When Gifted Advocacy Works
At ACFE we work to support students with specific educational needs, including gifted students. We also keep an eye on regulations and laws up for debate, both on a state and national level, so that we can keep up to date about how these changes might affect the families with whom we work. In honor of the blog hop on gifted advocacy with Hoagies Gifted, we wanted to highlight an instance where gifted advocacy has been successful.
Recently the Pennsylvania State Board of Education’s Committee on Special and Gifted Education held public roundtables and collected public comments on Chapter 16 of the Pa Code, which regulates gifted education. They also met with stakeholders from the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education (PAGE). Gifted advocates from around the state took this opportunity to share continuing concerns regarding Chapter 16; a total of more than 45 people – including district personnel, teachers, gifted education advocates, professional associations, and gifted students – voiced their thoughts. Concerns included, “qualifications of professional personnel; the cost and frequency of evaluations for gifted services; compliance monitoring and enforcement of current regulations; planning requirements; and access to gifted education services for nonpublic school students,” according to the “Recommendations of the Committee on Special and Gifted Education Pertinent to Gifted Education” document the Committee released.
Following the active advocacy efforts made at roundtable sessions and meetings, the Committee on Special and Gifted made recommendations to the State Board of Education, which adopted these recommendations on September 11th.
Some of the recommendations include:
-the creation of a voluntary Program Endorsement Certificate for Gifted Education.
-instructing teachers and administrators about gifted learners as part of their professional education.
-increasing the resources to enable monitoring of districts when complaints are filed about gifted education.
-posting the Compliance Monitoring Manual, and Executive Summary and Corrective Action Plans from its compliance monitorings of school district’s gifted education programs for gifted education on the Department of Education’s website.
– maintaining the Department of Education’s support for school districts by sharing the Executive Summary of compliance monitorings with district personnel.
-Supporting gifted education liaisons to help school districts with their gifted education programs.
Other recommendations centered around continuing to assess the screening and evaluation of gifted students, as well as the resources necessary for these processes.
Each school district may mandate some of the professional training requirements, and you are welcome to your local school team if you have questions. Additionally, thanks go out to Linda Deal and Kimm Doherty from the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education (PAGE) for their hard work on this issue.