Winter 2018 newsletter
The latest issue of our newsletter is now available
for download. If you do not receive our newsletter by email you may subscribe on the right.
Each year WAETAG has the pleasure of giving $500 scholarships to students who wish to participate in summer gifted educational programs. We are now accepting applications for the 2018 Summer Scholarship Program! The deadline for applications is March 31, 2018.
Mark your calendar for your local Project HiCapPLUS Module:
Anacortes ESD: Thursday, January 11
Bremerton SD: Tuesday, March 20
Pasco SD: Tuesday, March 6
Pierce County Skills Center: Tuesday, March 13
Spokane, Libby Center: Thursday, February 15
Tumwater/Olympia ESD: Monday, March 19
Vancouver SD, Bates Center: Wednesday, April 25
Wenatchee ESD: Wednesday, March 7
Yakima ESD: Wednesday, April 11
Gifted Education Day 2018
By: Vicki Edwards, WAETAG President
February 8, 2018 is Gifted Education Day in Washington State, as declared by Governor Jay Inslee. Activities begin at 10:00 A.M. in the Columbia Room at the state capitol.
Gifted Ed Day is a day to celebrate gifted students as well as those who work with the highly capable or gifted student population in Washington State.
You will see teachers, parents, students and advocates wearing bright green scarves to visibly show their support for gifted education in Washington State.
If you cannot attend on February 8, please be an advocate for gifted students by emailing support to your legislature. Tell him or her that gifted education is basic education, share how gifted or highly capable services have impacted your family or someone you know.
Arguing Equity Issues for Highly Capable
By: Jan Kragen, WAETAG Gifted Ed Legislative Liasion
This fall I started seeing pieces about equity in identification for Highly Capable students in Washington-articles, editorials, letters to the editor. As I read about districts around the state that still used nominations/referrals to decide which students to test for their highly capable (HC) programs, my jaw dropped. I work in North Kitsap School District where we have used universal screening since 2002. In fact, we've done it for so long, I thought it must be the norm in the state by now. Imagine my surprise!
I am a regular contributor to Stories from School, so one of my first posts this year was about equity in identification.
By the beginning of November the Coalition for Gifted sent out an email to interested groups asking for their input on a first draft of comments regarding a WAC revision of Section 412 of EHB 2242. The proposal addressed how districts needed to do a better job of prioritizing identification of low-income students. Clearly, equity in identification was the hot topic of the moment!
WAETAG and the Northwest Gifted Child Association weighed in, as well as the National Association for Gifted Children. The Coalition got input from individual experts too, including Charlotte Akin, Jann Leppein, and Nancy Hertzog. Austina De Bonte, president of NWGC, did hours of work writing and rewriting (it's never easy writing by committee). As the language of the proposed bill went through multiple drafts over the course of a month or more, two other major groups added their endorsement-Washington Education Association and the Washington State PTA.
On January 10 the proposal went out in the mail to Senators Wellman, Rolfes, and Rivers, signed by all four gifted organizations.
During the same time frame, the coordinator for Stories from School asked if I would be interested in responding to a front page article in the Seattle Times on the subject. I waited just long enough to make sure we had a final draft of our proposed WACs and then wrote an article about our "wish list." I sent the link to my local representatives (Sherry Appleton, Drew Hansen, and Christine Rolfes) asking them to support the proposal.
Everyone else in WAETAG, NWGCA, the Coalition-and anyone else we could think of to ask-were also contacting their representatives and the members of the education committees. Picture a tsunami or a blizzard or an avalanche of emails (depending on where you live and the events you might be more likely to see!)
It wasn't long before we had two sponsors in the Senate: Christine Rolfes and Ann Rivers, both of whom received the Advocacy Award from WAETAG last year. Getting them to sign on didn't seem like quite as much of a stretch, since they have already demonstrated their support for HC.
The big surprise came when Brandon Vick agreed to sponsor a companion bill in the House! Then we started getting additional co-sponsors, six more so far on the House version and two more so far on the Senate.
That brings us up to today, January 29, 2018, the date of the public hearing for the House bill. The public hearing with only 15 minutes available for public comment!
I've never testified before the legislature before, so here's a little primer for any teachers who might want to go "speak truth to power" during the school year.
You can access the video of the public hearing on the bill. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click on January 29, 2018. Rep. Santos actually gave us more than 15 minutes. Even so, the video is less than half an hour.
Next steps? Come on, you took civics. The bill has to make it out of committee in both the House and the Senate. It has to pass in both the House and the Senate. Any differences between the bills have to be ironed out in committee and the compromise bill has to pass in both the House and the Senate. And the governor has to sign it into law.
Keep that tsunami/blizzard/avalanche coming!
By: Jen FLo
As part of the classroom recipe, differentiation is a way of thinking about teaching. It's how teachers know their students. It's how we adapt to meet them where they are at. And, it is often a part of a comprehensive program working with highly capable students, grades K-12.
Teachers differentiate across four domains: content, process, products, and learning environment. It is our relationship with students, understanding our curriculum, assessments, strategies and routines, and flexibility that enable us to meet the needs of our students.
A quick internet search can take you to some fabulous resources to help you on that journey. Here are few favorites:
Ian Byrd's The Differentiator: A terrific resource when teachers are looking at varying task complexity.
