Tag Archives: urban

Minorities in Gifted Programs

I love teaching in my urban school district. I have been teaching gifted children for over a dozen years now, and more often than not, I find that my classes are different year after year. Some years I have quite a few minorities, and some years I don’t.

I have been reading several blogs and research papers to get my head around this idea that minorities aren’t represented accurately in gifted programming. I truly do feel that this is a valid issue that needs to have attention brought to it.

So here is a few things I have found in my readings about minorities in gifted programming in urban settings:

  1. Gifted minorities may not test well due to language barriers
  2. Gifted minorities may not test well due to lack of life experiences
  3. Many gifted minorities have parents who never went to college or finished high school; they may be the first to do this in their family, so education may not be high on the list
  4. The test used to screen many urban minorities may not be the correct one to accurately screen for minorities

When you look across your gifted classes as a GIS, or as a coordinator does the percent of minorities that are in you school meet the percent of minorities in your gifted classes? If not, are you concerned? What can you do to help fix this problem?

A few suggestions that I have to help fix this problem are:

  1. Check your screener tests. Is there a better one that could help with identifying gifted children of minorities?
  2. Talk to regular education teachers to see if there are minorities who may be showing signs they are gifted, but it isn’t obvious
  3. Talk to regular education teachers, and express to them negative classroom behaviors may be a sign of a bored child that may be gifted

As a GIS, my passion is to see as many gifted children succeed in class, and ultimately in life. I feel that a great gifted program takes into account all the factors that limit students chances of getting and succeeding in a gifted classroom. Sometimes it changing tests, test scores, or culture. Teaching regular education teachers characteristics of gifted children will always help.  Staying in contact with regular education teachers and helping them see some obvious and latent behaviors that can help them recognize and ultimately recommend these students for gifted testing.

What are some things your school district does to ensure gifted minorities are being identified and serviced?


Everyone Deserves a Standing Ovation

Yesterday my wife emailed me an article from the Washington Post. It highlighted a blog by an anonymous writer who works in an urban school district called LoveTeachBlog. The title of blog is what captured my fancy, which was Teacher: What I wish everyone knew about working in some high needs schools. I hope that you can get the chance to read this blog post. It was very good, and very heart-felt. I work in a Title 1 school, and some what the author was expressing I can relate to.

There was one section that stuck out to me, and it says:

I would tell them about my quietest student, and how, on the day of our poetry slam, she stood up in front of the class and, in a voice that was loud and confident, recited every word of Amy Gerstler’s “Touring the Doll Hospital” by memory, and how all of us gave her a standing ovation and ran to hug her afterwards, and how it made me think of the quote from a character in Wonder by R.J. Palacio, “Everyone deserves a standing ovation because we all overcometh the world.” It was one of those weird moments where literature and life and beauty crash into you together at a thousand miles an hour and it knocks the wind out of you, but you look around and you’re alive, more than ever.

This paragraph stood out to me, because I began to wonder, do I do enough to empower my students to take a risk, and when they do take that risk do I praise them enough? Do I show my students how to give praise other students when it is deserved?

I have students like the one the author of the text describes. I have very smart gifted children, but some of them are very shy and quiet. Every so often one of these very shy gifted children will do something that is so unexpected, that it really does warrant a standing ovation not only from me but from their peers.

It already seems that many gifted students get left behind in some way, because most teachers think since they are smart they don’t need too many interventions. This isn’t true. The term gifted checked in their student I.D. box is just a check mark. They need to be praised. Many teachers just expect their project to be great, and so in those situations they don’t always get the recognition they deserve from the teacher and from their peers.

How do we expect our students to take risks in the classroom if we don’t give them recognition. How do we help those shy children come out of their shell, and show us their real self?I don’t know the answers to all the questions this post posses, but I do know the environment has to be a safe and inviting. Students ought to feel appreciated when they do good work, and take risks.

You know everyone deserves a standing ovation…especially in the classroom.

How Bad Do you Want it?

I came across this speech the other day. It moved me. The author of the speech is Eric Thomas the Hip Hop Preacher.

I was amazed how he told the truth to the students he was speaking to. I think as teachers we also need to motivate and inspire our students by telling the truth. To be successful you have to work hard. There will be sacrifices. There will be success but it isn’t easy.

Let me know what you think.