Back to School
from BCESC Gifted Coordinator Cathy Chenoweth
Hopefully you are settling back into school this fall whether it’s full-time in person, hybrid, or fully remote instruction. As large as the challenges seem to be and as much as things may have changed, you are still proving your dedication and professionalism. Thank you for your hard work and passion for reaching kids. I know it is worrisome how much academic ground the students may have lost over the past six months. It may seem like the summer slide is on steroids this year.
But did you know that the summer slide is not as common with gifted children? A typical child usually shows the most academic growth during the school year and tends to stagnate or regress during the summer, but this is not the case with gifted children. They frequently make as much, and sometimes more growth in the summer than during the school year (via Duke University and EdWeek).

Imagine the ramifications this trend has for the 2020- 2021 school year. The students who were already working ahead of their peers may have made significant gains during the spring and summer shut down while many other students may have fallen further behind. 

So what does this mean for us in schools now? It is more important than ever to use effective pre- and formative assessments that measure where your students are, what they are ready to learn, and what they have already mastered.

  • What assessments do you have at your disposal to obtain information about your students’ learning? Does your district use MAP, iReady or STAR assessments? Dig into those results. They are a gold mine of information.

  • Check out the ODE Restart Readiness Assessments and the accompanying Centralized Reporting System. As soon as your district has rostered the students in TIDE, you can begin administering those assessments and using the resulting data. Giving the end-of-year assessments from the previous grade level may be an especially helpful place to start.

Once we know where students are in their learning, we can follow up with appropriately differentiated instruction. Every student deserves to learn something new, but how can we possibly manage that when we are already overwhelmed with the demands of 2020? Well, you know the old saying about how you eat an elephant - one bite at a time. Look at one thing you are planning to teach and think about how you can open up that assignment, activity, or lesson for a student who may already know it or who may learn it in a fraction of the time. Where can you take the ceiling off? Where can you add some student choice? Where can you add depth or enrichment around a topic?

Don’t forget to get feedback from your students. Sometimes asking them what they need or what they are interested in learning is the best thing you can do.
As always, if I can help in any way, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. BCESC has several options for you to help meet the needs of your gifted learners and obtain your Gifted HQPD hours this school year. You're welcome to join us for any or all of them.

Take care,
Cathy
(513) 896-2322 office
(513) 379-3619 cell