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FORWARD MATTERS - The Newsletter of Guilford County PAGE

FORWARD MATTERS

Newsletter - December 2015 / January 2016

NCAGT 42nd Annual Conference:
Celebrating Exceptional Opportunities

The North Carolina Association for the Gifted and Talented (NCAGT) announces its 42nd annual conference “Celebrating Exceptional Opportunities,” which will take place March 3-4, 2016, in Winston-Salem. Guilford County PAGE is an affiliate of NCAGT, and our board members will attend on behalf of our membership.

The keynote address on March 3 will be delivered by Richard Rusczyk, the founder of Art of Problem Solving (AoPS). On March 4, North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Keana Triplett, will speak during the luncheon, which will also feature a “State of the State” update from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. In addition, the conference features more than 90 content-rich concurrent sessions, including updates from leading experts in gifted education. An exhibit hall features new products, resources and publications.

The conference is for classroom teachers, gifted administrators, college and university faculty, parents and others interested in supporting the educational and social-emotional needs of gifted students.
Members of NCAGT who register by February 1, 2016 are eligible for a discount.
 

NCAGT Advocacy Update

By Linda Robinson, President, NCAGT

As President of NCAGT, I have the great fortune of working with other state associations and National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). Repeatedly, I am in awe of how well North Carolina cares for and develops its gifted learners. Not only do we have one of the strongest state associations in the nation, but we have a state mandate to identify and serve the gifted, state funding for gifted programs, standards and policies that support gifted education and superb leadership in the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), not to mention outstanding parents and teachers!

However, all of these strengths still leave us with areas for greatly needed growth. The following top my list:
  1. The need for classroom teachers to be trained in how to differentiate for academically gifted learners is the greatest need facing our programs. Our high-end students spend most of their time in classrooms with teachers who have had no pre-service or in-service training in identifying and serving these learners. Training should take place at both the university level before teachers enter the classroom and on an on-going, intense basis throughout their teaching career.
  2. As our state population increases in diversity, we need additional means of addressing both identification and development of giftedness within every culture and socio-economic group. Traditional means are no longer effective, especially with students for whom English is a second language. Balancing accuracy with consistency in identification is a difficult and often contentious subject, but we must seek answers that nurture and develop talent potential.
  3. More teachers need to seek and attain AIG licensure. There is a shortage in our state of teachers with add-on AIG licensure, and therefore a critical shortage of qualified candidates to serve in leadership over district programs as AIG Coordinators. Licensure programs must be provided through colleges and universities and must be approved by NCDPI. The cost involved and the lack of a supplement for teachers with a master’s degree have combined to limit the number of teachers and administrators who complete the 180-hour requirements.
North Carolina remains a beacon in the field of gifted education. We owe it to ourselves and the nation to ensure that all students with high levels of academic potential are challenged and their talents developed. 
 

Academically Gifted Department Seeking Plan Input

The GCS Academically Gifted (AG) Department is heading up the task to review and update the county's three-year Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) plan as mandated by NC state law. The plan outlines how the county identifies students for AG services and what those services will be. Part of this process asks administrators, business leaders, parents, teachers and students to read over the current plan and make suggestions. 
 
Forward Matters asked Dibrelle Tourret, GCS AG Executive Director, about this process:
 
Q:  What is the biggest success from the current plan?
The AG department has received very positive feedback regarding the common reading and math units designed for the AG enrichment classroom. The concept-based units are rich and engaging for elementary students and allow teachers to go into greater depth in the areas of high student interest. Additionally, effective communication with parents has improved thanks to monthly teacher newsletters and a collaborative partnership with Guilford County PAGE and Guilford Parent Academy.
 
Q:  What one area do you hope to improve upon in the next plan?
The AG department feels that the greatest area of need is in the provision of appropriate AG services at the middle and high school levels. We would like to be able to better ensure consistency and monitoring of appropriately and distinctly more rigorous curriculum and instruction in the middle school ELA and math classrooms. At the high school level, the availability of honors, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses is well-developed, however, we would like to see a more intentional support structure to address the social and emotional needs of gifted adolescents.
 
Q:  How could Guilford County PAGE members most help with the Plan updating process?
We would greatly appreciate feedback from Guilford County PAGE members on the current AIG plan which is posted on the AG website with links for comments. The most helpful feedback is concrete and specific. We certainly welcome members to raise concerns but request that the concerns be accompanied by suggestions for improvement. Additionally, positive feedback is equally as important in order for us to know what strengths to continue to capitalize on. Positive feedback also indicates community and parental support of gifted education and underlines the need to continue to provide or increase funding and resources to continue to meet the needs of AG students. This type of quantitative and qualitative support allows us to communicate effectively with our Board of Education and the state Department of Public Instruction.

