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Revisiting (Ohio) Gifted in the 21st Century — Finding 7

April 12, 2010

The Ohio Association for Gifted Children (OAGC) has been invited to share  concerns/requests at the April State Board of Education regarding the upcoming education budget.  As a prelude to this presentation, the High Ability bloggers thought it would be interesting to highlight the progress made on the seven findings in the “Gifted in the 21st Century” Task Force Report.  This report was released in 2002.  This week we will look at Finding 7.

Finding 7. Families and Community: VanTassel-Baska (1997) recommends stronger parent involvement in local programming in Ohio districts. Families and community are an integral part of all children’s education. It is imperative that the ODE and local districts acknowledge the importance of families in the entire process of educating our children who are gifted.

Some important initial steps have been taken to promote greater involvement of families and communities in gifted education. For example, the last revision of the gifted education operating standards added language requiring districts to provide a copy of a gifted student’s WEP to his or her parents, and the state model acceleration policy requires districts to allow parents to participate in the acceleration evaluation and planning process. The ODE has also taken first steps to reach out to parents of young children on gifted issues with assistance from its family and community engagement coordinator and to parents who speak languages other than English by translating frequently accessed documents into foreign languages commonly spoken in the state. Increased funding for gifted coordinators should also help build capacity at the local level for family engagement over time. Two parent organizations (in addition to the OAGC) currently have representation on the new gifted education task force.

Increasing community involvement is another area in which the credit flexibility initiative could be helpful for gifted students at the secondary level. The gifted operating standards explicitly allow gifted coordinators to facilitate mentorship and internship experiences for gifted students, and the credit flexibility policy allows students to earn credit for mentorships and internships aligned to academic goals. The stage, therefore, is set for leaders and experts in local businesses, governments, community groups and arts organizations to work directly with gifted students and extend their learning beyond the walls of the school.

A parent’s involvement in his or her child’s education is ultimately a matter more of personal responsibility more than of state or local policy, but policy can help responsible parents play a stronger and more effective role. This starts with providing access to more and better information about what and how gifted students are doing in school. Expanding screening efforts and communicating results would yield helpful information to parents on their children’s needs and abilities. A quality gifted education performance indicator would help parents of gifted students understand and support district improvement efforts. Finally, requiring and providing basic training on characteristics of gifted students and appropriate educational strategies for classroom teachers, whom parents rely on for guidance and who serve as the primary points of contact between families and schools, is perhaps the most important step that state and district leaders could take to help parents help their gifted children attain their goals and achieve to their full potential.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Collier permalink
    April 12, 2010 5:53 pm

    I think many school districts fail at welcoming and involving parents in the curriculum and academic issues. I have wondered many times if this is not actually deliberate. Parents seem to be much more welcomed for fundraisers, athletics, and other non-classroom issues. Unfortunately, this sets a tone for the students and the school environment as to what is more important. Booster clubs have much more clout than PTOs, PTAs and parents at large. Parents at large are emotionally blackmailed to help support levies, but the booster clubs get the spoils.

  2. January 12, 2012 12:59 pm

    Rethinking about Gifted Education: If governments have the ability they should do an educational step. From the education point of view we must develop Gifted Education systems as critical mass towards knowledge based economy.

    I hope Gifted Worlds (www.giftedworlds.com ) will do so and specially in the 3rd world.

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