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From Where I Sit
The NAGC Convention: An Opportunity to Make Lifelong Friends and Colleagues

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The 59th Annual NAGC Convention arrives in Denver in less than two months!! Over this past weekend the NAGC Board of Directors held their annual retreat in the Mile High City and got a preview of the hotel and the convention venue. The location for the Convention is in the heart of downtown Denver, with enticing shopping and entertainment right outside the door of the hotel at the 16th Street Mall. The National Convention Program Committee has planned an exciting program with keynotes by: Chester Finn, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and author of a new book, Exam Schools: Inside America's Most Selective Public High Schools, with Jessica Hockett; Temple Grandin, an inspirational speaker who will share her insights into the vibrant population we know as twice-exceptional children and how we can help some of our brightest children succeed; Ridley Pearson, a New York Times best-selling author of the Kingdom Keepers series and Peter and the Starcatchers; and Jonathan Mooney, who will weave together his personal experiences with his broad academic knowledge of education, psychology, sociology, and the history of learning and disability. Plus the Signature Sessions focus on pressing issues for all educators such as common core state standards and how they will affect programming and instruction for gifted students. More

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Common Core and Gifted: New Books Hot off the Press
Who ISN'T talking about the Common Core?

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Last February, a group of gifted education experts met at NAGC headquarters with one goal in mind: to develop handbooks that could help classroom teachers and gifted coordinators respond to the question, "How Do the Common Core State Standards Relate to Programs for the Gifted?” A short nine months later, these practical handbooks are hot off the press. Using the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Using the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics are both available through the NAGC Bookstore, and will be covered in a full-day pre-convention program, and through several special sessions during the rest of the NAGC Convention in November. More

Capital Update
Tightrope Walking

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Members of Congress have returned home until after the elections. When they return to Washington on November 13 for a "lame duck" session they face several critical "must-dos" — including working out a deficit reduction package to avert automatic spending cuts that will take effect on January 2. The spending cuts will have an impact on virtually all federal discretionary programs, including a damaging 8.2% cut to federal education spending. Although official Washington expects that some deal can be worked out before the deadline, the spending-taxing debate continues and has pushed nearly all other legislative priorities to the back burner.

Talking with the Candidates
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In the next 6 weeks, candidates for federal, state, and local office will be making the rounds in your states and communities. Many NAGC members will participate in a range of forums and events that provide opportunities to meet the candidates and discuss issues of concern. NAGC asked members to submit sample question they would ask candidates about gifted and talented students. Here are a few of the suggestions:
  • What can the [federal, state, local government] do to address the well-documented lack of progress by high-achieving students in the U.S.?
  • Do you support a public education system that offers specialized opportunities for advanced students to fully realize their academic potential?
  • What responsibilities do you think schools have for ensuring that the wide range of learning needs in our student population is met?
If you are planning to speak with candidates, or officials who are not standing for election, about the needs of gifted students, you might want to visit the NAGC advocacy toolkit or the advocacy in the news page to browse for "hooks" on which to discuss gifted education or for some of the data that supports the need for gifted education.

For Voices and Viewpoints
Susan K. Johnsen, Co-Chair, Professional Standards Committee

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Welcome to this new Compass Points column. "Voices and Viewpoints" features NAGC members telling us a little about their "day job" while sharing how their work with an NAGC committee or network relates to the field. As we highlight NAGC's work in keeping members informed and equipped on the Common Core State Standards, we felt it was appropriate to applaud Susan's contributions to the Professional Standards Committee. Susan is also the co-editor of the new book Using the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics with Gifted and Advanced Learners. More

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The Learning Curve
Common Core at Convention

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The authors of the new Common Core books are offering a pre-convention all-day workshop on Gifted Education Essentials: Supporting Gifted and High-Potential Learners in a Common Core State Standards Environment. The day begins with a broad and practical overview of the role of standards in designing and delivering high quality programs, followed by breakouts focused on implementing Common Core English Language Arts and Mathematics standards. The day closes with sessions focused on the relationships between program models and the Common Core. Separate registration is required. More

GT Neighborhood News
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The European Council for High Ability (ECHA) promotes communication about programs for high-ability youth among all of the countries in Europe. ECHA members seek to promote research on the development of talent in both academic domains and nonacademic domains such as sport, the arts, and music. Each ECHA country has a national correspondent whose role is to increase the visibility of ECHA in their country and report back to ECHA on national developments for talented youth. NAGC member Sidney Moon from the College of Education at Purdue University has just been named the first USA correspondent for ECHA, so she will be communicating with NAGC members periodically about ECHA events. If you have questions about ECHA, please contact Sidney.

