NAGC Compass Points
Dec. 13, 2012

From Where I Sit
NAGC: 2012 in Review

NAGC
As we approach the end of 2012, it is appropriate to recap the highlights of the past year in the life of NAGC — to celebrate what we've accomplished together, in spite of a sometimes non-supportive education environment. I am continually impressed with the commitment you make to NAGC and invite you to suggest ways to keep NAGC a vibrant, relevant and responsive national organization.

Realities of the Current Educational Landscape

This past year was a difficult one for education. The economic downturn took its toll on local and state budgets resulting in a loss of over 300,000 teaching jobs since June of 2009. It's not news that some of these were in gifted education. Between 2009 and 2011, 14 states reduced funding for gifted education programs and services. Starkly different views in Congress of the appropriate role of the federal government in education and an imperative to cut federal spending has made advocating in Washington for the TALENT Act and gifted services more challenging. Trends in education, such as greater privatization of educational services and the rise of charter schools and online instruction, add complexity to anticipating and creating services that respond to educators' needs.More

NAGC News
New Book in the NAGC Bookstore

NAGC
Edited by Mary Ruth Coleman and Susan K. Johnsen, Implementing RtI with Gifted Students shares how RtI can fit within the framework of gifted education programming models. This edited book is a useful reference guide for those interested in learning more about RtI and how it might be effectively implemented to meet the needs of all gifted students.

Chapters contributed by top gifted education experts address these topics:

The publication includes additional resources for schools: More

Advocacy Notes
Petition on TALENT Act

NAGC
Have you added your name to the gifted education petition on the White House website? The petition section provides a way for citizens to raise issues of concern in a very high-profile way. The TALENT Act petition calls attention to the academic needs of gifted students by drawing attention to the federal legislative initiative that was introduced in 2011. We'll need to reintroduce the legislation next year in the 113th Congress, but the petition is a great way to show the White House that there is grassroots support for federal action in support of high-ability learners. Add your name today here. The deadline to sign is December 26.More

Letter to Parents on STEM Education
NAGC
The drumbeat continues on STEM education and U.S. competitiveness. This time the non-partisan Center for the Study of the President published a Letter on STEM Education to America's Parents that emphasizes that the U.S. education system must change in order to meet the needs of U.S. industry in our global marketplace. The "letter" has 10 suggestions for action, including insisting on rigorous assessments connected to the Common Core State Standards and for demanding action from Congress.

For those interested in additional information about STEM issues and gifted students, visit the STEM section of the NAGC website.More

Teacher Corner
Tis the Season...

NAGC
In schools across the country, teachers and students are looking forward to the holiday break, bringing much-needed rest and distance from the classroom. But there are a few weeks to go yet, and a great deal to do in preparation for an organized and effective start to the New Year.

Returning in January from more than a week away from school can pose quite a challenge for both the teacher and the students; after all time away is time away. For me, with a grading period behind me, parent/teacher conferences wrapped up, and students' long-term projects collected and evaluated, I will be ready to begin short one-on-one conversations with my students before they too head out. Like a department store Santa, I'll try to uncover what they would like to get out of the second half of the year, related to content knowledge and/or creative productivity. I am sure to check my "list" more than twice, reviewing and re-evaluating their interests and learning styles, noting who has been naughty and who has been nice.More

Voices and Viewpoints
Scott L. Hunsaker
Past Chair, NAGC Leadership Development Committee

NAGC
If you read in Paula's column about all of the projects and programs accomplished over the past year, you're sure to have figured out that NAGC couldn't DO all this work without great volunteers. One person who has had a hand in encouraging more members to volunteer over the past three years is featured here in "Views and Viewpoints." As chair of the Leadership Development Committee, he and his committee members spent many hours recruiting potential leaders and board members into the volunteer fold.

