Thursday, July 24, 2014

Big Surprise Follow-up

Thanks for your support on Monday's post. Thanks for sharing the link, spreading the word, and especially thank you for signing the petition. Every single voice matters.

I received some questions about my project. Next week, I will post some new information that addresses some of these questions, but today I wanted to share two video links with you.

The term gifted child is often misunderstood by parents, educators, and students. Sometimes it appears threatening, or exclusionary, or elitist. Here's a quick video (put together by gifted kids) to dispel myths about gifted kids. Myth 4 addresses "All children are gifted" from a gifted child's perspective (3:26)--comparing stellar academics to stellar athletes.

Many people only see the great side of giftedness--the "bright" side. There is a really hard, dark side to being gifted--lack of self-esteem, struggles with social skills and fitting in, bullying, and biases held by others who have limited experience with gifted kids. Dr. Dan Peters does an excellent job explaining some of the developmental issues faced by gifted kids. "[Giftedness] doesn't excuse behavior, we have to understand behavior. All too often these kids are misunderstood" (0:28). A little social skills training could help gifted kids fit in better and curb some of their quirky behaviors in class. He also addresses some of the biases held about gifted kids--that if they're so "gifted," then they must be good at everything all the time. His comments on this issue are enlightening.

I created a new link on the For Mesa's Gifted Kids website--links to these videos and a few more clips that give a better perspective of what it's like to be a gifted child and ways that education can be changed to better serve the needs of all students.

Please share this new information with those around you--Facebook, Instagram, a phone call to your grandma's best friend.

And please, please, please--if you haven't signed the petition, please add your support. If your kids haven't signed it, their opinion counts just as much as an adult's, maybe even more. They know what is working and what isn't, and letting their voices be heard will ensure that their ideas are considered as we effect change in MPS.



  1. I saved your last post on this so I could savor it and give it the thought and consideration it deserves. It was on my list for today to read and then sign the petition.

    When this post, however, popped up in my feed, I decided to read it right away, and I am in tears. I grew up in MPS where both my parents and my grandmother spent their careers. I taught school for 4 years in a small private school that had sponsorship from MPS. Teaching is in my blood, and MPS is in my family history.

    In the 3rd grade I was tested for a gifted program and didn't pass. I only know this because my 5th grade teacher later told me she had to beg and beg for me to be retested. I spent an hour a week, in the 6th grade, in a pull out class with one of the greatest teachers I've ever had.

    I was put in a gifted program in junior high, but the schedule conflicted with choir and art classes I'd wanted to take with my peers. It seemed so unfair that I had to choose. Partway through 8th grade I dropped out, partly over hurt feelings from a teacher's comment, and partly to be with my "normal" friends.

    In high school I took AP English. And that's about it. At one point I decided to "test' my teachers to see if anyone was paying attention and stopped doing all homework. Two teachers noticed. I got good grades in their classes. The rest of my classes, well I pulled it out at the last minute because I couldn't bear to out and out fail. Now, I look back and wonder how any of that made sense to me, and I wonder about the cost of those decisions. How did no one else notice? Even my father who taught in the next building over? I was smart but doing dismally in school.

    At my high school graduation I had to ask someone why my tassel was a different color than most. Turns out I was in the top 10% of my graduating class. I didn't know.

    I applied to one college - because my friends were going. I didn't explore other options - even with some automatic scholarships for MCC and ASU that I was baffled to receive without applying - and did not have any idea that I even should turn to any adults in my school for help in knowing how to best reach my potential.

    Sometimes I'm jealous of the opportunities gifted kids have, when I see some of the opportunities my friends' kids have today. Thank you for your research and for pointing out that we can and need to do so much more. I may not be a parent, but I am passionate both about education and about kids. I'm heading over to sign the petition and see how I can get involved in your cause. Thank you for taking this on.

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  3. Looks like I missed something big. As always, I am reading backwards.

    I'm going to check on it now.