 From the Headlines

So Your Gifted Child Gets All A's ... So What?
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Christopher Taibbi, a gifted resource teacher for elementary and middle schools in Roanoke, Va., writes: "I was reminded a few days ago that already, in my school district, we are just a few days shy of the first marking period's interim reports. Grades for each subject will be sent home so that parents can see how their child is faring thus far. Presumably, this gives the parents a heads-up about what the first quarter's final grades will look like, should everything else remain the same. For some parents and students this is helpful information. That B in math could easily become an A if Johnny just turned in his homework more consistently." More

Unexpected Journey
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Tamara Fisher, a K-12 gifted education specialist for a school district located on an Indian reservation in northwestern Montana and President of the Montana Association of Gifted and Talented Education, writes: "Today's post is a first-person account from an anonymous mom of a gifted child. I met her this summer at one of the gifted education conferences at which I presented and attended. She shared her daughter's story during a panel discussion that included experts in the field and parents of gifted kids. I offered her the opportunity to share her story with a wider audience because I felt it exemplified the roller coaster on which parents and gifted children sometimes (oftentimes?) find themselves." More

Alabama Seeing Growth in Advanced Placement Exams
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Alabama has led the nation for the last five years in the percentage growth of high school students who qualify on Advanced Placement exams and for the increase in minority students in AP courses, state education officials said. Gov. Robert Bentley, state school Superintendent Tommy Bice and supporters of the A Plus College Ready program announced that students who made qualifying scores have gone up 102 percent on math, science and English courses in the past five years. More

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As Children's Freedom Has Declined, So Has Their Creativity
Psychology Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If anything makes Americans stand tall internationally it is creativity. "American ingenuity" is admired everywhere. We are not the richest country (at least not as measured by smallest percentage in poverty), nor the healthiest (far from it), nor the country whose kids score highest on standardized tests (despite our politicians' misguided intentions to get us there), but we are the most inventive country. We are the great innovators, specialists in figuring out new ways of doing things and new things to do. Perhaps this derives from our frontier beginnings, or from our unique form of democracy with its emphasis on individual freedom and respect for nonconformity. More

Houston School Finds Ways To Challenge, Engage Exceptionally Smart Kids
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Educators say exceptionally intelligent children often lose interest in school, simply because they don't feel challenged. That problem draws dozens of parents every year to an unusual complex of buildings on Houston’s west side. What looks like a collection of trailers connected only by a network of sidewalks is actually the campus of a very specialized educational institution. The Rainard School for Gifted Students touts itself as Houston's only nonprofit, private school specializing in teaching exceptionally smart children. Each of the students has an IQ over 130. More

The Power Of A Child's Imagination: Caine's Arcade
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We know that kids have big imaginations. But sometimes we forget just how great they can be. We forget just how much joy and creative fire they can fuel. And we forget that our kids' imaginations can actually promote positive change. More

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Cutting Edge: Gifted Students Observe Heart Surgery
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Students from the gifted programs at Laurel and Lincoln high schools in Pennsylvania participated in a unique opportunity: the Open-Heart Surgery Observation program of the Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute at the hospital. The students were accompanied by their advisers, Toni Schooley, gifted coordinator at Laurel, and Jonica Walters, gifted coordinator at Lincoln. They observed the operation from an observation deck overlooking the surgical suite. During the surgery, a staff person from the Cardiovascular Institute explained what was happening in the operating room. More

Creativity and IQ: What Is Divergent Thinking? How Is It Helped By Sleep, Humor and Alcohol?
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Have you ever heard people say that they tend to be more of a right-brain or left-brain thinker? Left brain people are said to be more rational, analytic and controlling, while right brain people are said to be more intuitive, creative, emotionally expressive and spontaneous. While there is little evidence that a more dominant "half brain" (left or right) determines a person's personality as shown here, there is good evidence that regions of the right hemisphere have a key role in what is called divergent thinking and the creative problem solving that depends on it. More

IQ and Grit
Gifted Exchange    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There's a curious narrative running through some big thought pieces lately. The big idea is that Americans are obsessed with IQ. How obsessed are we? We even have gifted programs! But IQ turns out not to be the be-all and end-all of success. Character traits such as persistence matter more — ergo we should stop pushing children. More

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