FORWARD MATTERS - The Newsletter of Guilford County PAGE


Newsletter - Winter 2017 - 2018

Get the Math Facts

PAGE met with Jen Arberg, the GCS Director of Math, to clarify changes made or proposals pending by the state or the county to math standards (what we teach), pacing (when we teach what), curriculum (with what materials and resources), and testing. 
A North Carolina revision of The Common Core Math Standards K-8 were approved June 2017 and will go into effect next school year, 2018-2019. The common core math standards were reviewed by a statewide team of math teachers; a comparison by grade shows the changes. Revisions to high school courses NC Math I, II, and III were completed two years ago and implemented last school year.
Larger counties like Guilford County have made their own pacing guides, which are maps for teachers of what to teach when during the school year, ensuring students have exposure to all the required material.  Statewide pacing guides to disseminate to all counties are planned to be available for teachers next school year.
Curriculum has been defined in the county’s Guide for Transformational Teaching & Learning as “a coherent series of materials and resources that are developmentally and cognitively appropriate. It provides structured quality tasks that are equitable and inclusive by providing relevant, rigorous and engaging learning experiences….” A county curriculum task force and teacher groups will meet throughout this school year and make a recommendation on any curriculum changes for next year. Their goal is to find a fiscally sustainable resource that can be used in all county schools. Currently, thirteen elementary schools are using a printed version of Eureka Math in some grade levels and four middle schools are using an open education resource to teach middle school math called Open Up Resources by Bill McCallum. 
In the past, students enrolled in Math I or Math II in middle school have had to also take the grade level EOG math test. The state has passed that starting this school year, students in 8th grade who are taking Math I will only take the Math I EOC test and will not take 8th grade EOG math test.  This provision does not address students taking Math I in 7th or Math II in 8th grades; they are still double tested. Sneha Shah-Coltrane,  the state Director of Advanced Learning put it this way at the 2017 NCAGT conference, “Well, it’s a start and maybe eliminating the other double testing will follow naturally.”

Escape Rooms Were Bursting

What do you get when you combine a service learning opportunity for 22 high school students, a cutting-edge design space at a local university, and 32 post-Halloween, school-aged kids?
An opportunity to BREAK OUT!
On November 11, 3rd through 7th graders of PAGE family members used teamwork and creative problem solving to “Escape the Room.” Two weeks prior during a UNCG’s School of Education’s SELF Design Studio workshop, the six teams of area high school students created their “rooms” using BreakoutEDU technology around their own imagined story themes:  Frankenstein (a fallen doctor and her ghost) Halloween (the human body),  Space, International Spy (Cold War/JFK era), Pokemon, and Escape the Island.  Potential escapees relied on a series of clues dismissing the few red herrings to solve the puzzles and unlock a mysterious box, which in turn helped them solve the riddle of their room’s central story.
Most of the participating elementary students revealed that they hadn’t been through an escape room scenario before.  The students rotated through three rooms at 25 minute intervals with a break between intervals to reset the rooms.  After getting their “escape feet” firmly planted during the first session, the remaining two sessions eagerly moved through the rotations.  The high school students modified their rooms during the reset to increase the challenge with the third rotation proving to be the most challenging but not impossible.  One group solved their room so quickly during the second rotation, the high schoolers gave them the opportunity to help reset the room in a more challenging way for the third rotation.
Participants gathered in the SELF Design Studio after each session and were asked to survey their experience.  Overall feedback was positive, some requested harder clues, some asked for additional clues, and most enjoyed opening the various locks (dial and keyed). Several students wouldn’t change a thing – except for more candy at the end.
Special thanks to Mike Renne, Matt Fisher and Lily Carden with the SELF Design Studio for spearheading the Escape Room challenge, and providing an opportunity for parents and students alike to see and explore the Studio during breaks between challenges.  The Studio is a colorful, intriguing space where creativity is stimulated;  3D printers hum in the background building interesting trinkets. The Self Design Studio has workshops open to the public sometimes and summer camps for school-aged students.  With PAGE’s thank you gift, the Studio will purchase a BreakoutEDU box for UNC-G’s School of Education in-service teachers to borrow for their classrooms.


From the Experts: Grit and Talent...

It was 2013 when Angela Duckworth gave her infamous TED talk on grit, defined as the power of passion and perseverance. A reflective and self survey on your grit scale (1 to 5) may show you how gritty you are. Note the qualifiers of this measure and do not assume that each answer set’s most “gritty” is the first response. Towards  the end of her TED talk, the one attribute to having grit is thought to be the dedication of a growth Mindset as studied and written by Carolyn Dweck. 

