher in Hollywood, MD, had her 2-year-old students paint with apples, bananas and then skinny carrots. When her students advanced to the 4-year-old group, the teacher noticed that they had better prewriting skills than the new students.
Whether your child is advanced or average, the best thing you can do is be involved. Taking her on this journey of self-discovery is what'll drive her personal genius. In one word: What do you most want your kid to be? Happy? Funny? Confident? Loved? We're betting “Valedictorian” didn't pop to mind. Your goal is to help your child be the best he or she can be, right? If you've read this far, you're both well on your way.
Preschoolers very nearly glow with curiosity. But sometimes kids lose that as they get older, says Brenneman. Keep them excited by honing in on what interests them. If you ask questions about what they're playing with or talking about—“Yes, even if it's Pokémon, as it was with my son,” says Brenneman—you've initiated a give-and-take that will pay off in a smarter kid. Your child will ask questions and look for more good stuff to share in return. Take time to turn your kid on to what you're excited about: Check out a museum or watch an interesting show together, and tell your child what you like about it and why. Rich Braun, a dad of two in East Islip, NY, used to work weekends. So to be able to share his interests with his son, Erik, when he was in elementary school, he occasionally pulled him out of school to visit a museum. His teachers always agreed, since the next day he told the class what he had learned. “Erik felt like the expert for a day, which over the years boosted his confidence and eagerness to learn more,” says Braun.
Stick-to-itiveness is a quality that will endear your child to teachers—and employers. We as a culture are so busy making kids feel good that we've lost sight of the time it takes for them to actually become good, says Rhee. “My kids both play soccer, and both stink. But judging by the trophies and ribbons that line their room, you'd think I had the next Mia Hamms here,” she notes. It's hard to accept failure if you're constantly told you're the best. When these kids go to school and get a problem wrong, they think “It can't be me.” Giving the right props is key, says Stephanie Rosales, a licensed educational psychologist in La Quinta, CA: “Children who are praised for solving a problem tend to be more motivated in school than children who are told they're smart. The latter, ironically, often become frustrated when something doesn't come easily.” So instead of giving broad praise (“You're a star!”), give kudos for accomplishments (“I'm proud of how you found a different way to get the answer”). And if you're going to hold up a gold standard, make sure it's truly gold. Say “You're almost there. Keep trying.”
Read, Read, Read
Research has repeatedly shown that access to books and one-on-one reading time is a predictor of school success. “Reading stimulates the brain to make connections and builds background knowledge about the world,” says Kim Davenport, chief program officer at Jumpstart, a national early-literacy organization. “Reading is the foundation of all learning and will enable a child to absorb and apply content from all areas, including math and science.” Modeling good reading habits may give him an edge. “Seeing his parents reading for enjoyment will be contagious,” says Davenport. Invite your child to cozy up on the couch with you to read. Keep books out—in baskets, on shelves, and on coffee tables. And share what you're reading with your child, and ask him to do the same. This will not only spark conversation but build his vocabulary and comprehension.
08/28/2017 - 09/01/2017
Talk, talk, talk
Ask your kid open-ended questions, like “What would happen if we stopped for ice cream on the way to the beach?” Such questions help a child reflect on what he knows and tell him his opinion matters. Don't worry if he's too young to understand. Likewise, don't be afraid to use relatively sophisticated words, notes Brenneman. He may not understand them, but he will figure it out if the words are used multiple times in context. John Shotter, a dad in Seaford, NY, makes it a top priority to talk to his son, Jack, 2, through daily activities. “We talk tools! I show him how the T-square, drill, measuring tape and hammer work.” The results are pretty impressive, reports Jack's mom, Melissa. “He honestly knows the name of every tool, as well as materials like Sheetrock, S packle, and drop cloth. He's also learning measuring, right and left from turning a screwdriver and colors from paint.”
08/21/2017 - 08/25/2017
Check out how these game-changing luminaries started out. Hey, you never know.
- Developed the theory of relativity; the father of modern physics
- He hated school.
- Media magnate; philanthropist
- Her grandma taught her to read at age 3, which started her famous love of books.
- Internet entrepreneur; Facebook founder
- His dad taught him Atari BASIC programming in junior high.
- Rap mogul; marketer
- Unable to keep him from banging on the kitchen table, his mom got him a boom box.
- Journalist and social and political activist
- She attended school only sporadically until the age of 11.
Alexander Graham Bell
- Scientist; innovator
- After he built a wheat de-husker out of brushes and paddles at age 12, his friend's father gave him a small workshop.
- Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner
- Her dad told her folktales of the black community, which inspired her writings.
08/14/2017 - 08/18/2017
Parents: 9 Back to School Pro Tips
Back to school time can be a hectic time for both you and the kiddos. These are some of our best back to school tips to help ensure this school year gets off to a great start!
1. Visit the School
Walk or ride the route your child will take and make note of school patrols, crossing guards and high traffic areas along the way. Talk to your kids about NOT talking to strangers and find out what, if any, policies your child’s school has regarding early arrivals or late pick-ups. Learn about the school’s entrance and exit policies. Then, if you can, pop in and check out what the inside of the school looks like.
2. Introduce Yourself to the Child's Teacher
Introduce yourself to your child’s teacher and ask him or her about the preferred method of communication. (Some teachers are active on email and social media, while others prefer the phone or in-person meetings.)
3. Make Homework a Priority
Make homework time a daily habit. Find a quiet and consistent place at home where your child can complete his or her homework. If your child is having difficulty with his or her homework, make an appointment with the teacher sooner rather than later.
4. Prepare a Study Area
Set up a special place at home to do school work and homework. Remove distractions. Make it clear that education is a top priority in your family: show interest and praise your child’s work.
5. Take Charge of T.V. Time
Limit the time that you let your child watch TV, and when you do decide to do TV time, make it a family affair. Talk together about what you see and ask questions after the show ends.
6. Get Everyone to Bed On Time
During the summer, children aren’t always on a schedule, which is understandable. But, proper rest is essential for a healthy and productive school year. Help your kids get back on track sleep-wise by having them go to bed earlier and wake up earlier at least a week in advance of when school actually starts.
7. Make Healthy Meals
Let’s face it – no one can concentrate when they’re hungry. Studies show that children who eat healthy, balanced breakfasts and lunches do better in school.
8. Get a Check Up
It’s a good idea to take your child in for a physical and an eye exam before school starts. Most schools require up-to-date immunizations, and you may be asked to provide paperwork showing that your child has all the necessary shots and vaccines.
9. Plan to Read with Your Child Everyday
Make a plan to read with your child for 20 minutes every day. Your example reinforces the importance of literacy, and reading lets you and your child explore new worlds of fun and adventure together.