Gifted & Talented

03/18/2020 UPDATE
GT Students and Families:
I am working closely with teachers to provide enrichment activities for GT learners, specifically with regard to science and social studies, but will provide additional resources for other coursework as well. I will also be contacting students and families individually with information on student goals and other GT related matters. Please look for these items shortly. Thank you for your participation and patience. Mrs. Puckett

     STUDENTS & FAMILIES
      -A message from Mrs. Puckett-
As we travel the uncharted territory of online school, we'll all be learning how to teach and learn in novel ways. In the next couple of days you will find STEM and critical thinking activities on this page that can be done at home.
Please take this opportunity to explore some fun and new activities as a family. 
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I will also be emailing you once I have all parent addresses so we can further communicate about supporting our gifted learners at this time.
Thank you, 
Mrs.P
Parents: Please look for an email from me regarding GT. If you did not receive an email, please message me and we will get you set up. Thank you!

Greetings! You have arrived at Excel Academy’s GT (Gifted and Talented) page. Here you will find all sorts of resources. Please look around and see what’s happening in Excel's GT community!

_____________________________


There have been many changes implemented this year at Excel Academy, including the GT department. We have added a Social/Emotional curriculum as well as a College and Career Readiness program for 7th and 8th graders. 

As your GT Specialist, Mrs. Puckett will be working with GT students in a variety of ways including; teaching middle school electives; working closely with gifted fifth grade students in reading; regularly meeting with all GT students (88 to be precise!); co-teaching Mrs. Ham’s GT ELA class; teaching the College and Career Readiness program in middle school; supplementing an advanced 7th grade math class, and much more!

Please feel free to contact Mrs. Puckett with any GT related questions. We look forward to working with you and your students.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Caught in the middle: How to help gifted children survive the middle school years

This article describes challenges that gifted children in middle school face and what parents can do to help them.

  • Author
    Post, G.
  • Caught in the middle.

Just when life seemed manageable, middle school-aged children face confusion and uncertainty. Social demands, hormonal changes, and a burgeoning sense of independence challenge the self that once was. New worlds unfold, and the old rules from elementary school don't work any more. Neither child nor adult, they must discover who they are and how to define themselves.

Giftedness complicates matters even further. Heightened sensitivity, introversion, asynchronous development, a preoccupation with fairness, and intensely focused interests can make the middle school years even more difficult to navigate.

What challenges of middle school do gifted children face?

Fitting in - All middle school children face pressure to conform; how much they choose to conform and how well they manage to fit in (https://giftedchallenges.blogspot.com/2013/11/gifted-children-need-place-to-belong.html) can determine whether they gain acceptance. Wearing the right clothes, affecting that certain attitude, and following the music, sports and pop culture icons of the moment are critical. Each middle school creates its own social hierarchy, and traits associated with giftedness are rarely valued. Intellectual interests, academic striving, emotional sensitivity, and concern about the meaning of life are not typical priorities for most middle school students. As a result, gifted children question whether to conform and disguise who they are, or find a small, select group of like-minded peers and remain an outlier from the larger group.

Bullying - A more serious threat is the risk of being bullied (http://sengifted.org/teasing-and-gifted-children/). The gifted child's intellectual differences, sensitivity, and talents can be targeted by other children. Due to their highly developed sense of fairness and justice, gifted children may be appalled by a social culture that perpetuates bullying, and feel unprepared to defend themselves. Those who lag behind in social skills may be particularly unprepared to navigate these challenges when bullying is part of the school environment. Repeated bullying can contribute to anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances isolation from others and physical complaints, and can create lasting emotional scars.

Underachievement - Enthusiasm for learning, often embraced throughout elementary school, sometimes fades in middle school. A variety of factors may play a role: social distractions, disappointment and boredom with classes, a decision to "dumb themselves down" to fit in, or role confusion. Gifted girls, in particular, may mask their intellectual skills to be more attractive to boys. And in schools where sports are highly valued, boys may assume that they cannot be athletic and pursue academic interests at the same time.

Identity formation - Middle school is a time when teens start to define themselves. Despite the pressure of conformity and a rigid school culture, most young gifted teens develop a distinct sense of who they are, with strong preferences, interests, and opinions. As they come to terms with their abilities, they must decide how this identity will form their sense of self. Will they hide their giftedness so that they can fit in with peers? Or will they embrace their identity as a "smart kid" or "nerd," regardless of the social consequences? Can they be smart and athletic? Can they be popular and achieve good grades?

A new awakening - Gifted middle school-aged teens open their eyes to the world around them with startling acuity. They start to question values and see the complexity and uncertainty inherent in what they once trusted. They may lose respect for authority figures, abandon family values and religious beliefs, and question the meaning and purpose of their existence. This painful existential awakening can eventually help them understand and define themselves more clearly. But, it may be confusing and difficult for a child to navigate. Some gifted children find a cause or activity that captivates their interests, while others may become anxious, depressed or disengaged.

Gifted middle school children need their parents' guidance as they traverse this difficult transition. Since middle school is considered a difficult time for most children, a gifted child's concerns could be easily dismissed as part of "normal" growing pains. Yet, their intensity, sensitivity, and the limited availability of true peers increases the likelihood of a rough road. Some manage without difficulty, but others continue to struggle throughout high school and beyond, battling underachievement, depression or feelings of alienation.

