What is 2E? Is my child/am I 2e? And if so, what's next?

Have you ever felt like there was a disconnect between what your child was doing and what you knew they were capable of?  So maybe they were reading by the age of 3 but now at 7 they can’t even write their name legibly. Or they can reproduce something they see or hear nearly to perfection but they can’t seem to follow directions?  The combinations are endless.

Most children have some form of “asynchronous development”--which means that different parts of their brain (and the corresponding skills) develop at different times.  An educator in the documentary “2e: Twice Exceptional” describes it as “the 5-10-15 rule” where a child may be 10 chronologically, 15 in some abilities and 5 in other abilities or lagging emotionally or socially.  

Being “twice exceptional” or “2e” is an exaggeration of this naturally occurring situation.  In the case of a 2e child, they may be 10 chronologically, 30 in their ability to learn and understand in some domains, and have dysgraphia--which is a neurological problem that inhibits their ability to write, placing them significantly behind their age-peers in this specific domain.  Or perhaps they have some other disability or significant challenge. Slow working memory, visual processing problems, sensory integration, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder… the list of challenges is long and the symptoms of issues overlap formal labels.

Children who are so advanced in some domains are presumed to be capable of managing in all domains of their life.  In fact, many manage to find coping mechanisms to compensate for their challenges. They may not even realize they’re doing it--it’s just how they figure out how to navigate life the way they see others moving through the world.  For some, they are completely unable to find coping mechanisms and move through the world with ease. Often, the adults around them don’t understand. Children are naturally unable to express their confusion about their inability to figure the world out.  Let’s be honest: adults aren’t always great at articulating their specific challenges, either! The frustration of the situation and the inability to articulate it or self-advocate can sometimes exacerbate the problem--creating emotional issues that are secondary (they only exist because of the frustration). 


Getting help for these children can be a challenge.  For one, advanced students capture content quickly and “check out”.  That can manifest in behavior problems or simply not tuning in to hear something important that comes up during the teacher’s process of instructing the students that are still working.  Other issues are that gifted students will often opt out of work that is “too simple to matter” or too boring. Parents will often say that students need to learn that not everything is going to be fun in life, but when brain development continues through the mid-20s, that’s a hard thing for students to see--even at high school level.  

Gifted students also do not always perform as well on tests--which are targeting a different level of thinker.  When a 2nd grader could make a case for two test answers being correct on a standardized test because they are thinking like a teenager and the test creators never accounted for that level of thought and logic--and the student picks the “wrong” answer multiple times on a test, their score isn’t going to reflect their abilities.

Schools often see either these students advances and assume they will “figure it out” or they only see the challenges and try to move them into behavior or special education programs with no regard for the need to address cognitive or academic abilities.  Neither of these situations is addressing the whole child and this affects their overall growth, development, well-being and long-term productivity and happiness. Children whose challenges are not addressed are building a shaky foundation for the future. Children whose strengths are not grown and challenged are not learning how to persevere to learn and grow because things are always easy--which could later turn into self-worth issues when they face a learning challenge that doesn’t come easy and are completely unequipped to face that with no experience, tools or resources to do so.

Finding environments and learning leaders to help these children become their best selves means parents need to become advocates for their children in a culture where challenges are the focus of interventions in the education community and students who are performing at the expected level of their grade are ignored in terms of being challenged.  Being challenged appropriately is seen as “gravy”. In the school’s eyes, they’ve done their job getting the student to the expected norms.

It can be difficult.  Parents and students need to find their people in this world and get the information they need to help move forward together.  It can be chaotic and frustrating for all involved. Take a breath, refocus on loving one another first, and connect with community.  After that, the rest becomes more manageable. 

Click here to learn about our Free Parent Education Workshops. December 15, 2019 is our next workshop, and it will cover legal rights and services for gifted and 2e. Click here for more in-depth information and resources, including local and national organizations to support your family through identification, learning, and building community.

Come to our Gifted Resource Fair on January 12, 2020 to have an immersive experience and learn about all the local support there is for your family. There will be several useful workshops on topics such as dyslexia and testing/identification.

MAGE has just held a Free Parent Education Workshop in Chicago, in partnership with CGCC. For those who couldn't make it, we thought we would summarize some thoughts and resources shared at the workshop.

Helpful books - PLEASE USE THIS LINK FOR THEM, SO THAT CGCC COULD GET CREDIT THROUGH AMAZON SMILE, as a thank you for this workshop and for their work in the gifted community so that they can continue doing it:

  • Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults by Webb?

  • Mellow Out, They Say. If I Only Could: Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young and Bright by Piechowski

  • The Dyslexic Advantage by Brock and Fernette Eide

  • The Secret Life of the Dyslexic Child by Robert Frank

  • Upside-down Brilliance by Linda Silverman

  • Understanding Creativity by Jane Piirto (yup, double i)

  • If This Is a Gift, Can I Send It Back? by Jen Merrill

Organizations specifically helpful for Dyslexia:

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Gifted 101: What is "gifted" and is my child gifted?

The word “gifted” often evokes thoughts of a very bright individual who excels in school and speaks with a sophisticated vocabulary. In reality, giftedness comes in many shapes and sizes. Individuals may present as intellectually gifted, gifted in one more academic domain, or artistically, musically, or athletically gifted. It is difficult to determine the prevalence of giftedness, since there are varying beliefs about what constitutes identification as gifted. 

