Vail Daily letter: ‘Gifted’ steps
President, Gifted Education Team of Eagle County
Vail, CO Colorado
The Gifted Education Team of Eagle County (GET) has been an advocate for a meaningful and relevant education for our Gifted and Talented and Twice Exceptional students for the last eight years. In 2010, our local school district hired an administrator, Lori Seelig, to implement an overhaul of the gifted program using best practices in a cost-effective manner. We have carefully watched this process and can report that changes are being made with efficient and effective use of our gifted funding.
GET is pleased to say that the new identification practices and tests will be unbiased in language ability and socio-economic status. Our current lopsided demographics of identified gifted children will begin to take on the full reflection of our diversity here in Eagle County. The nonverbal, online Naglieri test, will be given to all second-grade students in the spring and will be one of several measures that will be used in an ongoing K-12 effort to identify and serve gifted learners.
There is a new spirit of collaboration and open communication in local gifted education. A Gifted and Talented Advisory Council was formed last year with parents, teachers, administrators and community members on board. A new, comprehensive GT Parent Handbook clearly details identification practices, program options, responsibilities and expectations, and more. It can be found at http://www.eagleschools.net/ index.aspx?page=332
A CogAT test is also being offered at minimal cost to parents, for those who want more in-depth information about their student. This will save parents a trip to Denver and a much higher fee for a private screening. A guided parent support group starting next week is also offered by Eagle County Schools as a much-needed service for parents of gifted kids.
“Making the difference together” is GET’s unofficial motto, and our collaborations have made a positive impact on our kids. The new gifted programming will take time and a continued team approach to bring it to its full realization. In the meantime, we will continue to bring speakers and student activities to support our advocacy work and ask the community to continue to support a meaningful and relevant education for all kids.