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Black Lives Matter

The leaders of the Gifted Education Family Network (GEFN) are devastated by the recent and senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We recognize that the events of the past month do not exist in isolation. We condemn unjust practices and policies that historically have harmed, endangered, and oppressed Black families in all aspects of our society. We denounce the injustice of acts of violence, racial microaggressions, hate crimes, and murders committed against Black fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters across our nation. We grieve the horrific impact of individual biases and systemic anti-Black racism on Black families, including our Black families in Texas. We join in the call to action for reforms to address discriminatory practices in our criminal justice system, the use of deadly force by police, and injustice suffered by all impacted by racism.

Equity is central to the mission and vision of our organization. Children do not have the opportunity to learn and achieve their full potential when their families are constantly concerned about their safety or when educational systems do not value their contributions. Further, if all children, regardless of their cultural, ethnic, and racial identities, are not afforded access to needed educational opportunities, humanity will miss the opportunity to engage the invaluable, precious human capital these individuals provide, and we all suffer.

We stand with everyone who is calling out for justice, equality, and the end of structural racism. As advocates for gifted education, we pledge to use our work to inform, support, and empower parents to insist on critical improvement in funding and policy initiatives that impact the future of gifted education, especially for underrepresented and underserved students.

We ask that all families involved in gifted education join us in an explicit call to action from our respective communities to (1) listen to Black voices when they share their lived experiences, perspectives, and solutions for change, (2) to acknowledge and understand our own implicit biases, (3) to examine the failures of our criminal justice system, (4) to educate ourselves on culturally specific concepts in gifted education, and (5) to take immediate action to advocate for justice and change. We cannot tolerate continued systemic anti-Black racism that has gone unaddressed in our country for far too long.

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Spring 2020 Newsletter

Gifted Education Family Network

Newsletter • Spring 2020

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TOP STORY 

Stay home & reach out! 

Help grow our network of gifted families

Please consider asking friends and family across Texas to join our Gifted Education Family Network. It’s new, it’s free, and its purpose is to advocate for strong, vibrant, and appropriately challenging education programs for students with exceptional potential. 

The broader our reach, the more GT families can connect across Texas, and the better we can all support GT learning in our schools and at home.  Learn more about the GEFN mission and vision.

RESOURCES: GT IN THE TIME OF COVID-19 

Our new website features a curated list of possible ways to support gifted children during our global crisis:

Actively help others. Volunteering to make a positive difference can help gifted kids cope with the suffering they see. Check out our running list of ideas. If your family has found a unique way to serve others during this time of crisis and isolation — please email us about it. We plan to share selected ideas on our website and social media.

Accelerate learning. Acceleration and flexible pacing are effective and important strategies for meeting the needs of gifted students. We have a guide to acceleration resources, including official Texas public school Credit by Exam opportunities.

Take time for enrichment. GT families in our network have curated a list of our favorite online enrichment opportunities to challenge and inspire.

View all resources on one page, including Basic Needs and 2e Needs.

KUDOS

Thank you, school districts

We applaud districts that have launched a learning at home model to sustain our children during this time of school closure. That connection with the school community has provided our families with some normalcy in a turbulent time. Announced on April 17 by Executive order of the Governor, Texas schools are closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.

Be well

We wish the very best of health and well-being for every family in our network. To those GEFN families on the front lines of providing essential services to our community: our deepest thanks. Please take very good care.

EYE ON THE TEXAS LEGISLATURE

Watching the Texas Senate Education Committee

As of May 2019, Texas law does not require public school districts to spend a specific dollar amount on gifted education. The Texas Senate Education Committee scheduled a hearing for March 11, 2020 (postponed due to statewide closures for coronavirus) at which “monitoring gifted services” was on the agenda. ACTION ITEM: When future testimony is needed to advocate for GT services, would you or your family members be willing to represent gifted families by testifying? Get in touch and we will put you in contact with parents and students who have experience testifying!

YOUR CORNER OF TEXAS

Events near you

Is your local GT parent support group hosting a public event or virtual meetup? Or … are you feeling like the only GT family in town? Please let us know about it. GEFN wants to connect gifted families in your area. Get in touch and we’ll try to help advertise events, meetups or even “gifted family seeks other gifted families in Anytown, Texas” to help connect gifted families in Texas. 

Noticing any changes to gifted ed in your school?

In Texas public school districts, we depend on local school boards to fund programs that help gifted learners thrive. Services can vary greatly from district to district. Are you noticing changes in gifted services? Please let us know what you’re hearing in your area. Email us, or use our web contact form, to share your feedback.