New Online Resource

We are excited to report every student in GCS has free access to Discovery Education’s online education streaming service. In addition, all GCS students in fifth, seventh and eighth grade are eligible to access Discovery Education’s online Science Techbook program. Charter, private and homeschool students can also benefit from the various educational programs on Discovery Education’s website, as they offer free resources for all teachers, parents and students via Discovery Education Online.
 
For GCS student access to Discovery Education online:

STUDENT LOG-IN
1.    Click here to log in 
2.    User Name: student ID #
3.    PW: student date of birth
4.    Once students are logged-in they can start to search using the browser window at the top or they can go to the MY DE dropdown menu to access the Science Techbook or Streaming services.

Discovery Education and GCS will host their final 2015 community information event about the new program at Northern Middle School on December 15, 2015.

Get Involved with PAGE

We are seeking four adult volunteers to fill open board positions. To learn more, please contact Holly Stewart.

Membership Chair: Manage fall membership campaign, database and volunteer list.

  • Design and manage annual membership campaign (August-October)
  • Maintain membership database, provide updates to board, and collaborate with treasurer, as needed, to reconcile payments
  • Provide support for members-only programming and events
  • Attend board meetings
  • Time commitment: Average 3-4 hours per month

Adult Programming Chair: Develop programs of interest and enrichment for adults

  • Identify areas of interest for parents/educators/adult supporters of gifted education to develop programming/events
  • Plan and lead coordination of at least 2 programs per school/membership year
  • Attend board meetings
  • Time commitment: Average 2 hours per month

Sponsorship Chair: Manage community relations, donations and grants

  • Identify and secure funding, grants or in-kind donations to support chapter initiatives
  • Develop strategic relationships with educationally-minded community organizations in  Guilford County
  • Attend board meetings
  • Time commitment: Varies, 1-4 hours per month
New Initiative Benefits GCS Students Say Yes to Education is an innovative initiative in Guilford County, which will help students attending Guilford County Schools pay for college tuition. The first recipients of last-dollar tuition scholarships are projected to be students graduating in 2016 from the county’s public high schools.

For updates and further information, please email Say Yes to Education or contact Guilford Parent Academy at 336.370.2351.
The following information is excerpted from the Say Yes to Education organization.

Q: What is Say Yes to Education?
Say Yes to Education is a nonprofit organization founded in the late 1980s by money manager George Weiss, whose business is headquartered in New York City and Hartford, CT. In 1987, Weiss promised 112 sixth graders at a Philadelphia public school, that when they graduated high school, he would pay for their college education. He also provided the students, and their families, with supports to help them reach that goal. He repeated this promise over the next two decades with other groups of children in Philadelphia, as well as in Cambridge, MA, Hartford, CT, and Harlem in New York City.

In the mid-2000s, in response to Weiss’ desire to take the idea of Say Yes to scale, the organization expanded its strategy to apply to entire communities—and to make its services available to all of the children enrolled in a community’s public schools. Since then, Say Yes has helped galvanize its partner communities around three main goals. First, Say Yes helps communities build local endowments that provide last dollar tuition scholarships so public school graduates can afford and complete a postsecondary education. Second, Say Yes works with the community to build student supports that help students every step of the way. In other Say Yes communities, these include after-school programs, summer programs, tutoring, legal assistance, health services and more. Third, Say Yes works with school leadership to ensure students are on the path to academic success.

Today, Say Yes college scholarships and services are available to more than 65,000 public school students from kindergarten through high school. Most reside in Syracuse and Buffalo, New York – the two locations where Say Yes has been implemented citywide.

Q: When will Say Yes tuition scholarships be available to Guilford County School students?
The goal is to make Say Yes scholarships available to students who graduate from GCS high schools in spring of 2016 – this coming spring’s graduating class. While many details remain to be worked out, the expectation is that students enrolling in colleges, universities and other postsecondary programs as soon as the fall of 2016 who meet the partnership’s eligibility requirements (see below) will be able to do so with Say Yes scholarships.

Q: Who will be eligible for tuition scholarships?
Students who graduate from GCS high schools beginning in spring 2016 will eligible. There are some basic requirements for student eligibility, including different tiers for eligibility depending on the length of enrollment in GCS.