There are no universal criteria for giftedness, but the term “intellectually gifted” is generally reserved for individuals with an Intellectual Quotient (IQ) score at or above 130 (top 2% compared to same-age peers). Others consider giftedness to reflect individuals performing within the top 10% in their given area of aptitude. 

While gifted individuals display exceptional talent in one or more area, it is common for these individuals to display asynchronous development. Asynchrony refers to the discrepancy within an individual’s learning or social-emotional profile. For example, an individual may possess gifted math skills, but lag behind with fine motor skills. In turn, homework completion may be problematic, despite the student’s strong mathematical capabilities. Similarly, many gifted individuals present with substantial variability between their impressive IQ and emotional intelligence (EQ), variability between their academic achievement and their expected by IQ performance, and between their IQ sub-scores. Gifted individuals with this variability may fall into the category of “twice exceptional”, meaning they are intellectually gifted, yet they present with a learning or behavioral disorder. 

FOSTERING GIFTEDNESS:

  • Create an environment conducive to fostering creativity, while allowing the children the opportunity to reach their optimal levels of performance. 

  • Focus on developing a growth mindset

Midwest Academy for Gifted Education is, first and foremost, a community for gifted learners and their families in the City of Chicago and beyond. We offer a full-time and part time school option, weekend, evening, and homeschooler enrichment activities such as academic and STEAM teams, advocacy support, as well as social opportunities for your family. We are focused on creating equitable options for gifted children, whether they are in our school, public school, home school, or private school. We work closely with other local organizations to coordinate efforts in order to create equitable opportunity and a brighter tomorrow for the gifted. 

Click here to learn about our Free Parent Education Workshops. November 3, 2019 is our next workshop, titled What is 2e. Click here for more in-depth information and resources, including local and national organizations to support your family through identification, learning, and building community.

Come to our Gifted Resource Fair on January 12, 2020 to have an immersive experience and learn about all the local support there is for your family. 

 This content is brought to you by MAGE. Click Contact to be put on our distribution list.

Math Team

Our Mathematics Team is in full swing. Recently we have added a Sunday grades 2-3 team and a High School team at the request of our students. We do offer individual tickets to take the AMC8, if you didn’t snag a coveted free spot at one of the area’s few providers. We can’t offer AMC8 for free, we are too small and don’t have any grants yet, so we do have to charge a nominal fee to help cover the proctoring cost. We are also a Math Kangaroo Center and will offer additional contests during their sessions in the winter/spring.

The contest dates for this year are during regular Sunday team meet times and are as follows:

If anyone's kids want to be able to participate in a math contest and need a place to do it, here are our fall term competition dates in Chicago.

  • Sunday, November 10, 2019, CML (Pyth)

  • Sunday, November 17, 2019, AMC8 and MOEMS

  • Sunday, December 8, 2019, CML (Pyth) including calc league

  • Sunday, December 15, 2019, MOEMS

Click here for all the math team details.

If you are into academic teams, check our our Lego/Robotics teams and Odyssey of the Mind. Don’t see something you think your child would enjoy? Drop admissions a note!

Free Open House Week Classes - September 30-October6

We are moving into our new home at Milwaukee and Division, and to celebrate we are giving you a taste of our fall after school, weekend, and homeschool programs for free.

Try out for a private math team, sign up for experiential science or art field trips, and roll up your sleeves to learn some math in our outdoor experimental math workshop class. Learn American Folk dance as a family. Hone your study or EF skills. There is so much more, all out of the ordinary. Please, share the news with your friends with school-aged children. Pls note, some of the free or low cost programs are not available until the week after the open house. You can view the schedule here.

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Why study Classics?

Classical Greek and Latin used to be a major part of a well-rounded education. However, elementary programming in those languages is disappearing from area schools. In some schools, it has to do with budget. In other schools, it has to do with the teacher shortage. Yet in other schools, it has to do with a shift to having just one language offered, or options that include Chinese, a worthwhile language, of course, instead.

However, there is much to be said about the value of learning about the Classical Greek and Latin language, history, and culture, as it is so formative in creating our culture, and so key to English mastery. These ancient languages are still very much relevant today.

If your school does not offer exposure to the classical language, we have good news. MAGE will offer a solution, our latest program, Classics Club. The program will be offered on Sunday mornings starting in September, as three ten-week sessions. Students will engage in exploring ancient civilizations through art, music, projects, and story, while strengthening their knowledge of the English language and world history.

The sessions will build on each other and a large amount of vocabulary will be covered. In the first session, we will introduce the students to an informal competition called Cretamen. Students may also choose to participate in several formal competitions in the second session. In the third session, after the formal competitions, we will dive into a third classical language, Sanskrit. We will also visit the mythology of other cultures throughout the year.

An excellent article from Stanford explores the relevance of studying classics in the 21st century further.

PG in Public School

An old article filled with sage advice is circling the gifted web, with excellent advice about how to navigate public education with a PG kid. Guess what? You want free, but you still can’t do it alone. You still need a tribe. Check us out, because we’ve got it. We offer some free programs, as well as many paid programs. And we definitely have your people, know how to advocate in the public schools, and best of all, we understand the challenges of raising a gifted kid. We have inquiries and participants from the tristate area. We advocate at the city and state level, and yes, we can probably still help you with advocacy if you are in the suburbs.

Fall Enrichment Programs

This fall, our Free Elementary Circle for grades 1-4 and Free Parent Education Workshops return, along with many new offerings. Please take our 2-minute survey to indicate which of our program offerings may be of interest to your family. We will offer some of the programs after school, on the weekends, and also for homeschoolers during the day. We may offer some school day off camps as well.

