Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Advancing Gifted and Talented Services in GCISD

When I was elected to the School Board in 2008, our district was not GT friendly. Back then, we had one part-time administrator for the GT and Advanced Academic programs, our district did not encourage telescoping, and there was no serious effort to cluster students under a GT trained teacher in their regular classrooms. We also had a very small number of minority students with the GT designation. 

In 2010, as a member of the steering committee that developed our strategic plan LEAD 2021, I asked to include the requirement to have all teachers instructing GT students to be GT certified. The strategic plan also included the formation of the GTAC, the GT Advisory Committee, with a goal to become Exemplary with the Texas State Plan for Gifted Education. That same year, my wife and I joined other parents in our district to start SAGE (Supporting and Advocating for Gifted Education - gc-sage.org), currently celebrating its 10th anniversary. In 2013, the GTAC, comprised of parents, teachers and administrators, developed the framework for the Aspire Academy, our very successful program for the highly gifted.

Through our LEAD 2021 plan, GCSID made a strong commitment to serve our GT students. Fast forward to 2020, and we are a destination district for gifted students, with hundreds of students telescoping in math, a strong GT - Advanced Academics department with a Director and full-time staff, and the Aspire Academy was declared the best program for gifted students in the state, after an audit from Dr. Todd Kettler from Baylor University in 2019. Our GT identification rate is currently 21%, the second highest in the state, and first among districts with a diverse student body. We also use a clustering model in our regular classrooms, to allow students to interact with their peers, under the supervision of a certified GT teacher.

I am a GT parent, a lifetime member of SAGE, and a board member of the Gifted Education Family Network (giftededucationfamilynetwork.org), a state-wide parent network. I have been committed to GT education during my twelve years on the School Board. This is even more important now that School Boards are exclusively responsible for the funding of GT education in their districts, since the GT designation for state funds was removed by House Bill 3 in 2019. Additionally, we anticipate that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state budget will experience serious cuts. It is assumed that public education funding will be reduced making it critical we elect trustees that are strong supporters of gifted education and advanced academics. I have worked with parents, our School Board, and the administration to make our GT program one of the shining stars of GCISD, but there is still more work to be done.

Please allow me to continue to support GT services. Who we elect on the School Board matters. I hope that you will share with your friends my record of accomplishments for the GT community in GCISD, and support my re-election campaign for the School Board Place 7 during early voting beginning October 13th or on November 3rd.