A backlash from some in the gifted community is documented in Gail Post’s 2015 blog “The grit-talent dichotomy…” Gail Post’s blog Gifted Challenges details “perspectives about giftedness from a clinical psychologist, advocate, consultant, and parent.”  You may wish to read her Best of blogs.

Angela Duckworth has continued to answer questions  from those who assume that in order to teach or have grit, you can only do so at the exclusion of addressing equity or identifying talents in students.  She now heads up the non profit Character Lab that defines, studies and explores how to teach character strengths like curiosity, gratitude, self-control, growth mindset, grit and zest


New AIG Staff

PAGE Welcomes McDougald and Jordan

In addition to Dibrelle Tourret, the executive director, AIG services central office includes two coordinators, one supervisor, and an administrative assistant. Newly hired…
Mr. Barry McDougald is foremost an educator, with high expectations of himself and all learners, who creates engaging opportunities to empower his students both academically and socially.  He has led winning teams of Odyssey of the Mind and Battle of the Books, provided teen inclusion at an Anti-Drug Initiative press conference with Roy Cooper, directed a community literacy program, and has been recognized twice as Teacher of the Year as a middle school English teacher in North Carolina.  In addition to his bachelor’s and master’s degrees  in English Education and  AIG certification from Elon, Mr. McDougald has a wide breadth of life experience from his study abroad, advocacy in DC, and community efforts.  His new position as AIG Coordinator permits Mr. McDougald to support the identification and service of students in grades 3-5 and to ensure implementation consistency of the AIG Plan. Mr. McDougald works closely with Lisa Eilers, who has been with the central office for five years. Together, they accomplish what four coordinators used to do.
Along with 25 years of professional experience in GCS as a middle school math and science teacher, elementary counselor, program specialist in accountability and research, and the three degrees to match, Dr. Dee Jordan also has personal experience as a parent with two AIG identified children, one currently enrolled at the Early College at Guilford. Dr. Jordan understands the need to ensure that rigorous programs continue to be made available for students who are identified as AG.  However, she believes that these programs must address the "whole" student - mind, social, and emotional. As the AG Supervisor, Dr. Jordan’s mandate is to use data to guide AG services and address the opportunities to better serve students from underrepresented populations.  

Upcoming Events

NCAGT Events
Wednesday, January 3rd
New Deadline for NCAGT
Student Scholarships and Awards and
Teacher Mini Grants for Spring 2018
Thursday, March 8th
NCAGT One Day Institute
Reaching All Gifted Learners
Winston-Salem Marriot
GCSNC Events
Tuesday, January 16th
AIG Transitions to Middle School
Florence Elementary and
Irving Park Elementary
Media Center
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Thursday, January 18th
AIG Transitions to High School
Mendenhall Middle and
Southwest Middle
Media Center
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Saturday, January 20th
GCS Choice Showcase
Greensboro Coliseum
Special Events Center
9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Tuesday, January 30th
High School Options Night
Union Hill Elementary School
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

PAGE Service Learning for Students

Guilford County PAGE has a service learning opportunity for you. Participate in a prepared Q & A in conjunction with the GCS AIG Transitions meetings where parents and students who are graduating from 8th grade learn about high school options for academically gifted students.

PAGE would like a representative AIG high school junior or senior at each of the two concurrent meetings on Thursday, Jan. 18th from  the IB Program,  AP Capstone,  a district school,  STEM at A & T, and Early College at Guilford to answer questions about their experience. Sign Up Here

PAGE would also like 7th or 8th grade student representatives from VS at Lincoln, Brown Summit, and a district school to answer questions at the Transitions to Middle School meetings on Tuesday, Jan. 16th. Sign up Here

Contact Katherine Humphreys for questions about this opportunity to help other students and their parents with transition decisions.

Thank You

Thank you to PAGE parent Sarah Keel for documenting the PAGE Escape Room event with pictures and a news story. Sarah is a freelance photographer and mother of AIG kids. 

Thank you  to PAGE member  Emma Linn, GCSNC STEM coordinator and mom of AIG kids, for helping with PAGE’s first service learning project for area high school kids. 

Thank you to Ginny Zmuda, PAGE’s VP, for orchestrating an excellent and very well attended Escape Room event.


Gift Hints

Check out these resources for toys and games for your gifted kids:   Mensa Select Winners  - the  top 5 new board games from 2017;  NAGC’s most recent Parenting for High Potential Toys and Games Review; and Carol Bainbridge’s toy list.
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PO Box 167
Oak Ridge, NC 27310

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