Our programs will include mathematics, language arts, STEM and much more. Here are some highlights:

Math Team: We will offer a competitive and casual team.

Classics Club: an opportunity to learn about Greek and Roman history, mythology and language through games, projects, and literature, and to participate in competitions.

Gifted Social Group

We hope you find something you like on our programming list. If you fill out the survey, you may leave your email and we will let you know if we are able to schedule your choices. Schedule will be out mid-August.

Free Illinois State Accelerated Placement WEBINAR MONDAY!

Illinois Association for Gifted Children (IAGC) is hosting an Illinois State Board of Education Webinar on Accelerated Placement at. Registration is now open.

3PM on Monday, August 12 - FREE

Click the button below to register, or click here to read the IAGC web site about this. This is a repost as a curtesy to our readers.

Perfectionism and Anxiety in Young Children

We recently held our first parent education series. We had several requests to share some of the content from these events.

We wanted to share with you some basic advice on anxiety and perfectionism in the very young. Gifted children frequently suffer from extreme perfectionism, leading to a variety of different types of anxiety. What are some strategies that may help?

  • Shift focus to praise the effort instead of the final product. “I see that you are working hard on …”

  • Model failure. Allowing your child to see you break something (your block tower crashed), fail at something, make mistakes. Don’t just model the failure. Name your feelings, and their relative size, and what you are going to do next, since you can’t change what happened but you can re-frame how you feel about it. “Ugh, that was a little frustrating, but I will…”

  • Read books about failure, with social stories. It may be helpful to read books about perfectionism with or to your children, to discuss all the feelings that make children so uncomfortable while it is not actually happening. A few of our recommendations:

We will be sharing more content in the weeks to come, so check back soon for more. This content is brought to you by MAGE. Click Contact to be put on our distribution list.

Early Kindergarten Update - just a few days left for 2019 registration

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy | CPS Board Meeting Presentation

On Wednesday June 26th, CPS created a path for early kindergarten admissions. Details are here.

Registration is happening only for a short time and is under way - just to July 19th. There are few takers so far. Testing is happening this and next week, and it seems that CPS was not counting on a lot of applicants. While CPS communicated that up to 2,500 students may be eligible to apply to early kindergarten, the early 1st grade numbers only showed under 40 applications a year for the last 2 years. It looks like CPS had an initial staffing plan for testing for only about 80 children. Certainly they had a plan to expand it, however, after they had made a big deal about allowing such an accommodation, there hasn’t been an outpouring of requests yet.

CPS was supposed to send out letters to eligible kindergarteners on the 1st of July. It is unclear how they would identify those children as only a fraction of the city’s population is in a JK program. We have yet to hear from anyone who has received such a letter. Drop us a note if you did.

Once again, we would like to raise the issue of equity.

Both the application to determine if a child is eligible for testing, and the testing take place during center hours, which are limited:

  • In the first 2 weeks of the application process, there were no weekend or evening hours. In fact, the hours are limited to 8:30-1:30, but we are hearing some of these are further limited. It could be that the intent of this period was to keep the numbers of people applying low, so that everyone has a chance to practice procedures. However, giving people just one week in which evenings for 1/2 the process are available to complete the process is inequitable.

  • In the third week, there are three library locations offering evening hours on Mondays and Wednesdays, and two that are offering Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

  • There are no Friday evening or weekend hours.

  • This means that parents, if they wish to apply in the first 2 weeks, may have to take time off work, and it may be impossible to do so.

When a parent shows up (see our link for more detail) to sign up their child to be evaluated at one of these locations, with all the needed documentation, they are given a developmental survey, and are scheduled for testing at one of just 4 test centers:

  • Dever 3436 N Osceola ave., Chicago, IL 60634 (773)534-3090

  • Colman 4655 S Dearborn Chicago, IL 60609 (773) 535-1225

  • Westinghouse 3223 W Franklin blvd, Chicago, IL 60624 (773)534-6410

  • Garvey 10309 S Morgan st., Chicago, IL 60643 (773)535-2763

There are 2 test windows available, 8:30AM-10:00AM and 10:30AM-12:00PM, at each of those 4 centers until they are booked up, Monday through Friday. Once again, a parent would have to take time off work. In addition, they may have a very short window, same week, for the test date, forcing them to take a second time off in just one week.

Why are there no weekend and evening hours? Not only does the testing have a fee, though lowest income people could apply for a voucher, but on top, if people have to give up their wages and risk job security to take their child to one of these test dates, then this biases eligibility to the wealthy, once again. These are the details that were not available at the time that the process was presented to the public during the spring forums, and certainly the public would have provided feedback that alternative time slots need to be available to those who can’t afford to take time off, especially at such short notice. Taking a morning off with less than 2 weeks notice is not something that many Chicagoans can afford, especially if they have to do it 2 times in one week, as the testing scheduling is only open for a short number of days after the day that the parent applies.

It is unclear if the testing for those who have applied will stretch much past the 19th of July, but the applications will definitely be over. Not knowing about this application process, not living in the district at the time, etc, will not be an appealable concerns.

No wonder that few people are signing up, if they are not being notified and if they can’t get the time off.

CPS Board of Elections Publishes Video and presentations from meeting.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy | CPS Board Meeting | CPS Board Presentation Posted|

The video and presentations from the Wednesday June 26th, CPS Board of Education meeting are now online on the CPS Board of Education web site, and are of better quality than our original coverage. This also includes the detailed School Quality Ratings which we will be writing about soon, as it relates to the ESSA policy not just Accelerated Placement Act Policy. We will be writing in a lot more detail about equity, special gifted populations, and what has to happen next soon. Sign up for our newsletter to never miss a beat, or follow us on Twitter.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy | CPS Board Meeting Presentation

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Breaking news: CPS Publishes Early K Guidelines for 2019!

