Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2015 Fall Courier

Board Chair's Message

Julie Luck Jensen by Julie Luck Jensen

What are We Waiting For?

The dismal state of Illinois finances is not new to any of us. We blame the current political situation for a myriad of social and educational problems including the lack of services for gifted students. Yet can we sit back and wait as we read reports of the lack of academic progress of some of our most promising students or hear about the growing number of students on anti-depressants? As advocates for all students, we can’t be deterred from offering the differentiated instruction our gifted students need or, just as importantly, the social and emotional support that will enable them to be open to learning.

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President's Message

Sally T headshot by Dr. Sally Thomson

IAGC is Working for YOU!

I love fall! The air is crisp and clear, the beautiful leaves against that bright blue sky nearly make me drive off the road as I gawk at their splendor, football fills my Friday nights and Sunday afternoons, and I gear up for holiday time with my family. What could be better?? Each year, I write a holiday letter to my friends and family, recapping the year and looking ahead to the New Year.

This fall, as I begin to wind down my presidency with IAGC, I’m looking back not only on my personal year, but on the past two years in service to the gifted families in the state of Illinois. Just what has been going on for you, anyway?

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Thank You for Many Years of Service to IAGC Board and Welcome to New Members!

By Susan Rhodes, President-Elect

IAGC has benefited greatly by the expertise, leadership and many years of dedicated service of Mamon Gibson, Rosina Gallagher as Past-President, Judy Rhoads as Secretary and Lori Swan as Treasurer. Thankfully, they have all agreed that they are only a phone call away for needed consults. We are grateful for the hundreds of hours that they have volunteered in serving our organization.

Strong leadership will continue as current board members assume additional responsibilities.

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21st IAGC Convention Highlights - 2016

maryann jane by Mary Ann Paradise and Jane Gorman, Convention Co-chairs

“The Illinois Association for Gifted Children is an organization of parents, educators, and others committed to the education and development of children with diverse gifts and talents. We educate, support, and influence those who touch the lives of children and focus our energies to meet the needs of children with gifts and talents in Illinois.”

This vision is the primary focus of our 21st Annual Illinois Association for Gifted Children’s Convention being held at the Chicago Marriott Naperville on February 7th - 9th, 2016. There will be three days of opportunity to network, learn, renew and reflect. STEM, Common Core, diversity, Problem-Based Learning, social and emotional sessions will be interwoven themes among the multiple offerings that are scheduled.

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Gifted Advisory Council

Laura Beltchenko by Laura Beltchenko, chairperson for GAC

Educational policy and procedures are not among the attributes of education that often cross the minds of educators on a day basis. The Illinois State Board of Education, ISBE or the “Agency” as it is called, is founded on these important factions. To support and provide a voice for the many students that are that have learning abilities above and beyond their age and grade peers, there is a small but mighty group that provides a voice and lens for gifted children. The Gifted Advisory Council, GAC, is a group of appointed individuals that meet approximately 3 times a year, representing gifted children in the State of Illinois and the professionals that provide educational best practice education. Parents are also an extremely important part of the mission of the GAC.

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Talent Development: A Framework for Serving All Gifted Students

Paula Olszewski Kubiliusby Paula Olszewski-Kubilius

As someone who has been involved with gifted education for over 30 years and who tries to keep up with the research and scholarship in the field, I can say most confidently that the field of gifted education has been consumed, historically, with issues surrounding the identification of gifted students. Much of the research and discussion has centered on the efficacy of standardized tests, developing and validating new checklists and rating scales, and debates about ability versus achievement tests or IQ versus non verbal ability test—all with the goal of finding identification systems that are equitable to all groups of gifted learners. Rightly, much of this research and discussion stems from the important concern that some groups of gifted learners are routinely overlooked for gifted programming, specifically low income, second language learners, and minority children.

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Pipelines of Untapped Potential

By April Wells

High potential and gifted learners are from all ethnic, cultural, economic and linguistic backgrounds. The degree to which we identify them and serve them is a source of dissension. These learners may demonstrate early readiness, or their skills may emerge at later times in their academic careers. High-potential learners have unique learner profiles; therefore, they require thoughtful, unique academic programming to meet their academic and social and emotional needs. In many instances, the general education experience is not equally matched to the learner’s trajectory of growth, which curtails the effectiveness of teaching and learning experiences.

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Practically Perfect Parenting in Every Way- Almost

 by Cathy Greene, Educational Consultant cathy greene 2015

Well, we’ve reached that all-important point in the school year for parents of gifted learners. We know if we are one of the lucky ones. We know whether or not we have one of the 30%; teachers who know and understand gifted learners and are able to differentiate the curriculum according to their abilities and needs. If you are so lucky run into your kitchen, living room or bedroom and do a little happy dance. High five your spouse or yourself. Give a silent cheer and know that you are in for a great year. Do not, under any circumstance, let your child know that this is unusual, for your child has the right to believe that this is how school works. That is the benefit of being a child.

For the rest of you, my friends, it is time to roll up your sleeves, develop a plan, and take action.

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The Boy Who Loved School

cathy greene 2015 by Cathy Greene, Educational Consultantboy full front

Once upon a time there was a boy who loved school. He loved school because he loved to learn. He loved to read. He loved math. He loved learning about science and the world around him. Each day he would come home from school and tell his parents all of the new things he learned about at school. Life was good.

One day the boy’s mother noticed that he looked unhappy.

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Letters From the Heart

by Cathy Greene, Educational Consultantcathy greene 2015

Dear Classroom Teacher,

I need your help. I need your help. I need your help. Sammy, who couldn’t wait to start school when she was three years old, who made me walk by the school once a week to talk about everything she would be learning once she was “allowed to start school” cries on Sunday because Monday is a school day. Sammy, who loved kindergarten because she “learned to read” and “learned maths” seems to have given up on school because while the other kids in her class are learning to count to 20 she has already mastered counting numbers to a thousand. She seems to have given up on school because when you are talking about the concept of addition to 20 she is doing mental math with two and three digit numbers.

in a gentle wayI hope you understand that this note is in no way a criticism. I honestly need your help. Our family now dreads Sunday evenings. We want the Sammy back who can’t wait to go to school. We want the Sammy back who thinks that school is where all the good stuff happens. If you can give us any suggestions or ideas we will welcome them. If there is some way we can assist you in making accommodations for Sammy, we are more than willing to assist. We want nothing more than to turn this situation around, and know we can only do so with your help.

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