NAGC Compass Points
May. 24, 2012

From Where We Sit
Defining — and Implementing — What works with
Low-income, High-ability Learners

Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, NAGC President and Nancy Green, NAGC Executive Director

Zora Neale Hurston, American writer and folklorist once said, "Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose." In her own way, Hurston has captured the essence of an important upcoming event hosted by NAGC on May 30-31. It's the National Summit on Low-Income, High-Ability Learners, and with funding from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, it will bring together researchers, practitioners, and education decision makers to consider a new research agenda for the field of gifted education, focused on the needs of promising learners from poverty.

Using research findings and recommendations from the "Overlooked Gems" conference held in 2006 as a starting point, the Summit will collect and distill more recent research findings to determine their implications for policy and practice. During a day-and-a-half of panel presentations and small-group discussions, invited guests will take stock of what is known — and what is critical to know — about this population in order to guide and frame future research to inform effective classroom and school practice. In examining results from in-school and supplemental programs that work with promising learners from poverty, as well as what it takes to build a psychological identity that supports commitment to high achievement, the group will consider common success factors across programs, how teacher training must change to provide more challenge to children, how we can change attitudes and beliefs, and how curriculum and programming fits into the service equation.More

NAGC News to Note
Make Your Vote Count

The NAGC Elections Committee had a full plate, as it reviewed both Board of Directors applications and Network leadership candidates.

NAGC's online elections will open June 11! E-ballots will be sent to individual members using the email address we have on file for you. You may update your NAGC information online here. Questions? Please call NAGC at 202/785-4268 for assistance.More

Could You Be the Next Association Editor?
NAGC is seeking applicants for the next Association Editor. The editor chairs the Publications Committee and coordinates work with the NAGC Board of Directors and the NAGC National office. The three-year appointment begins on Sept. 1. Click here for more information. Application deadline is June 15.More

Capital Update
Common Core Science Standards: Comments Invited

The draft Common Core State Standards in Science are available for public comment until June 1. Achieve, Inc., is coordinating the standards and welcomes feedback. NAGC plans to submit comments on behalf of the organization, but NAGC members with expertise in science and gifted and talented education are also encouraged to review the standards and submit comments related to their appropriateness for gifted and talented students.More

Network News
I Wish Someone Had Told Me

Dr. Beverly A. Trail, Special Populations Network Chair
We asked our NAGC Network leaders to contribute to Compass Points by completing the sentence: "I wish someone would have told me … " It could be a teaching technique, something about gifted children, a great resource a Network or a general NAGC member should know about. We hope you enjoy this series.More

Parent & Community Corner
Setting Goals

Goal setting and achievement go hand-in-hand. It is important for children to know where they want to go and what it will take in order to make it happen. This understanding relates to both short-term goals of accomplishing tasks in the present, as well as long-range goals for the future. Teachers and parents come to NAGC with questions which is where a unique NAGC publication comes in! Connecting for High Potential is designed to provide practical advice to parents, teachers, and community members as they work together to support high-ability learners in educational settings. NAGC members have exclusive access to this new issue of CHP, as well as all past issues here.More

The NAGC Bookshelf
The Latest from NAGC: Gifted Program Evaluation

Gifted Program Evaluation: A Handbook for Administrators and Coordinators by Kristie Speirs Neumeister and Virginia Hays Burney, is designed to assist administrators in designing, conducting, and reporting on an in-house evaluation of their gifted programs. Written with the busy administrator in mind, this handbook includes a clear, step-by-step process for evaluating each of the main elements of gifted programs as well as reproducible worksheets, surveys, and resources to facilitate a thorough evaluation grounded in best practices in gifted education. You may order this brand new NAGC publication online.More

The Learning Curve

You want "action?" You'll find it on the day prior to the NAGC 59th Annual Convention in Denver, Nov. 14. NAGC Action Labs, designed by local educators, artists, and administrators, provide experiential learning opportunities that will broaden your perspective and give you ideas to use back home in the classroom.

All Action Lab descriptions can be found here. Check out the revised description for Action Lab A9. "From Inside the O-Zone to Wings Over the Rockies." The complete description failed to appear in the preliminary program that was mailed in April (it has been updated on the NAGC website).

New this year — Action Lab attendees will begin the day with a general session to maximize their learning experience.

To ensure that the Action Labs go as planned, preregistration is required by Sept. 21. Please register as early as possible to ensure your spot. Let's cheer for the Colorado volunteers who have planned a broad offering of Action Labs for 2012! Go, Team!More

Our Community
Newsweek Magazine Picks America's Best High Schools

The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky at Western Kentucky University has been recognized by Newsweek magazine as the nation's top high school.

America's Best High Schools 2012, released online Sunday and in the May 28, print edition of the magazine, recognized 1,000 schools from across the United States. The Gatton Academy, which opened in 2007, was ranked fifth on the 2011 list.

Rounding out the top five schools were The School for the Talented and Gifted Magnet (Dallas), BASIS Scottsdale (Arizona), School of Science and Engineering Magnet (Dallas), and BASIS Tucson (Arizona).

Congratulations to all the advocates in Kentucky who worked for more than a decade to make the statewide, public, residential math-science high school a reality. More

Gifted Programs Aim to Regain Budget Toehold
Education Week (subscription required)
The 24-year-old Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program has been cut in the past, but its cut a year ago has hit advocates for the gifted especially hard: They say they don't understand why the program has lost support at the same time the administration is calling for more innovation to keep the United States globally competitive and turn the economy around.More

In Sputnik Moment for STEM, US Must Train More, Better Teachers
U.S.News & World Report
Houston, we have a problem. America's well-traveled path of excellence in science, technology, engineering, and math — which put a man on the moon, led the biotechnology revolution, and transformed the way the world connects and communicates — is no longer leading us where we need to go. Education in these fields, known collectively as the STEM subjects, is not adequately preparing today's students to solve our most pressing challenges and extend our rich history of success and global leadership through the 21st century.More

Indiana Teachers Helping Ability Students Succeed Inside and
Outside the Classroom

Gifted, smart and advanced are all words often used to describe children in Elkhart's PEP program in Indiana. They generally develop skills earlier, pick up on things quicker and thrive academically. The PEP program allows students, who are more advanced than their peers, to study together. Kids test into the program in second grade and then stay with the same group of students all the way through sixth grade. PEP stands for providing for exceptional potential.More

Summer Learning
Education Week Teacher
An array of great summer professional development opportunities are available for teachers (and parents) who want to expand their knowledge of the learning and social/emotional needs of gifted and advanced learners. Some of these conferences I have attended myself over the years, and I always find them to be both fun and enlightening, writes Tamara Fisher, a K-12 gifted education specialist.More

Teacher-Developed Apps Fill Lesson Gaps
U.S. News & World Report
Facebook and Angry Birds were two of the most downloaded apps last year, but that doesn't mean Web and mobile applications are all play. There are tens of thousands of educational apps aimed at teaching high school students everything from physics to Japanese. But not all of those apps are created equal.More

Why Rating Teachers By Test Scores Won't Work
The Washington Post (blog)
Jay Mathews, an education columnist for The Washington Post, discusses value-added assessments to rate teachers. He adds: "Unfortunately, value-added is still growing in every corner of our nation, including D.C. schools, despite all that torn flesh and missing pieces. It's like those monsters lumbering through this year's action films."More

Gifted Children
Euronews' Learning World
Being gifted has long been equated to being intelligent and having a high IQ. However, many scholars believe that students can also be gifted in the sense of having increased emotional or social intelligence. Being gifted can be a double-edged sword: smart students can get bored and frustrated if their classmates and teachers fail to engage with their special abilities. More