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy | CPS Board Meeting Presentation

Yesterday, Wednesday June 26th, CPS presented and approved the Final Draft CPS AP Policy. The presentations, videos, and our advocacy speech to get the job done are here:

Summary:

  • You have only until July 19, 2019 to apply.

  • You will have to bring 2 proofs of residency, proof of previous attendance of preschool, your child’s birth certificate, driver’s license, fill out a developmental survey, and pay $50 (fee waivers available), to be considered.

  • When testing is scheduled, your child will be alone in a room with an evaluator for about 90 minutes during the testing, and will be scored in the 40 minutes after the test. Then, you will get a letter of eligibility same day.

  • Child will need to score 120 on the IQ test or be in the 91%. This, by the way, is not an indicator of giftedness and shouldn’t even be required for early K.

  • You will be allowed to test for any SEES remaining seats!

  • No changes to early 1st grade process.

  • All other acceleration delayed to 2020.

Videos of the Board Meeting:

Presentation of the final draft of the Accelerated Placement Act by Dr. Alvarado, head of teaching and learning, to the newly appointed CPS Board. 14 minutes.

Board Discusses Accelerated Placement Act and asks questions. 10 scary minutes.

Our presentation in support of the Accelerated Placement Policy. 2 minutes.

Midwest Academy for Gifted Education, MAGE, is a gifted private school for kids who need even more than the accelerated placement act, and who can’t wait. First and foremost, we are a parent and teacher founded, not for profit community for gifted children and their families in the City of Chicago. We advocate, because we know gifted. If we don’t advocate, who will? Did you show up to this meeting to do it and give up your day? We sure did. We sat through the board’s first, break-less, food-less 8 hour board meeting to get this done. Is it perfect? No. Much work to do especially around equity. We will be posting something in the next few weeks about equity. But, in the meantime, this is a huge step for the children of Chicago. The problem is, gifted kids learn 18-21 months OR MORE per 12 months, so we are a ways off from what all of the city’s 10K gifted kids need. We could never admit 10K kids, so we are advocating for the whole city as one tiny micro-school could never fill that need. If school is not a fit, we are here.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy | CPS Board Meeting Presentation

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Breaking News: CPS PASSES ACCELERATED PLACEMENT POLICY

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy

On Wednesday, June 26th, during the first meeting of the new, Mayor Lightfoot appointed Chicago Public School Board, Chicago Public Schools passed the Accelerated Placement Act. First of all, a huge thanks to IAGC Policy Committee and the whole organization, CGCC, Midwest Gifted, and all the advocates across the state for making this happen. Thanks to the new board, for listening. And thanks to CPS administration, for doing a huge amount of work to make this happen.

The meeting was in a first of its kind format where the issues are presented and discussed by the board in front of the constituents in the board room before public comment could be made. And, there was a bit of drama. They didn’t seem to like the Accelerated Placement Policy. But because of the format, we were able to have a chance to respond to the board comments as well and rework our advocacy speech to address those concerns. As the only representation from the public for the Accelerated Placement Act, we felt it had better be a good one, and it worked. Some quick notes that we know you want:

  • Accelerated Placement Guidelines are coming between tonight and Monday.

  • Starting on Monday, eligible families that will be notified via email, will be able to fill out a paper application for early K, if the child turns 5 before December 31, at multiple locations.

  • We learned (and updated our previous post) that the K IQ requirement is dropped to 120 or 91%. Now, 2,000 - 2,500 potential students are eligible for evaluation for early K, data previously not available about the change’s scope. Slides below show the scope by district. However, if we look at the CPS numbers provided in the forums for how many children choose early 1st grade, the number for submitted applications is actually tiny - 21 last year and 37 the year before and there are no numbers as to how many were actually granted - again, the numbers in the slides are applications not acceptances. So, in our humble opinion, the new policy will help about 40 kids a year or less, and to CPS it is a wash - they are then going to be done already and not apply in 1st instead. So, the net number of served children may actually be close to 0 in 2 years.

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  • Below are the slides from today’s presentation, as well as videos, containing the latest policy, which will hopefully be documented in the guideline and available online in the next 72 hours. We will link to it here once it’s posted.

Photos of slides at board meeting: You can see our Final Draft CPS AP Policy for details - nothing changed there in the last 48 hours. That link, Final Draft CPS AP Policy also has more detail, and we will share the official guide once it is posted. Videos of the entire presentation, discussion, and advocacy are below the photos.

Videos:

Presentation of the final draft of the Accelerated Placement Act by Dr. Alvarado, head of teaching and learning, to the newly appointed CPS Board. 14 minutes.

Board Discusses Accelerated Placement Act and asks questions. 10 scary minutes.

  • 30 seconds in, we hear that CPS felt that the Act was passed as a surprise by the outgoing governor/as if CPS was blindsided. States CPS needs more guidelines from the state but the nature of what’s desired is unclear.

  • 2 min in, we hear that CPS lobbied against this legislation.

  • 4:23 min in, someone calls the law an unfunded mandate. It isn’t. The cost benefit analysis yields about a 25K savings (infrastructure+instructional per pupil allocation per year) because the pupil will attend school for 1 year less.

