Good news for teachers and gifted students in Wisconsin! The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December just may be the ticket needed to put focus on the needs of gifted students back into the sight of the Wisconsin Department of education, school boards and administrators. All school districts will be asked to report on how ALL students are growing, including those students exceeding benchmarks. Additionally, schools receiving Title II funds must provide for and explain how they will use title money to address the needs of gifted students, a provision never before provided. I’ve been using the NAGC document in this link as an advocacy tool, handing out copies to administrators and purposefully mentioning it with staff and parents. My goal is to build awareness of the provisions of ESSA for gifted students as well as the lack of funding in the state of Wisconsin.
In addition to the provisions in ESSA, Wisconsin has received two Javits grants totaling over $800,000. Both grants focus on finding and serving under-represented and underserved students. One is through the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth and the other is through the Wisconsin Department of Education. The potential reach of these grants could impact your school district. For more information about the Javits grants Wisconsin has secured, click here.
There are many ways to advocate for students. Sometimes using the label “gifted” is an advocacy tool. Other times it seems the label gets in the way. In my work as an a gifted coordinator I have found that the label helps open the conversation. After that, I don’t use it anymore. My goal is to find the best placement for ALL students—despite any label. One of the most powerful and effective strategies I have found is to focus conversations on the intersection of student needs and evidence that supports the need and where the individual student is in relation to meeting that need. Check out the article,Academic Acceleration—Is it Right for my Child? By Dr. Susan Scheibel. I plan to share this article with every administrator and teacher in my district. Not every student needs to take the same learning path. Accelerated learning for more students than ever before could become a reality—especially with the technology tools we have at our fingertips!