News Donate Join Login
Web Site Management
Enter a blog post
Illinois Association for Gifted Children
ISBE is holding a listening tour regarding changes to the Illinois ESSA plan. See the meeting schedule below. We urge IAGC members to attend a meeting and voice support for keeping the proposed weighting of the Academic Indicator (75%) and Student Success Indicator (25%) for evaluating schools.
We encourage members to inquire:
The 2019 Support and Accountability Listening Tour will include the following stops:
Is My Child Gifted?
“My child seems to learn new things quickly. Is my child gifted?”
Some children quickly learn to read or write. Others excel at solving problems and puzzles. Still others have outstanding athletic or creative talent. Giftedness comes in many forms, and it blossoms among all demographic groups, cultures, and personality types. “Twice exceptional” children may have special learning needs or disabilities and also demonstrate giftedness in other areas.
One of the challenges for determining whether a child is “gifted” is the lack of a common definition or metric. In some states, such as Illinois, “giftedness” in mathematics and language arts has been defined as the “top 5% locally” (Illinois School Code,105 ILCS 5/14A-20). The top 10% locally or nationally is another commonly accepted benchmark for giftedness.1 And when it comes to school districts, designating which students are labeled “gifted” can vary. For example, students who are in the top 10% on a nationally normed test may not be in the top 10% of students scores for the same test in a high performing district. Conversely, some schools may have a very small percentage of students who score in the top 10% nationally. Accordingly, a child who is labeled “gifted” in one district may not be labeled “gifted” in another.
Schools have different protocols for identifying giftedness, but there is no “one test” that is determinative. Multiple measures such as ability tests, achievement tests, classroom observations, student work products, and teacher/parent/student ratings of gifted characteristics are some common measures used to identify gifted children.
It is generally understood that a child who is “gifted” demonstrates abilities and talents that are well beyond what is expected for his or her age group. Gifted children exhibit “asynchronous” development, and may show abilities far beyond their same-aged peers. If you suspect that your child is gifted, you may want to do some background reading about high ability children, observe your child at home, and talk with your child’s teacher(s) about your child’s experience in the classroom. Is there are particular area that interests your child? Does your child have abilities or strengths that are beyond what you observe are typical for a child of the same age? Is your child curious, always asking questions, highly observant, or imaginative? The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) has an informative webpage about characteristics of gifted children: NAGC: Common Characteristics of Gifted Children.
Ultimately, given the diverse ways that giftedness manifests itself and differences in identification protocols, the question “is my child gifted?” may lack a definitive answer. But the inquiry prompts further questions that may be even more pertinent to a child’s growth:
As parents explore these questions, the Illinois Association for Gifted Children (“IAGC”) provides a wealth of resources, and encourages and welcomes parents along the journey. We hope that you will join us!
-Patricia SteinmeyerIAGC Education Committee, Co-Chair
1. The National Association for Gifted Children. website. "What is Giftedness?" http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/what-giftedness
All members are invited to join us for the Spring Committee and Board Meetings on May 4, 2019. Committee meetings are scheduled from 10 AM - Noon. The Board meeting begins promptly at 1 PM. We welcome your participation in any or all events! Please register via the links on the left-hand side of this page. If you would like to attend via GoToMeeting, please contact Diane Beedy via email: email@example.com.
Laura LaSalle, Concordia University, provides rationale for supporting gifted learners
Although the weather outside is frightful, we hope you can join us inside for the warmth of collegiality and professional learning at the 24th Annual Conference this week. Be safe and join us when you can.
Call: 847-963-1892 (Leave a message - Extension 1)
Plan your day(s) of attendance at the 24th Annual IAGC Conference by reviewing the program book and strand sheet ahead of your arrival.
2019 Conference Program
2019 Conference Sessions by Strand
Tamra Stambaugh joins Illinois educators to share her expertise in supporting advanced learners at the IAGC Conference on January 31 and February 1. Get a sneak peak of her upcoming presentations here.
As educators, we have a lot to balance. Our students come to us with a wide range of abilities that require differentiation as well as a range of social-emotional needs that may inhibit their academic learning. The research on talent development and the development of expertise clearly outline that while ability matters, other non-cognitive and affective factors are also important in the development of talent. In fact, several studies have shown that skills such as perseverance, healthy risk taking and goal setting, a learning-focused mindset, motivation, opportunity, and strong psychological strength may differentiate the level of attainment among those individuals of equal ability. Students need to develop these affective skills just as much as they need to develop expertise in a content area such as English Language Arts, math, science, social studies, or the arts.