  • minute 6, they explain only 100 kids would qualify in grades 3-6 for acceleration and it’s unclear as to why this would be deferred to 2020 if the number is so small.

Our presentation in support of the Accelerated Placement Policy. 2 minutes.

Whoa, isn’t MAGE a private school? First and foremost, we are a parent and teacher founded, not for profit community for gifted children and their families in the City of Chicago. We advocate, because we know gifted. If we don’t advocate, who will? Did you show up to this meeting to do it and give up your day? We sure did. We sat through the board’s first, break-less, food-less 8 hour board meeting to get this done. Is it perfect? No. But it passed, and that’s the most important thing. Something is better than nothing and now there is a chance that 2500 children will be served this year. Just about 10 thousand more to go. Much work to do especially around equity. We will be posting something in the next few weeks about equity.

But, in the meantime, this is a huge step for the children of Chicago. Even the OTHER private schools may have to copy this one. As for us, grade skipping is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to acceleration. Gifted kids learn 18-21 months OR MORE per 12 months. We telescope, compact, etc. We don’t even look at it that way. We simply meet your child where they are, and take them to the next level, at their pace, full differentiation, in a very small student/teacher ratio. So, if they are behind in reading by 1 year and ahead in math by 5, or at grade level, or 2 years ahead globally, that’s where we start, at their pace, with you as our equal decision making partner when it comes to your child’s learning speed. Kids learn through 1:1 or 1:small group instruction, with lots of project based, experiential, and real life connection learning. And have plenty of play time and time outside. Our teachers are well qualified to teach your gifted child. And we don’t do social and emotional learning as a little burst. It’s always on. It’s in fact our top priority. Is your child happy, engaged, and invested in their own learning? Can you send all your kids to the same CPS gifted school for K12? See, we are here for all those reasons and more. If CPS and the surrounding suburbs ever put us out of business, we will be quite glad. Because that would be an amazing win for all. Besides, we could never fit the thousands and thousands of the city’s gifted in our small school. We love as many options as possible for all the gifted in the greater metro area. They are underserved.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy

This content is brought to you by MAGE. Click Contact to be put on our distribution list.

Breaking: CPS Set to Vote on Accelerated Placement This Wednesday.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy

CPS Accelerated Placement Final Draft that will be voted on in the Wednesday, June 26th meeting is now available for reading here via a great Chalkbeat article. It is a part of the broader Board agenda found here, on page 75. We may update this by the end of the day today with more info.

Speaker windows were gone within the first 3 minutes, though there may be some observer slots still available. Coming early on the 26th to the board meeting will still give folks a possibility to register to speak or observe. There is still room for advocacy.

Brief analysis of how this policy is different from the previous draft, seen here:

Gains (Great job to CPS for listening to constituents at the forums and adding these to the policy, and to all the advocates that came out to speak at the forums on this policy:

·     No restriction on school type– selective enrollment school students seem to be able to skip grades same as everyone else, in accordance to the state law. 

·     Early K entrance: must be 5 by December 31 as opposed to October 31. IQ requirement dropped to 91%, which means that now 2,000-2,000 children will be eligible this year.

·     Only 2 consecutive NWEA MAP tests are required, as opposed to 3 in the original draft, still at 95% or higher performance. 

·     GPA requirement dropped to 3.75 as opposed to 4 in the previous draft for whole grade acceleration.

·     Written plan for each student for acceleration. This may be the closest to date to a GIEP (gifted IEP) that we can get to. It still doesn’t put gifted under special ed services and keeps it separate from IEP/504, but it’s a good step forward to have this documentation.

Disappointments:

·     No whole grade acceleration outside of grades 3-6

·     No single subject acceleration outside of grades 3-7

·     No multiple year skips unless that’s under the control of the CEO/Designee

·     No NWEA norms at school/local level as opposed to at district/national level

·     No appeals and application process details. 

·     Nothing for kids new to CPS from outside the district

Missing or seems unclear:

·     There is mention of the Accelerated Placement Guidelines which are not going to be voted on in the document. In it, the use of the Iowa Acceleration scale and the rubric would be shown. It is not clear what will be adapted there. 

·     In the old policy draft there was mention about schools that do grouping being exempt from accelerating students, but there is nothing about how much, in terms of adequate levels of differentiation is there per grouping. 

·     The CEO/Designee is able to make policy changes extraneous to a board voting process. 

·     No considerations of other policies that need to be modified to make room for this one. 

·     No protections for students when a principal says that they can’t accommodate walking up, or a guideline for decision making about non-core classes that may be missed. 

·     No proper placement at level by testing, just a flat, one time skip.

·     No above grade assessment in any subject that’s routinely administered on top of the NWEA adapted by district, such as PSAT or SAT/subject level testing, or other testing tools for proper placement.

·     Still no universal screen. 

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy

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School Advocacy for Gifted Children

On Tuesday, June 11th, we will hold a free seminar about school challenges, school woes, #giftedproblems in school. Gifted Parenting Education Series in partnership with Chicago Gifted Community Center.

Our state has no Gifted IEP. That is, no gifted individualized education program. In our state, we can’t put any accommodation for a child in the plan if the accommodation has to do with above average performance. That doesn’t mean that you do not have room to work with your child’s team at school. If your child has an IEP for any reason, that actually can sometimes hinder advocacy as the focus tends to be on the child’s weaknesses, not their strengths. Again, there is room to work with the school.

