I've had a very, very exciting summer!! Shared some wonderful, restful times at home relaxing in the 'country' with family, slept late, hosted a birthday cookout, traveled up north, had time to rest and renew my mind, body & spirit. Earlier this summer I had the distinct pleasure of sharing the luncheon keynote speech at the Annual SENG Conference in Milwaukee. I was so moved by my experiences at SENG! The group was warm and very receptive to my message regarding our need to advocate more for African American and other diverse groups of gifted learners and to empower their families to learn more about gifted education and the needs of their gifted children. A few weeks ago, I received word that I won the election for an at-large seat on the NAGC Board of Directors...I'm so humbled and pleased to be able to serve. In particular, I look forward to bringing the needs of diverse gifted learners to the center of our conversations at NAGC during my tenure on the board. I also visited Duke University to work w/ a very special advocate of diverse learners and tireless scholar, Dr. Margaret Gayle. At Duke, I presented to educators and families- it was a great experience.
Some of these children and youth - through no fault of their own, live in the most challenging of life circumstances with limited resources. They live in settings where adults are so pre-occupied with day-to-day existence concerns they have little or no time, energy, or heart left at the end of it all to inquire as to why their 'bright' child is having to repetitiously go through materials, is bored in school, may be getting into trouble, or seems to have no outlet in the school day for their brilliance. Others may come from families with fewer day-to-day concerns, but may still find it hard to be fairly evaluated and provided access to gifted services. These children and teens have the same inclinations, desires to learn, are just as curious, have as many questions, and have dreams to soar just as their peers IN those special programs do. Unfortunately for too many of these students- they remain on the OUTSIDE LOOKING IN.
There's so much work to be done to make gifted education services equitable and accessible to students from all backgrounds who deserve to be IN special classes with culturally responsive gifted education-trained teachers, special schools, academies, summer programs, and early college/university settings.
As we begin this new academic year, I challenge each reader, whether you are a parent, community member, or educator, to please do your part to speak up and increase your advocacy students who should have access to gifted education services that allow them to explore, question, create, demonstrate their special empathy, learn at their own level, and be self-fulfilled.
Please join me and others as we increase our advocacy efforts on behalf of those yet to be identified gifted learners who for too long have been 'on the outside looking in'. They deserve the same opportunities as others, don't you agree?