Month: June 2015

Letter from the President: Teacher Evaluations

Many of my friends are teachers.  In New Mexico, we’ve all received our annual performance reviews, based on observations of the Danielson teaching characteristics, classroom surveys, and in some cases, value added modeling of test results or “VAM” scores.  Some were given their evaluations just days ago, in the final hours of the school year.

Talk of those evaluations has dominated end-of-year parties, walks, and phone conversations, because most of my friends are either disheartened by the results and/or disillusioned about the validity of the whole system.

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Highlights from the NAGC Affiliate Conference

March 21-24, Washington, DC

By Christy Jewell-Roth, President-Elect, and Dr. PJ Sedillo, Legislative and Higher Education Liaison

We were proud to represent New Mexico at the National Association for Gifted Children State Affiliate Conference held in Washington, DC, in late March. With advocates from states across the country, we discussed local and national issues affecting gifted education. On the last day of the conference, we visited Capitol Hill and met with New Mexico lawmakers and their staff to lobby for gifted legislation before Congress. Specifically, we urged Senators and House members to support legislation known as the TALENT Act that would help close the “excellence gap” between high-achieving students from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more affluent peers. It would do so by reforming how the learning progress of high-achieving students is tracked and reported each year and by ensuring federal teacher training dollars can be used to support gifted education teachers.

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New Mexico News

The U.S. Department of Education will allow New Mexico to use results from its teacher-evaluation system to meet No Child Left Behind Act staffing requirement.

New Mexico is the first state to be granted a waiver of exemption from the “highly qualified teacher” requirement of No Child Left Behind. NMAG members are encouraged to follow this issue with consideration of its implications for gifted education. Please follow the links below for more details about this landmark decision.

NM Receives Waiver PED Press Release

Read the letter from Deborah S. Delisle, Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education to Hannah Skandera, New Mexico’s Secretary of Education:

KRQE News New Mexico Gets Waiver on Teacher Requirements

San Juan Chapter NMAG Conference Highlights

On April 14, the San Juan Chapter of NMAG presented its 4th Annual Conference entitled “Giftedness and the Real World” at the Sycamore Park Community Center in Farmington.  Over thirty-five teachers and parents attended, representing all four school districts in the county.

Keynote Speaker Dr. Amy McConnell Franklin, in her presentation entitled “Pedagogical practices to develop emotion-related skills in gifted students,” guided her audience to consider the three dimensions of emotional intelligence: awareness, intention and choice. She led group activities to engage everyone in the practice of identifying these aspects for themselves and then facilitated discussions about how to help teachers and parents guide their students and children to discover these components for themselves.

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National News

Playing Games Develops Social Skills for Students

It is often said that life is not a game, but a new program funded by the Copperas Cove Education Foundation teaches students lifelong skills through gaming.

How does a teacher’s race affect which students get to be identified as ‘gifted’?

Black students are more likely to be identified as “gifted” when they attend schools with higher proportions of black teachers, according to a new study, and Latino students are more likely to be called gifted when they go to schools with more Latino teachers.

The study doesn’t get at why there is such a correlation, but it adds another layer to a long-simmering debate about why black and Latino children are less likely to be called “gifted” than their white and Asian peers.

Skip A Grade? Start Kindergarten Early? It’s Not So Easy

There may be benefits to allowing advanced students to enter kindergarten early, to skip a grade or take a course above their grade level, according to two recent reports. However, 20 states have policies that prohibit early enrollment in kindergarten, one study found.

IDEA Applies To ‘Twice Exceptional’ Students, Too

The U.S. Department of Education recently sent a reminder memorandum to states saying districts must provide services to “twice exceptional” students under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Federal officials say they have received complaints that some districts are reluctant to evaluate students with intellectual gifts, who also have emotional or mental-health issues.

TAG program pushes county students to reach next level

A Virginia school district meets the needs of its students in gifted education through various enrichment and in-classroom supports. Elementary students work with gifted-education specialists during the school’s intervention period, and specialists work with middle- and high-school teachers to enhance their regular classroom lessons.

N.J. district revives gifted-education program

A New Jersey school district has re-established its gifted and talented education program with the launch of a middle-school program. Students have been engaged in hands-on learning projects such as engineering a bridge and writing a book.

How poverty can affect gifted education

Educators and researchers are reviewing testing profiles and programs to better meet the unique needs of students with intellectual gifts who also live in poverty. This article highlights some of the challenges and programs aimed at serving such students.