Giftedness is Valued, Recognized, & Nurtured

The High Flyer (Blog Banner)-NAGC.pngThe 26,000+ members and supporters of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) should feel pretty good about their efforts and the fruits they have produced in education policy. Together we have successfully inspired change by helping legislators and the public understand the nature and unique needs of gifted children and the supportive environments they need for learning.

A little over two years ago, NAGC embarked on a focused plan to build awareness and increase support for the unique needs of these children. The NAGC Board of Director's bold plan of action to Change Minds, Change Policies, and Change Practices set out to achieve a vision where giftedness and high potential are universally valued, fully recognized, and actively nurtured.

I am pleased to report on two visible markers that show the movement is gaining traction and producing results that are bringing this vision to fruition.

First, the U.S. Department of Education prioritized the needs of students and children with "unique gifts and talents."  Specifically, Priority 5 of the Final Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs emphasizes the need for programs that develop “ opportunities for students who are gifted and talented (as defined in section 8101(27) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended), particularly students with high needs (as defined in this notice) who may not be served by traditional gifted and talented programs, so that they can reach their full potential, such as by providing a greater number of gifted and talented students with access to challenging coursework or other materials."  

The second marker is a bill awaiting signature by Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State. Senate Bill 6362 requires that school districts establish state of the art identification methods that promote equity of access for all students, particularly those who live in poverty or are English Language Learners. The bill calls for the use of multiple objective criteria; criteria benchmarked on local norms; screening and assessment in native languages or non-verbal screening and assessments, and clear guidance and best practices from the state Office of Public Instruction.

These two significant achievements are a result of engaged advocates who rallied around a collective goal of supporting children with extraordinary gifts and talents to achieve their personal best.

We have emerged from the shadows, and together we are making a difference! The National Association for Gifted Children remains committed to organizing and supporting the growing list of parents, educators, and community leaders working to Change Minds, Change Policies, and Change Practices to support gifted children, particularly the vulnerable.

We look forward to the continued success of the Giftedness Knows No Boundaries movement to SEE, UNDERSTAND, TEACH, and CHALLENGE gifted and talented children from all backgrounds.

M. René Islas is the executive director of the National Association for Gifted Children.