An Open Letter to Ohio’s Lawmakers

letter_1404675738To Ohio’s State Elected Representatives,

I am Jeffrey Shoemaker, a Gifted Intervention Specialist for the Lima City School District in Lima, Ohio. I have been teaching gifted children for 11 years of my 17 years of teaching. I wanted to give my support to giving Regular Education teachers 60 hours of Gifted Education training spread out over 2 years.

I started my teaching career in 2000 teaching urban children Social Studies. I had a wide range of intellectuals in my classroom. I had some students who were gifted, and I had some who were regular and special education students. Trying to meet the needs of my students were important to me, and it was a challenge to make sure all of my students were challenged to their intellectual abilities. I can tell you I failed at this. I took me a few years to figure out some differentiation strategies that work with some of my students.

I got into Gifted Education because I had a child at the time that was in my school district’s gifted program. I wanted to know more. I spent 2 years taking classes, and learning more and more about the complexities of gifted children. I learned teaching strategies, and theories behind gifted education. I was hooked. The more I learned about giftedness and gifted children I better understood how I was going to challenge them in my classroom.

Regular Education teachers need to further understand who gifted children are. They need to know how to challenge them. Most Regular Education teachers will see a gifted child get done with their work and reward them with more work. That’s not what to do. They need extension activities, and enrichment activities to challenge them and keep them from creating classroom disruptions. When we don’t challenge our gifted children, we rob them of their learning. We cheat them educationally. As teachers we need to fan the flames of passion with our children, not drill and kill activities that most gifted children will get fairly quickly and lose interest in.

I want to urge you to keep the mandate of 60 hours of professional development in the law. We need to have all teachers understand who are gifted children are, and how to effectively teach them. Universities and colleges do not put enough emphasis on gifted education. So it is up to the school district to make sure teachers are given the opportunity to learn effective strategies of teaching gifted children.

Educationally Yours,

Jeffrey Shoemaker, M.Ed

If you are interested in emailing your State Representatives Below are their email addresses. I will be sending this letter to all of them.

Peggy Lehner (R) – Chair

Matt Huffman (R) – Vice Chair

William Coley (R)

Randy Gardner (R)

Gayle Manning (R)

Rob McColley (R)

Steve Wilson (R)

Louis Terhar (R)

Vernon Sykes (D)

Joe Schiavoni (D)

Cecil Thomas (D)




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