Registration complete, flights booked, and research started!

Posted by KATHERINE (KATY) CAUGHRAN on 4/28/2015 3:00:00 PM

Mandi and I are officially registered for Confratute 2015, where we hope to learn more about enrichment programming ideas that we can adapt to fit the needs of our system and each child in our district.  We also expect to gain better understanding of what our role looks like now and how it will look in the future when we put our focus on our students.  We will also network with those at the conference who will help us achieve our goals.  
So what do we do before we go?
Read.  Research. Tweet.  Network.  Ask questions.  Ask harder questions.  Repeat.   
Here are a few questions (in no certain order) that come to mind when thinking about...
  • Our future roles with enrichment within our buildings 
  • The future of our enrichment/gifted program in MBS
  • The roles of classroom teachers when considering enrichment
1. What are our roles as the PAGE teachers currently?
2. In what ways could those roles change?
3. Do they need to change?
4. Would our roles ever overlap the other schools?
5. Does our program name reflect our work with our students?  
6.  If not, what is missing?
7. Are we wanting to gear our program toward profoundly gifted children?
8. What are the positive and negative aspects of changing who are program is actually for in the future?
9. Do we consider the social and emotional needs of gifted students enough in our program?
10.  If not, how could we do a better job with this?  Why is it important?
11. Do we believe that there is a need for gifted children to be pulled out of the regular classroom?
12. Do all of the children currently receiving services need to be served?
13.  If we change our plan, services, and roles, will we grandfather in those students that were already receiving services?
14. How will we involve teachers, students, and the community in a decision that greatly impacts them?
15. With all of the information available on gifted education, how will we know what is really best for our students?
16. Do we believe as a district that there is a need for gifted education?  To what extent?
17.  At what point does some of the responsibility for enrichment stand with the teachers and their methods for differentiation?
18. Do we agree that all 4 schools need to identify, fund, and serve in the same ways?
19. How do we feel about encouraging competition in elementary school as a means to serve students?
20. Do we believe that if a child is placed in PAGE at one school that they should be automatically accepted at another school within the district?
21. What are we doing to make sure that all students who need services are identified?
22.  Is the referral process for parents the same at each school in MBS?  If not, should it be?
23.  Should JUNA  be a way to serve 6th grade PAGE students or open for all to apply?
24.  If JUNA is apply all, should their be a more data driven eligibility process?
25. How should parents and students receive eligibility information about JUNA?  Should it be similar to PAGE?
26. What is stopping us from being considered a gifted program by the state?
27. Are we doing our kids a disservice by not being considered a gifted program by the state?
28.  Will the new standards put out by the state for gifted ed have any impact on us if we are considered to be an enrichment program, not gifted?
29. If so, what are the implications?
30. With any changes that we want to make after research, what will the state cling to as requirements and what will they allow us to do within our district?
31.  A lot of people in gifted ed seem to think that gifted ed programs are not elitist, but why does our program seem to have that vibe?
32. How can we serve gifted students who need services and still work with all students with enrichment?
33. What do we think about opportunities like Genius Hour, Pumpkin Drop, Google Design, Expressions, school plays and performances in terms of giving opportunities for all students to be successful?
34. What do we do in PAGE that challenges our students?  Could other students do the same work if they had the opportunity? How do we know? 
35. Gifted education has typically been cyclical in nature from the start.  I want to know if the whole idea of gifted education and the types of services possible are all outdated.  Could it be that there is a whole new approach that has not been introduced yet?  Could this approach simply not be accepted because it does not fall within our old way of thinking?