For the Teachers: So many resources...personal favorite: check out the interactive infographic under the differentiation tab.
Dare to Differentiate: This wiki has many resources, offering a variety of specialized topics for teachers and strategies to add to your tool box.
If you like books, here are some favorites to explore:
How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms, 2nd Edition (2001) by Carol Ann Tomlinson
A Differentiated Approach to the Common Core (2014) by Carol Ann Tomlinson and Marcia B. Imbeau
Differentiation in the Elementary Grades (2018) by Kristina J. Doubet and Jessica A. Hockett
Differentiation in Middle and High School (2018) by Kristina J. Doubet and Jessica A. Hockett
Each school year, teachers encounter students that are different than the year before...our profession is an art form. We are masters of adaptation and adjustment, meeting our students where they are at, not where we wish they were.
Or, as Carol Ann Tomlinson said, "I have little interest in a surgeon who says, "I learned that when I was in medical school. Why should I revisit it?" or who says, 'I've done that operation the same way for ten years. Don't bother me with new approaches.' I see teaching in the same way." (Education Week)
Conference Wrap up and Looking Ahead
By: Wendy Clark, Vice President & Conference Chair
The WAETAG Board and I would like to extend a sincere thank you to those that attended our conference last October. Record numbers of attendees enjoyed time together with peers in their field and walked away with more tools to help students grow. Our membership and attendance has continued to grow each year, and 2017 was no exception with the highest number of attendees to date. Hopefully, by now, you have been able to share some of what you took away from the keynote speakers and presenters with your students and, possibly, other teachers and administrators in your district. By doing so, we can all help keep Highly Capable needs at the forefront ensuring all students are learning something new each and every day.
For the hundreds of you who completed the online feedback form, we thank you. We use the feedback from that survey to do whatever we can to make improvements for you each year. We received so many heartfelt comments and testimonials, such as:
"It is invigorating to be surrounded by people who are looking to explore, expand and engage in critical thinking. My biggest take away (aside from having several ideas/strategies that I would like to implement this year) is that I am on the right track in my classroom."
"The speakers and session topics were excellent. I learned so much as a first-time attendee and new HCP teacher. I also enjoyed time to network and meet other teachers from around the state. My greatest take away is that I now have a long list of ideas I can use in my classroom, and resources and I can seek out to learn more."
"The instructional techniques and resources are always a favorite of mine."
"Coming with other colleagues and being able to debrief after the day was over was really enjoyable. We jig-sawed a few of the sessions so that we could gain more information. Lots of new things to implement and good advice/new ways of thinking to take back to our school."
"The nationally renowned speakers and their sessions made the whole conference worth it. I'm leaving inspired and invigorated to start something new with my HC kiddos. Thanks!"
"I always come away with a new enthusiasm for my job. There are practical ideas to make learning in my classroom more meaningful and enriching for my students."
"Every session I attended at the WAETAG conference was excellent and inspiring! At the end of the conference, I felt that I had a much stronger understanding of the needs of our highly capable students and am now more equipped to help meet their varied needs. I am so grateful for this conference and plan to attend every year that I possibly can!"
"WAETAG is a place you can find exactly what you need from professionals in the field of gifted education. The conference covers academics, behavior, classroom management, and parenting tips. All useful for people who are directly working with gifted and talented kids in any form."
We're looking forward to serving your needs, and those of your students. Join us for WAETAG's 34th Annual Gifted Education Conference on Innovation and Equity. These are two days packed full of dynamic keynotes presented by Dr. Kristina Henry Collins and Lisa Van Gemert (Gifted Guru), hands-on workshops, and powerful breakout sessions led by industry leaders throughout the state and country. For more about these nationally renowned keynote speakers, see below.
Dr. Kristina Henry Collins
Dr. Kristina Henry Collins' research focuses on STEM identity, STEM talent development, parent engagement, and multicultural gifted education. She is a graduate of the The University of Georgia, where she earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology. She also holds an Ed.S. in educational psychology from the The University of Georgia, a M.S.Ed. in mathematics from Jacksonville State University, a B.S. in engineering from the University of Alabama, and a Military Science diploma in cryptology from the United States Navy. Dr. Collins has many years of experience with STEM teaching and leading in Title I middle schools and high schools. Her professional certifications include technology education, AP computer science, and educational leadership/administration. At Texas State University, she teaches courses related to talent development and gifted education.
Gifted Guru, Lisa Van Gemert
From Lisa's website, www.giftedguru.com
"My real name is Lisa Van Gemert (pronounced "gammert"). I'm an educator by training, and I'm a Giftedland native - I was a gifted student, I've raised three gifted kids, and I've taught gifted students. The gifted trifecta! I've been a teacher, a school administrator, a homeschooling mom, a paralegal, an Army Intelligence Analyst (yep), and a cheerleader. Not in that order. I translate research into language and strategies everyone can use to improve their performance, efficacy, and enjoyment in what they do. I share best practices with schools and education conferences (and sometimes even businesses), specializing in the gifted. I'm known as the Gifted Guru (because "Van Gemert"), and my most favoritest thing anyone ever called me was "Ambassador of the Gifted.""