What can parents do to help them?

1. Tune in and listen. Pay attention to what they say and what they don't say. Notice changes in behavior, loss of interest in activities, refusal to spend time with friends. Other signs of concern include sleep problems, changes in appetite, apathy, a drop in grades, physical complaints (without a known medical cause), anxiety, or extreme irritability.

2. Ask them directly about their lives. What, are you kidding? OK, many teens are as closed as a vault, but with some timing and skill, you can find out more about what they are feeling. Sometimes teens are more receptive to communication when sharing an activity you both enjoy, riding in the car, or talking before bed. Parents know their children best and can usually find a good time to start the conversation.

3. Keep your emotions in check. Yes, it is upsetting and even infuriating to see your child struggle. But parents need to manage their own feelings without placing this added burden on their children. Middle school is a time when life feels out of control for many children. It's OK to show children that you feel angry about an injustice at school or empathize with how they feel. If your sadness or rage is excessive, though, they won't have the calm, stable foundation they need during this difficult time. If you need support, reach out to adult family members, friends, or a counselor. Even an online forum (http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/) can help.

4. Withhold judgment. Quickly coming to conclusions, offering immediate advice, or taking charge will backfire. Children either rebel (through angry refusal or passive eye-rolling), or initially comply, but fail to develop the skills to negotiate difficult social situations. Your advice is valuable, but first help them sort through possible solutions to the problem. Ask what they think might work, help them brainstorm, and weigh the pros and cons of different outcomes.

5. Advocate, advocate. When schools offer little in terms of options for gifted children, parents need to strategically advocate (https://giftedchallenges.blogspot.com/2014/03/why-arent-you-advocating-for-your.html) for services their children deserve. The teacher, principal, administration and school board may need input regarding what your child and what all gifted children need. Get educated (http://www.nagc.org/) about the needs of gifted children.

6. Seek support. Most importantly, if the school is unable to help, or if your child is showing signs of emotional distress, it is important to seek guidance and counseling (https://giftedchallenges.blogspot.com/2013/11/when-does-therapy-benefit-gifted.html). While services may be available through the school, you may need to find a therapist outside of school who can meet with you and your child. Your pediatrician or the school psychologist are often excellent resources for recommending referrals in your area.

___________________________________________________________________________


2019-20 JEFFCO GT PARENT LEARNING

Time: 6:15 - 8:00 pm

Location: Jeffco Education Center's 5th floor Boardroom

1829 Denver West Drive #27

Golden, CO 80401

 

Topic: Social Emotional Needs of Gifted Children, Affective Goals/Goal Setting, Early Access,

Executive Functioning, Gifted and Talented 101

February 24, 2020

Topic: JAGC/GT Collaboration Panel

JAGC members, parents, GT Resource Teachers, SELCs and students

Only questions around general policies, procedures, GT learners will be addressed

by the panel.

Additional Information

- Cancellations will be posted on WWW.JEFFCOPUBLICSCHOOLS.ORG/GT

- Parents do not need to RSVP

- Babysitting is not available

- Age appropriate attendance is encouraged
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Image result for resourcesLooking for Resources? Here are some helpful links for parents and students. Enjoy!




Jeffco's Page for GT students and families: 

http://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/programs/gifted_talented

National Association for Gifted Children:  
https://www.nagc.org

Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted:  
http://sengifted.org/

Byrdseed (a site created by Ian Byrd): http://www.byrdseed.com/

Hoagies' Gifted: http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/

Carol Dweck's Growth Mindset: https://mindsetonline.com/

                 



Image result for social skills clip art
Affective Goals

Every year, all students write an Affective Goal to go along with their Academic, or SMART goal. Affective goals refer to personal growth that students would like to implement in their lives. The options for Affective Goals are limitless. For some students this may be that they want to work on coming to class with a positive attitude every day, completing and handing in assignments on time, adopting a growth mindset, learning to better appreciate others, or to develop positive relationships with others and many many more. Affective goals help us meet the developmental needs of the whole child.

It’s important to address gifted students’ needs so that they can be successful as individuals in the world and here in school. Every GT student has created an Affective Goal, ask your child about theirs!

Mrs. Puckett 
M.Ed.





JEFFCO VIRTUAL ACADEMY: GIFTED AND TALENTED

 

And, we're expanding to a 7th AND 8th grade option starting 2019-2020!  



In collaboration with the GT Department, Jeffco Virtual Academy now offers full-year core courses for 7th and 8th grade that are developed and taught by certified GT teachers. These GT courses enrich the standard curriculum, move at a faster pace, ask students to think deeply and creatively, and address social emotional needs.  

_______________________________________ About Mrs. Puckett Mrs. Puckett has been the GT Specialist at Excel Academy for the past four years. She LOVES her students and the wonderful staff that she gets to work with! She was inspired to become a GT Specialist because she saw the need for support for GT students through the experience with her own gifted sons. The photo on the left is of Jack, who is 18 and a student at Mesa State University. Jack is very politically active, loves mountain climbing and has a wonderful sense of humor. The middle photo is of Mrs. Puckett and her husband (who she affectionately calls "Puck") of 24 years. They love their time together and laugh probably a little too much! The photo on the right is of Mason. Mason is 21 years old and is a drummer in a band, Chewy&Bach. He is an extremely talented and adventurous young man who loves his dogs and making music.