Tomorrow we will be holding our first parent education series, and we will cover the roles of everyone on a child’s school team in helping the child meet gifted needs and strategies for successfully getting your child the support they need for their education, in a public or private school, as well as supporting them in a homeschool environment. We will be posting resources here following the presentation based on the questions in the forum.

If your child goes to a public school, and you are interested in acceleration, you need to be prepared to work at the district level if your child’s district does not have the acceleration policy in place to support your child. We will also be discussing this component.

Obviously, if your school has a gifted coordinator, besides your school teacher, this is a great place to start. We will have a gifted coordinator at our panel tomorrow. A school or private psychologist can also help by measuring the academic needs of the child and help support the social and emotional needs of a child.

What is the most important thing in learning how to advocate for your child in a school setting? It is to assume the best about your child’s educational team. It is to assume that the team wants to help. Sometimes, it is important to first understand the school’s financial and skill challenges and to work with the team within those constraints. It is also a very good time to pick a “slow” time of the year for your effort. The first 2 weeks of school is a busy time, for example. Getting it done in the last 2 weeks of summer may be better in some, but not other schools. the second 2 weeks of school is a great time, and by October, the teachers are most likely to listen to you as they feel like they know your child. Now is an excellent time to get a few meetings in to create support for your gifted child for next year.

Gifted 102: Gifted school challenges

Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM - Novel Coworking, 405 West Superior Street in Chicago

Judy Wahl, Dr. Jessica Douglass, Irene Gottlieb

Judy Wahl, Dr. Jessica Douglass, Irene Gottlieb

Free Elementary Math Circle - PM time slot launch!

On May 30th, we held our first free evening math circle. 14 students signed up since we announced the time 2 weeks ago. 20 are currently signed up with a wait list for the next 10, and we are seeing if we expand capacity to 30. Please keep signing up! We are hearing that you want a math camp - we are working on it - use the same form to show interest, and to let us know if you want the circle to continue in the summer months. The next free circle is on Thursday June 20, at 6:45 PM. Will you be there?

Our long-term goal for curriculum are thematic, leveled units, inclusive of a piece of math history, a related piece of cultural contribution, a puzzle, game, and of course, circle math activities, as well as resources to continue the exploration at home. Check out some of our math action photos. A shout out to Altitude Trampoline for hosting and making it an amazing time for all.

Some highlights :

  • Normally, kids in early elementary school don’t get to experience interactions with mathematicians at this level. It can be very inspiring to have this experience, and to learn about collaboration in math in a non-worksheet based environment.

  • Another thing that we are excited about is that we had 50% girls enrolled in the program. Most programs in STEM and mathematics don’t see that and we are proud and hope to keep it up. Maybe, this means the tide is turning and society will stop sending girls messages that they are not as capable in mathematics. Each year, we will work to highlight a diverse group of mathematicians that made important contributions to the field, to make sure that children see that anyone can become an expert in the field of mathematics and that it knows no barrier, whether it be gender, cultural or religious identity, and so on.

It was, of course, a little hectic and we will be definitely learning from and have already made changes for the following session. We will always strive improve.

Timeline - Gifted Ed in Chicago and IL

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now

This is a living timeline of Gifted Education in the state of Illinois with a specific focus on recent events and the City of Chicago. Feel free to share additional bits to add, if any key points are missing. In order to understand where we are today, it’s important to understand how we got here in the first place.

  • In the US, some forms of gifted programming started in the 1920s.

  • CPS History overall is found here.

  • 1980s - Golden Years for Gifted Education in Chicago - “Currently more than 92% of the student population of Chicago Public Schools is non-White, and 95% are on free or reduced lunch. Students in Chicago Public Schools are identified as gifted through the use of multiple approaches, including ability, achievement, and recommendations from parents and teachers. Threshold cutoffs are determined based on performance citywide each year on the relevant measures employed. Use of both traditional and nontraditional measures are used to assess students for selection, including nonverbal assessments and off-level achievement testing. Students scoring above the 80th percentile nationally in both reading and math achievement are considered for most full-time programs in the city. Approximately 5% of these students are served in 155 gifted programs at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. (Joyce Van Tassel-Baska, 2010 via Davidson Institute, linked.)

  • 1989, Illinois Association for Gifted Children, IAGC, is founded.

  • 1990s, Belin Blank and NAGC start working on Acceleration Policy.

  • 2001, No Child Left Behind, NCLB (now replaced by ESSA, see our other news article) gets passed by Bush administration.

  • 2003, Governor Blagoyevich eliminated all $19 million of gifted state funding in IL to fund NCLB which had a direct and adverse effect on our state gifted organization, IAGC. CPS Gifted Programming starts to erode.

  • June 8, 2005, Article 14 - Gifted and Talented Children is passed in Illinois. The act also created the GAC, a 7 member, uncompensated, State Superintendent of Education-Appointed Gifted Advisory Council.

  • 2009, NAGC passes Acceleration Policy. States, districts, schools, around the country start adopting Acceleration policy more formally.

Recent Events:

  • August 25, 2017, Illinois Accelerated Placement Act Bill is passed, with a year grace period for districts to prepare to implement the Act for the 2018 school year. Many districts got ready, using the IAGC-provided model Acceleration Policy. Perhaps, this will slowly make things better again in Chicago, like it has in districts other than 299.

  • July 1, 2018, the Illinois Accelerated Placement Act (click here for the complete text of the law) went into effect. Reminder guidance was issued to districts to remind them that by law they need policy in place for 2018-2019 academic year for early K, 1, and single/whole grade skips.

