Closing America’s High-achievement Gap: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Helping Our Most Talented Students Reach Their Full Potential, by Andy Smarick
The Philanthropy Roundtable publishes guidebooks to help philanthropists make decisions about their giving. The newest guidebook introduces readers to programs and institutions that give talented students of all ages, races, and income levels opportunities to fulfill their natural capabilities. While Smarick devotes most of the 165 page electronic document highlighting promising programming, he begins by making the case for “Why Students at the High End of the Achievement Continuum Also Deserve Attention” in Chapter 1 and “Defining, Defending, and Developing Education Programs for High Achievers” in Chapter 2.
Get a sense of the author’s approach from the following excerpt:
As a nation, we have recognized from the beginning that an education is essential to “the becoming.” Our tuition-free schools, our numerous programs for low-income and special-needs children, the many educational gifts of donors, and much more are explained by this. We seek to continue this strain of fundamentally democratic, egalitarian support for young climbers, through schools that will help them arrive no matter how humble their starting points. But for one group of students, we seem to hedge: those with special mental gifts, those deemed high-potential, those achieving at an unusually advanced level.
This book never argues for a moment that less attention should be given to America’s most at-risk kids. Instead, it argues that we ought to give increased attention to those at the top—both for their own sake and for the nation’s. And we believe strongly that philanthropists can lead the way in showing that these are not mutually exclusive undertakings.
In the pages to come, we make the case for why gifted education is important and why it should matter to donors. Then we provide general history and other background information on this unfortunately nebulous field so funders are able to see it in the context of education reform more generally and their current giving strategies.The bulk of the book is then dedicated to the various strategies and tactics a philanthropist might employ to support education of high-potential children, including the many ways leading donors are already doing so. (pp. 10-11)
Click here to access a pdf copy of the publication.
Because of increasing administrator interest about high-ability and high-potential learners, the National Association for Gifted Children(NAGC) convened a task force of principals and superintendents to develop an Administrator Toolbox. It contains concise videos, fact sheets, and supporting documents - tools that district and building leaders can use as briefing materials and as the starting point to advocate for and implement services for gifted students.
The materials in the Toolbox address:
- the rationale for gifted education services,
- the critical elements of gifted education programming,
- accountability for gifted student learning, and
- the connection between gifted education and other district and school initiatives such as 21st century skills and Response to Intervention.
Click here to access the Toolbox.
Setting the Bar for High-Ability Students: An Article for Secondary Principals
The October issue of Principal Leadership, the monthly magazine of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), includes an article about the implications of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for high ability-students.The article provides some of the reasons the CCSS can be problematic for gifted students and provides examples of how secondary schools can address the needs of gifted students in the CCSS era. It is co-authored by NAGC President Tracy Cross and Buck Green, principal of Johns Creek High School in Fulton County, Georgia. NASSP has provided an open link to the article. Click here to access it.
Wisconsin RtI Stories
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, in partnership with the Educational Communications Board, has produced Wisconsin RtI Stories. Share the journeys of three Wisconsin schools as they put RtI into practice to increase success for all students. This multi-media resource features four high-quality videos that provide an introduction to RtI and a look at the three components of an RtI system: Collaboration; High Quality Instruction; and Balanced Assessment. Each video is accompanied by a Conversation Guide to use for self-reflection or as prompts for collegial discussions. In addition, there is a Go Deeper section that features uncut bonus videos. You might be particularly interested in the bonus videos in "Collaboration," where you can sit in on two Student Intervention Team meetings for a student with gifts and talents. Click here to access Wisconsin RtI Stories.
Gifted and Talented Teacher License
Wisconsin offers an add-on Gifted and Talented Teacher license. In order to receive this certification, you must already hold a valid Wisconsin teaching license. Presently, there is one approved program, jointly offered through UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater. Click here to find out additional information.
Common Core State Standards and Gifted Education
Forty-six states have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and forty-five states have adopted the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Development of these state-based standards was coordinated by the National Governor's Association (NGA) and the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). They are aligned with expectations for success in college and the workplace, so stress rigor, depth, clarity, and coherence. The CCSS draw from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Frameworks in Reading and Writing and the Trends in International and Science Study (TIMMS) report in mathematics.
While the CCSS are strong, they are not sufficiently advanced to meet the needs of most students with gifts and talents. Nationally, we are recommending three content adaptations of these standards:
- Accelerate and streamline.
- Add complexity and depth and incorporate opportunities to create and to be innovative.
- Use cross-disciplinary content and integrate standards from two or more disciplines.
In addition to these content modifications, it's important that we also differentiate classroom assessments to encourage higher level reasoning and creative production.
Read more about the Common Core State Standards and Gifted Education in a White Paper published by the National Association for Gifted Children. Click here to access a copy.
Two new publications are also now available:
Using the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts with Gifted and Advanced Learners.
Using the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics with Gifted and Advanced Learners (jointly published by the National Association for Gifted Children, the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics).