This will be my last blog at the WATG President. On November 17th I hand the baton to Cathy Schmit whom I know will lead the organization in accomplishing amazing things.
During the past two years I've had the pleasure of a thousand conversations (or more) with individuals in Wisconsin whom have an interest in students with gifts and talents. The reasons for these conversations covered a wide variety of topics. No matter what spurred the conversation a common thread of emotion was woven through every conversation; passion. That feeling of passion focused either on someone trying to understand or a passion to be understood.
If you are reading this blog changes are you are one of the people who has been part of a passionate conversation with me or others around identifying or helping students with gifts or talents. Regardless of the side of this conversation you are on, I invite you to please continue to converse. Growing understanding the needs of this special group of students needs to endure.
For many students the gap between need and programming persists. A lack of understanding that there truly is a need and that schools have an obligation to meet those needs is fueled by the meager funding in the state of Wisconsin for advanced learners programming. The law calls for identification and programming in five areas. Yet the current funding structures for public schools combined with the absence of funding for gifted programming makes it immensely difficult to support many avenues for providing students with appropriate learning paths.
This lack of understanding and lack of funding has led to a lack of programming for some of our most fragile learners. I’m not talking about students who do school well. Underserved students are found in every school and from every background. Students are doing their best to learn and grow sometimes despite the roadblocks and hoops they need to navigate. Some wait patiently, some give up. Some rebel.
As I leave my post as President I commit to advocating in stronger ways than ever for these students--who wish and hope and wait for us to challenge them. I would love it if you joined me in spreading the message of advocacy, especially to our legislators and the Department of Education. If you are interested in helping with advocacy efforts across the state, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. As we build our toolbox of strategies I will include you in or the work ahead of us.
On behalf of the students, thank you for your commitment to the work!