  • August 22, 2018. Chicago Public Schools, CPS chose to defer the adoption of the Accelerated Placement Act by 1 year, and the deferral decision can be read here.

  • Fall 2018, CPS application process for the 2019-20 year remains unchanged.

  • April 4, 2019 IL House votes for an elected CPS school board. Bill as to still pass senate.

  • April 8, 2019, ISBE releases draft rules clarifying Accelerated Placement Act.

  • April 22, 2019, CPS sends round 1 placement offers to next year’s applicants.

  • May 22, 2019, Mayor Lightfoot dismisses the 7-member appointed CPS school board.

Future Events! You too can be a part of the FUTURE!

  • May 16, 2019, June 2019 - State ESSA listening tour. You can still make a difference.

  • June 11, 2019, Free Gifted Parenting Seminar about school advocacy, inclusive of current changes in the state.

  • June 24, 2019, 10 AM: Agenda for the June board meeting will be published. 10:30 AM are speaker registrations to get 2 minutes to speak in front of board. If you think that other parents or teachers of gifted or talented kids will go and speak on your behalf and you don’t have to, or your voice won’t make a difference, guess again. The gifted are only 2% of the population. If they don’t turn out in droves then the city won’t hear them. Take the time off work; get a sitter; do your part - else no one will. You will get exactly 2 minutes. If you have any feelings about your child’s needs that could be addressed best by acceleration, this is your once-in-your-child’s-school-lifetime-chance. Clearly, this doesn't apply to all gifted and talented students.

  • June 26, 2019, CPS Board meeting. Lightfoot-appointed Board will probably be sworn in and they will probably vote the Accelerated Placement Act of which they could be ignorant.

  • June-August 2019, students eligible for early K by CPS definition, if the board passes the act, may get letters to apply for early K. Allowed programs are not known at this time. Currently proposed is an allowance for children with Sept-Oct birthdays to be eligible for early K if they test in the 98%.

  • July 16, 2019, If you haven’t ever had a chance to speak to folks that understand gifted, this live expert panel will give you a chance to mingle with both gifted families and experts in mental health and education about gifted challenges in general, and with anxiety and perfectionism in particular.

  • September 2019, ESSA feedback will be due on final draft implementation.

  • Winter 2019-2020, single subject or single grade skip application process for 2020-2021 year for students in some CPS 3-6 grades who have taken NWEA MAP 3 times and are in the 95% with straight As for 2 years in core subjects required for their skip, and qualify on several other assessments. Child must test 2 years ahead to be eligible for 1, 1-time skip as testing will happen mid-year.

In light of recent events, we can only hope that one day, there will be phase II of CPS implementation of Accelerated Placement Act, with more features. The details, such as the appeals process, will eventually be fleshed out, but no timeline is currently available. In the meantime, this city risks a lot. Our gifted public programming is but a shadow of what it used to be, while most the nearby suburbs have a much more robust and equitable policy. Those who can, will move out of the city if they need acceleration. Our SEES programs will no longer be the strongest (because they were one of the very few left in the state until now) viable option when kids can get double and triple accelerated in strong, un-overcrowded suburban schools.

So, what options do we, Chicago parents, have but to wait it out, except that our children are not getting younger. Perhaps, you can’t afford to wait or move. So, what are you going to do? Will you lend your voice to advocate for the gifted? We are not just a gifted school. We are a community for gifted families in Chicago. Reach out to us or to one of the other gifted organizations in the state to help advocate and forge a better tomorrow. Only the gifted will help advocate for the gifted.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now

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JUNE 26 - ACTION Right Now on CPS Accelerated Placement Act

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now

The Accelerated Placement Act proposed Policy is supposed to be voted on by the CPS Board on June 26th at 10:30 AM. No one has a copy of the draft which will go before the board. What’s a big deal is that this is going to be a completely new board! The board will be likely sworn in on that very day and may have never heard of the policy before. There is no telling in advance about how much the board knows about gifted children or academically talented children, equity, and other issues around the Accelerated Placement Act.

We will be holding a free seminar about gifted advocacy in schools in general, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 6:30 PM in River North. CPS Accelerated Placement Act is definitely an item that we will cover. Please feel free to join us to discuss these new developments.

The new CPS Board may be sworn in on Wednesday, June 26th unless a special meeting is called. The agenda for that board meeting will be posted on Monday, June 24th at 10 AM. Advanced registration for speakers opens at 10:30 AM Monday, June 24th. Because this is a new board, expect that the speaker slots will “sell out” in seconds. The sign up and agenda will be here. The top improvement ideas (biggest overall impact, most in line with state law) over the draft that we saw in the CPS forums, some of which may be in the draft policy that will go before the board are here. The biggest thing is that no matter how small the policy impact and scope, as CPS is considering this a Phase I, is that it has to pass. If the people who drafted the policy put too much in, CPS Board may view the policy as too over-reaching, may view it as something that will take up too many resources, and not even pass it. Passing something is better than waiting another year for any accommodation. So, if you go that day to speak, try and get a hold of the policy draft ahead of time, to know what you are advocating for, and then just ask them to vote yes. That is, unless they added something that would be a big step back after the forums. CPS Board needs to hear from the gifted community, and it is in everyone’s interest that there is some policy instead of nothing at all. Drop us a note if you will be involved.

And if a future CPS Board member or even the Mayor is reading, let’s sit down with our State Gifted Organization, IAGC, and talk about ways to strengthen gifted education in this city. It does not cost extra and it’s in everyone’s best interest.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now

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State and CPS changes that impact gifted.

