NAGC Position Statements & White Papers
Position Statements and White Papers help clarify issues in gifted and talented education and set NAGC's position on these issues.
by Faye Hanson, Gifted & Talented Coordinator, Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District, Jaffrey, NH
“Beyond enriching my professional life, the Javits-Frasier scholarship made it possible for me to attend the NAGC Annual Convention. As a single parent with no district support to attend out-of-state conferences, I would not have been able to make that trip to Tampa without the financial support provided for my registration fee and membership.”
From where I sit, I see a snowy landscape, all of the features of my neighborhood buried in a blanket of white. It makes me think of my students and other gifted students out there whose gifts are shrouded by poverty, skin color, and language and learning differences.
I chose to teach in an inner-city school with the largest homeless population in our district. I knew my students were gifted, despite their race or language or label. Recognizing their potential was easy for me; convincing others of their abilities was much more difficult.
In 2008, I attended the NAGC Convention in Tampa as a Javits-Frasier Scholar and it was life changing.
I learned new strategies for identifying and supporting the gifted students in my high-poverty school and built my Professional Learning Network by connecting with others who have similar issues in their communities. I returned to my school and was able to implement changes, such as greater push-in services. I made presentations to my colleagues, parents and pre-service teachers to share my Javits-Frasier experience. Increased awareness led to a district-wide screening of all African-American males for identification and changed the delivery model to include whole class push-in services for all elementary classes, in order to enrich as well as identify. Additionally, I worked to bring Dr. Joy Davis to provide training and support for teachers and families, focused on gifted African-American students.
I am currently a district coordinator in rural New Hampshire. While the demographics of my student population have changed, my Javits-Frasier experience has helped me create a model program in a state with no mandate. I implemented a blind review process to remove bias in identification. In the committees on which I serve, I am the voice of advocacy for equity and access for our rural students, and twice-exceptional and poor students. Parents and teachers from across the state have contacted me for advice on gifted programs.
The support provided to Javits-Frasier alumni helps me afford the expense of attending the conference every year. The NAGC Convention is invaluable to those of us who work in relative isolation. At the last conference in Baltimore I became a contributing member to the Annual Fund. With a simple monthly contribution, I am showing my support for the Javits-Frasier Scholars program and the work done by NAGC on behalf of me, my students and my colleagues. I wish I could give more. My small donation seems like just a small drop in the pond. However, the impact of that little drop ripples out and contributes to big changes, through the Javits-Frasier program and the other important work of NAGC.
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