What is your connection to gifted children/education?
As Associate Professor at Utah State University in Logan, UT, I coordinate all efforts related to gifted and talented education at Utah State University. This includes graduate and undergraduate level courses, endorsement courses and recommendations, and inter-institutional collaboration.
More

The Learning Curve
NAGC 2013 Call for Proposals

NAGC
The 2013 online NAGC Call for Convention Proposal system will open on December 18. This year, everyone is a "New User" on Abstract ScoreCard, the official name of our brand new convention proposal site. For our 60th anniversary NAGC is taking a giant leap forward with a new proposal submission system, a user-friendly platform with improved technical support. At any point in the submission process you can email, phone, or engage in a GoToMeeting with CadmiumCD, our new vendor. In addition, if you have any questions, you are reminded that you can contact Robin Feldman in the NAGC office or submit immediate feedback via an online form.

For proposal submissions, the first step will be to create a user name and password, after which you will be asked to complete a number of required tasks in order to complete your submission. The system will keep track of your progress, and you can return as many times as needed to edit, add, withdraw, or revise your submission. Each submitter can be a lead presenter on no more than two sessions and can appear as a co-presenter on up to two additional sessions. This rule does not apply to Signature Series sessions, which are invited sessions developed by the NAGC Program Chair.

All sessions are reviewed based on similar criteria: theoretical soundness, relevance of ideas, innovativeness, timeliness, clarity and coherence of proposal, and ability to attract an audience.

The process will start on December 17, 2012 and end on February 1, 2013. Stay tuned for an official announcement and URL to start your engine and "shift into high gear!"More

Homework for Some Gifted Students Can be Torture
The Washington Post
The first clue Bonnie Beavers had of her daughter's learning disability came in the second grade. The girl scored at the 99th percentile in math on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, but when her teacher divided the class into groups for math, she was not in the highest one.More

Beyond Talent and Smarts: Why Even Geniuses Struggle
MindShift
"The struggle with writing is over." That message, written on a Post-It note and affixed to his computer, brings the novelist Philip Roth great relief and contentment these days, according to a profile published in the New York Times. At the age of 79, the author of more than 31 acclaimed books says he is finished with writing, and he couldn't be happier. "I look at that note every morning," he told Times reporter Charles McGrath, "and it gives me such strength."More

Why Your Gifted Teen May Act Anything But Gifted
Psychology Today Magazine
Christopher Taibbi, a specialist in gifted education and co-authored of several books on teaching, writes: "In my last article in this series, we discussed the importance and power of visualization in the long-term retention of information. Visualization, as you may recall, lies primarily in the occipital lobe of the brain, which is located at the back of the skull. (Imagine if you ran a lap at your local pool — a true no-no, of course — and slipped backward on a slick of water. It would be that portion of the brain and the tender portions below that would receive the majority of the impact and is at least partially the reason you might very well see stars or black out before the lifeguard got to you.)"More

Where Do You Get Perfectionism: From the Inside Out or the Outside In?
Talent Development Resources
Lisa Erickson, an experienced Seattle-based counselor, writes: "I've been thinking about varieties of perfectionism since having a discussion with a gifted trauma survivor. It became clear that some of their perfectionism was an expression of giftedness and some was related to family of origin issues. Same outcome, different sources."More

The Power of Parent Advocacy
WeAreGifted2
African American, Hispanic, Native American, first generation immigrant, and other culturally diverse children and youth are under-represented in gifted education and advanced learner programs nationwide. These young people are highly intelligent, creative, resilient, hard-working, and possess all of the traits required to enable them to be identified and served in publicly-funded programs in schools that are labeled gifted education and advanced learner classes. Almost every state has mandated that gifted children be identified and provided an appropriate education that meets their intellectual, leadership, arts and academic potential.More

Artsy Side of Advanced Placement Captures Different Audience
The Washington Post
Some students assume Donna Sinclair's advanced placement studio art course is a breeze because it lacks the exhausting three-hour exam that concludes other AP classes. Her students at Chantilly High School in Fairfax County, Va., know otherwise. They must produce a 24-piece portfolio, which consumes their days and nights, leaving no time for slacking off.More

Resources Lag for Gifted Kids
The Argus Leader
The money and teachers South Dakota public schools dedicate for gifted students has declined considerably since No Child Left Behind became law a decade ago, but school officials disagree about the effect on students. The law set a goal that all students become proficient in reading and math by 2014, while sending money to low-performing schools and requiring state education offices to intervene. Critics say the focus on getting every student proficient gave schools an incentive to ignore those already performing at a high level.More