Thursday, September 4, 2014


I've been pretty quiet for the last four weeks about my big project, not because I've let it go, but because there hasn't been that much to tell.

Until now. Let me fill you in.

I met with the district's assistant superintendent over gifted education and a member of the school board. Since I'm completely inexperienced when it comes to business meetings, I didn't know what I to expect or what I thought the outcome would be, and I was extremely nervous. I had the research, the statistics, the data, and the plan behind me, but I didn't know where to go from there. Lucky for me, Michelle Udall, our school board member, was helpful in getting to the roots of the issue--asking the hard questions of "How long would it take?" and "How much would it cost?" I left the assistant superintendent with a copy of my district-specific research and a link to For Mesa's Gifted Kids, directing them particularly to the survey results and the petition signatures.

I walked out of that meeting wondering if I had made any difference at all, but I knew that I had presented all of my information, that the assistant superintendent had listened to me (we spoke for over an hour until she had to leave for a meeting), and that the conversation for change had begun.

I waited two weeks before calling the assistant superintendent's office back, asking if she had had time to review my research and requesting a follow-up meeting. When the office called me back the next day, her secretary told me that I would need to meet with the two gifted education department heads (one is retiring at the end of this school year, so they are working in tandem for a smooth transition). Would I be available for a meeting on September 10th?

Yes. I think that can be arranged. Then I hung up the phone and tried to restrain myself from doing a happy dance.

I didn't have enough restraint.

That meeting is six days away, and once again, I am asking for your help.

One thing that matters most in the eyes of the district is parent feedback and opinion. I can't stress enough how important your responses on the petition were. It is imperative that the district realizes I am not working alone--that I am just one bee in the collective hive who wants change.
I need specifics (positive and negative) relating to your kids' and your experiences with the gifted program/teachers in MPS. I need the district to see what is really happening in our classrooms and in our kids' lives--not just the infrastructure of the program that they see from their administrative offices. They need to see the reality. I need to show them why change is not only needed, but why change is necessary--from the ground up. 

I know many of you tried to sign the petition with more than just your signature, but the site wouldn't cooperate. I understand how frustrating that is, and I'm sorry. What I'm asking you for now is to email me ( want your perspective, your experiences, your dreams for gifted education in Mesa. I promise that I will add these experiences to the petition and that your voice will be passed on to those who need to hear. If you previously signed with only your name, here's your chance to speak. If your comments were truncated due to frustration, take the time to reformulate your thoughts and resend them to me. If your kids want to be heard, encourage them to write as well. Rarely are kids asked, and well-meaning adults can make better decisions when we know what the kids think. 

Please, please, please--take the time to let your voice be heard. If you have friends or family who didn't sign the petition the first time (friends, grandparents, former educators--whoever), please encourage them to email me before Monday. I want every bee in the hive to get a chance to buzz. Share this link on social media however you can--I hope to reach as many people as I can before I speak with the district again.

If you have questions about my project, my data, or anything else relating to Mesa's gifted education program, please email me. I'd love to discuss it with your further.  Here's your chance to be a part of change.

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