The following tiers have been approved by the Scholarship Board based on continuous enrollment in Guilford County Schools.
 
Grade entered, continuously enrolled % Last Dollar Tuition Scholarship
6-12 100%
9-12 75%
10-12 50%
11-12 25%
12 0%

* This is the working policy for the 2015-2016 school year. The Scholarship Board will continue to meet to refine policies.

Q: How will scholarships to in-state public universities work?
An endowment built with local, private contributions will provide last-dollar tuition scholarships for all graduates of GCS to attend North Carolina public colleges, universities, or community colleges. These scholarships will close the gap between grants and aid, like Pell grants, and the cost of in-state tuition. Graduates will be eligible for a scholarship to an in-state public university regardless of family income. Depending on endowment funding, students with Pell grants that cover the full cost of tuition could be eligible for Opportunity Grants to help with other college costs.

Q: How will the scholarships work at private colleges or universities?
More than 100 private colleges and universities across the country participate in the Say Yes Higher Education Compact. Compact members agree to provide scholarships to students in Say Yes communities, and include schools such as Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Davidson College, Duke University, Northwestern University, Notre Dame, Syracuse University, Tulane University, Vanderbilt University and more. See the full list of the national compact members
(Note: As indicated on the website, a handful of smaller Compact institutions, most of them located within 60 miles of the Say Yes chapters in Buffalo and Syracuse, only provide scholarships to students in those communities.)

These institutions have agreed to waive tuition for students in Say Yes communities who are admitted to their programs and who have annual family incomes of $75,000 or less. When a graduate of GCS is admitted to a private school in the Compact—and his/her family earns $75,000 or less annually – the student’s tuition would be covered, after outside aid like Pell Grants has been taken into account. Expenses such as fees and living expenses would not be covered by the Say Yes scholarship.

If admitted to a private institution in the Compact, students with family incomes greater than $75,000 will qualify for an annual scholarship of up to $5,000 from our local endowment to reduce the tuition burden. (Note: the final determination of a particular’s family income, as it pertains to scholarship eligibility, rests with the private colleges and universities themselves.)

Remember, all students (regardless of family income) are eligible for the Say Yes “last-dollar” scholarships to attend any of the 16 public colleges and universities in the North Carolina system, along with numerous community colleges.

Visit the Say Yes to Education Guilford website to learn more. 


GUILFORD COUNTY PAGE EVENTS

Feb. 5, 2016, 12-1 p.m.
Feb. 8, 2016, 2-3 p.m.

FREE Webinar:
Finding Merit Scholarships

Get more info

 

Feb. 20, 2016, 3 p.m.
Members Only Event: SELF Design Studio
UNCG’s Student Education Learning Factory (SELF) Design Studio! The SELF Design Studio hosts a variety of emerging technologies and tools for students. We’ll explore wind table flyer prototyping, Rigamajig building, circuitry challenges, 3D modeling (using Tinkercad) and green screen video production. Participation will be limited to 30 people so watch for our e-invitation coming this February.


 

GCS EVENTS

Dec. 15, 6-8 p.m.
Discovery Education Techbook Experience
Community information event at Northern Middle School


Jan. 12, 2016, 6-7 p.m.
AG Transitions to Middle School
Millis Road Elementary
Sternberger Elementary


Jan. 26, 2016, 6-7:30 p.m.
ACT/SAT Information session
Ragsdale High School


Jan. 28, 2016, 6-7:30 p.m.
ACT/SAT Information session
Grimsley High School


 

AREA EVENTS

Dec. 5, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Blacksmith Demonstration
High Point Museum

Through Dec. 11
"Life After Death: The Day of the Dead in Mexico"
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem
Anthropology Museum

Dec. 11, 4:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Festive Family Friday
SciWorks, Winston-Salem
$1/person and free for members


Dec. 12, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m
Christmas by Candlelight Tour
Korner’s Folly, Kernersville
$6 to $10/person


Dec. 21-30 (various)
Little Blank Canvas 
Art and Digital Programming Camps
High Point
Fees vary, pre-registration required


Through Jan. 2, 2016
Wild Winter Tours
Conservators Center
Burlington
Fees and advance registration required

 

Hot Cocoa, Marshmallows and Favorite TED Talks 

What do hot cocoa, marshmallows and favorite TED Talks have in common? With the brisk days of winter upon us, it’s marshmallows, of course.

Joachim de Posada talks about delayed gratification and the classic marshmallow experiment.

For Tom Wujec, the marshmallow is the key ingredient to success with the build a tower experiment
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