For families with gifted children in Chicago and in the state overall, it’s been a busy few weeks of change and it’s not about to let up. At the state level, ESSA Law is getting changed, and the Accelerated Placement draft rules are out. In Chicago, the CPS board is changing, and CPS sent out the second round of decisions on selective school placement.

Chicago:

Earlier in the week, Mayor Lightfoot dismissed the current, Emanuel-appointed school-board, and will appoint new members. Eventually, if the the State Senate passes the law to create an elected board in Chicago, and after an election, there will be yet another set of board members. Since each new board will be reviewing the budget, which will be put under the microscope with the new administration, the gifted should be weary. Gifted funding is usually the first to go if there are budgetary cuts. The changes this week and in Springfield may mean that there will be 2 turned over boards looking at budgets in a short period of time. We are waiting to find out who the new board members will be, and if they have any experience with gifted ed. When we learn the answer, we will probably share it. The board dismissal has been well covered by Chalkbeat, and you can read their article here.

CPS also sent out the second round of decisions on selective school placement last week. Appeals are due this week as well for CPS decisions.

State:

A lesser-known set of changes is happening in Springfield. They concern the Accelerated Placement Act and the ESSA policy.

A few weeks ago, ISBE released a long-awaited rules final draft document to clarify the Accelerated Placement Act. We believe that this is something that CPS had said they were needing before creating their own policy. You may read the rules here. One of the biggest pieces in the new rules is the clarification of what additional training is required for teachers assigned to teach accelerated children to receive state funding. At the CPS forums in April, one of the biggest problems for gifted Ed in the city is the teacher shortage for both gifted ed and advanced curriculum.

On May 20th, ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education) held a listening tour in Chicago, @CPS HQ, regarding changes to the Illinois ESSA plan. What’s ESSA? It stands for Every Student Succeeds Act, that replaces NCLB - No Child Left Behind. Click here for more info about ESSA.

May 20th, 2019 State ESSA Listening Tour in Chicago, at CPS HQ.

May 20th, 2019 State ESSA Listening Tour in Chicago, at CPS HQ.

We came to the Chicago ISBE tour to advocate for gifted students in Chicago and in Illinois. There were a lot of teachers and activists from neighboring suburbs, there were several interest groups, and we are pleased to say that there was a good showing of IAGC members and others to speak for the needs of the gifted. The gifted education voice needs to continue to be heard on the rest of the ISBE ESSA tour.

ISBE gave everyone present a chance to vote electronically on policy during the meeting. Showing up to the next forum or submitting feedback means that your voice will be heard. If you missed the 4 tour stops so far, you still have a chance to contribute:

  • Live: May 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m. – Rock Island ROE, 3430 Avenue of the Cities, Moline

  • Via email: essa@isbe.net

  • Via a survey: https://www.isbe.net/essafeedback (page also has mailing address)

No time to read the big federal law and state policy? No problem! IAGC (Illinois Association for Gifted Children), our state gifted organization, already analyzed the policy to determine the biggest gains can be made around several big ideas. These talking points can be found here.

If you want to look at IL ESSA for yourself, the draft policy page is here. Some highlights from the tour are below. The images below were created by the State of Illinois and were copied during a public forum.

Timeline of next steps: You have time to make comment to make meaningful change to the policy now, before August using the information provided here. Then, in September, after the final draft is submitted, you will have one more chance to provide feedback. So, mark your calendar to check back in with the state in the middle of September of this year. The state is doing a phenomenal job making sure everyone’s voice is heard, it’s up to you to take a minute and make a contribution if you have one, participating in our democracy.

Timeline of next steps: You have time to make comment to make meaningful change to the policy now, before August using the information provided here. Then, in September, after the final draft is submitted, you will have one more chance to provide feedback. So, mark your calendar to check back in with the state in the middle of September of this year. The state is doing a phenomenal job making sure everyone’s voice is heard, it’s up to you to take a minute and make a contribution if you have one, participating in our democracy.

One of the items that was discussed at the listening forum were the school differentiation levels. These are the current levels. At least 2 categories are required.

One of the items that was discussed at the listening forum were the school differentiation levels. These are the current levels. At least 2 categories are required.

Some folks at the forum felt that no school should be called Lowest Performing, recommending only 2 levels of differentiation, something like meets and does not meet standards. What do you think about that?

Some folks at the forum felt that no school should be called Lowest Performing, recommending only 2 levels of differentiation, something like meets and does not meet standards. What do you think about that?

There was conversation about the impact duration of the services that newly arrived students receive vs. the measured impact timeframe; There was also good discussion around offering testing options in native languages to test the actual subject level knowledge vs. ESL. For gifted students that are non-native speakers, it is much harder to be identified as gifted and to receive differentiation. The testing in native language may help identification.

There was conversation about the impact duration of the services that newly arrived students receive vs. the measured impact timeframe; There was also good discussion around offering testing options in native languages to test the actual subject level knowledge vs. ESL. For gifted students that are non-native speakers, it is much harder to be identified as gifted and to receive differentiation. The testing in native language may help identification.

These are the current weights of academic indicators in IL for K-8 and 9-12 schools. Overall, IAGC recommends 75% Academic to 25% Student Success indicator ratios, if you wish to contribute to the ESSA survey or submit public commend as per the IAGC recommendation.

These are the current weights of academic indicators in IL for K-8 and 9-12 schools. Overall, IAGC recommends 75% Academic to 25% Student Success indicator ratios, if you wish to contribute to the ESSA survey or submit public commend as per the IAGC recommendation.