So how do we teach the academic standards necessary, differentiate for a wide range of ability levels, and support our students’ social-emotional development? The development of expertise and the development of affective needs are not polar opposites, but go hand in hand. We can provide challenging academic opportunities using curriculum frameworks and resources so that students are not only exposed to accelerated and enriched curriculum but also understand the effort, perseverance, and pride that comes with achievement. If students are reading about an event in history, some students might examine that event through the lens of economics while others are ready to examine the event by studying how the event precipitated by the interaction of economics and geography. We can also combine academic content standards – especially in English Language Arts - with social-emotional skill development. For example, students might read a biography and outline text features and evidence that support a main idea while also learning how the individual dealt with adversity or developed skills to promote their achievement. Students can also read fictional stories and apply the themes or character trait analysis as outlined in the text to their own lives.
But how do we find the time to do this? Curriculum frameworks provide a guide for differentiating instruction, equalizing opportunities for students, and combining social-emotional needs with content standards. I hope you will join me for discussions and practice applying evidence-supported frameworks found in the new Affective Jacob’s Ladder resources and the content-based curriculum from the Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth to your own classroom lessons content. Learn strategies to simultaneously support the social emotional and cognitive development of your academically advanced students as you continue to differentiate instruction for them.
See you soon!
What is your school district doing to provide talent development opportunities for underserved high-ability learners? Read this preview of the upcoming IAGC Conference presentation on Young Scholars by Kirsten Maloney, K-12 Advanced Academic Programs Coordinator, Fairfax County Public Schools here.
The number of minority and low-income students continues to rise in the U.S., and yet these subgroups continue to be underrepresented in gifted programs. Drawing on such a small fraction of both background and number of students is not only a social equity issue, but also one that disadvantages economic prospects for our communities and our country as a whole. Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) framework for closing the achievement gap includes six drivers. The Young Scholars model is included as a strategy in our access to rigor driver to promote talent development and bring together multiple critical elements to address excellence gaps in gifted education.
I have worked with the Young Scholars model as a teacher leader, as an educational specialist in central office, and most recently as the K-12 coordinator of advanced academic programs in FCPS, a large school district in northern Virginia. Most recently, our team has used the model’s many entry points to facilitate school leaders’ reflection and goals setting for continuous improvement in the areas of access, opportunities, and achievement for students traditionally underserved in gifted programs. We have also focused on vertical articulation to ensure efforts to develop student potential in the primary grades continue in a strategic way as students enter secondary school and enroll in advanced coursework.
My presentation will focus on the components of the model, professional development opportunities for teachers, and school examples of how goal setting has influenced teacher mindsets and efficacy.
When it comes to meeting the needs of gifted students in the classrooms, teachers are the first responders. Many times they are tugged and pulled in various directions from providing meaningful content and application to classroom management to getting students to participate in discussion --and even giving career advice. School counselors come with a different skill set that can help teachers support their gifted students. David Duys, Carol Smith, Erin Lane and I have all been school counselors. We now teach and train upcoming counselors and have research interests and clinical experiences in working with gifted youth. We hope to bring our unique toolkit to IAGC. Our presentations focus on tips to facilitate small groups, work with parents, and engage in some classroom-based activities that can help students connect their academic and personal lives to their future.
Learn more about all of the school counselor and social worker specific offerings available at the January 31st annual IAGC Conference here:
Counselor and Social Worker Offerings
Scott Peters says:
Let’s face it. Most gifted and talented coordinators or teachers of advanced learners don’t get a lot of personal fulfillment out of student identification. It’s often controversial, involves a lot of data and numbers, and can cause many of sleepless nights over concerns of some student going mis-identified. Luckily for all of us, the Illinois Association for Gifted Children’s 2019 conference will include two outstanding sessions on gifted and talented student identification. I know because they’re mine and I can guarantee that they will be the best sessions by someone named Scott on the topic of identification in the Friday 9:30 am and 1:15 pm slots!
At 9:30am I’ll offer a session on how to create the ideal gifted screening phase. In most schools, universally evaluating all students for gifted service eligibility is time and cost prohibitive. Because of this, schools need to decide who we should actually put through the full process and on what criteria such decisions should be made. This two-phase system of screening followed by formal consideration can save a lot of time and money, but if done poorly, can cause the majority of gifted students to be missed. My session on Friday morning will show you how to select the right criteria for a screening phase in order to 1) miss as few students as possible while also 2) spending as little money as possible. We’ll also consider how two-phase systems influence disproportionality and student underrepresentation and how they can be utilized to help address this important issue.
My second session, on Friday afternoon, addresses the criteria for a “good” gifted identification process. The goal of this session is to get everyone thinking about what they should be measuring in their identification systems based on what services will be provided to those identified. Methods for evaluating this identification system – service alignment will be shared with considerations for resources, disproportionality, and overall system accuracy. We’ll also consider where racial, ethnic, home language, gender, and socioeconomic diversity and proportionality fit in the considerations for system quality and how to balance these priorities with correctly locating students who have unmet, advanced learning needs. It should be a good time.
Come hear from a presenter whose class was once described as “not nearly as terrible as I was expecting it to be”.
The Illinois Association for Gifted Children is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.
© Illinois Association for Gifted Children