2e NEWS

Supporting twice-exceptional students

Gifted Education Review Issue #5 (free PDF) includes articles about gifted students with ADHD, strengths-based instruction for 2e learners, and subject acceleration experiences of 2e students.

RECAP: 2020 BAYLOR GT PARENT CONFERENCE

Super sessions & networking opportunities galore at Baylor U’s Gifted Parent Conference  

We loved meeting all the parents who attended this spring’s GT Parent Conference hosted by the Baylor Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, at Baylor University in Waco. Around 70 Texas parents attended. A huge thank you to Dr. Jennifer H. Robins and Dr. Todd Kettler with the Baylor School of Education, and thanks to the incredible presenters: keynote speaker Justin Vawter of NuMinds Enrichment, Dr. Laila Sanguras, Dr. Cheryl Taliaferro, Dr. Tracey Sulak, Dr. Julia Hejduk, Dr. James Bishop, Tracy Fisher, Cole Sussman, Kailey Farris, and parent group leader panelists from six districts. 

Save the date for the next GT Parent Conference on January 30, 2021 at Baylor University. 

What’s next? If your organization is hosting an inexpensive opportunity for parent learning, please let us know!

BEHIND THE SCENES

Startup status: Green light!

The Gifted Education Family Network is finalizing our Executive Board and confirming professional advisors and business & community sponsors. We’re seeking families (including parents and students) and professionals to join us in our mission. Sign up for the network here.

LET’S CONNECT

Ready to network? Here’s how.

QUOTABLE

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

— John Muir

NEW! Free Parent Resource on Full Grade Acceleration

Get the PDF

“Most parents have heard of ‘skipping grades.’ They may not know, however, that research recommendations can help educators and parents determine whether a grade skip – also called full grade acceleration – may be in a student’s best interest. What does research tell us about this practice, and how does this research address myths and concerns about acceleration?”

The Gifted Education Family Network and Gifted Unlimited, LLC are excited to announce the release of a free parent resource on full grade acceleration.

Free and available for download, this publication summarizes research on acceleration, offers sources and links for further reading, and includes concerns specific to Texas public school students.

The Gifted Education Family Network wishes to thank Gifted Unlimited, LLC for its partnership in creating this resource for parents!

Sources and links for further reading are included. Get the PDF now.

July 21 and 23, 2020: SENG Panel of 13 Leading Black Scholars of GT Education

Online event hosted by SENG – Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted

Join SENG’s next Presidential Town Hall Meeting for two exclusive SENGinar panel discussions with 13 leading Black Scholars in Gifted and Talented Education.  Parents and educators are encouraged to attend and learn from the panelists’ personal testimonies, strategies, and practices.

Presenters for this event represent the Consortium for Inclusion of Underrepresented Racial Groups in Gifted Education (I-URGGE).  Among the panelists is SENG President Dr. Kristina Collins, one of the Professional Advisors on the leadership team of the Gifted Education Family Network.

The online event includes two sessions:

  • Session 1 – July 21 at 7pm EST (6pm Central): “From Courageous Conversations to Courageous Actions.”
  • Session 2 – July 23 at 7pm EST (6pm Central): “Unpacking the Lived Experiences of Gifted Black Scholars in America Today.”
Click here to register!

 

January 30, 2021: GT Parent Conference at Baylor U

Baylor’s Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development will host its 2nd annual parent conference on January 30, 2021.

This is an event designed to provide parents of gifted and talented students with resources, information, and opportunities to network with other parents and find needed support.

Save the date, and stay tuned for further details!

past / Feb. 22, 2020: GT Parent Conference at Baylor U

Conference attendees

This event has occurred.

Super sessions & networking opportunities galore at Baylor U’s Gifted Parent Conference  

We loved meeting all the parents who attended this spring’s GT Parent Conference hosted by the Baylor Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, at Baylor University in Waco. Around 70 Texas parents attended.

A huge thank you to Dr. Jennifer H. Robins and Dr. Todd Kettler with the Baylor School of Education, and thanks to the incredible presenters: keynote speaker Justin Vawter of NuMinds Enrichment, Dr. Laila Sanguras, Dr. Cheryl Taliaferro, Dr. Tracey Sulak, Dr. Julia Hejduk, Dr. James Bishop, Tracy Fisher, Cole Sussman, Kailey Farris, and parent group leader panelists from six districts.

Save the date for the next GT Parent Conference on January 30, 2021 at Baylor University. 

What’s next? If your organization is hosting an inexpensive opportunity for parent learning, please let us know!


Original announcement:

Registration is open for the inaugural GT Parent Conference at the Baylor Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development!

Saturday, February 22, 2020, from 9am-3pm, with a parent networking reception from 3pm-4pm.

For session details and registration, click here, then click on the words Parent Conference.