WASHINGTON COUNTY – A group of concerned adults, parents, and teachers have been working for months to organize the Washington County Association for Gifted Children and affiliate it with the Utah Association for Gifted Children. Anyone interested in participating, helping the cause, or just listening and learning is invited to join in on the meeting Thursday, May 16 at 5 p.m. in the St. George Public Library: Community Room A.
During Thursday’s meeting the association’s organizers plan to discuss some of the general issues, elect some officers, work on the application process for becoming an affiliate of the state association, and possibly vote on the bylaws.
The first official meeting was held back on March 6 and was held to gauge interest in forming such an affiliate. Approximately 50 people attended that meeting and they decided to move forward and form the Washington County Association. They also nominated temporary chairs for three committees: Bylaws, Elections, and Members.
Several Washington County School District teachers are spearheading the Washington County Association for Gifted Children to create more opportunities to help students who excel in various subjects. The association will work together with the school district to create some of these opportunities. In fact, Shauna Williams, the district’s high ability coordinator, is also involved in the organization of the program.
According to the Utah Association for Gifted Children website, gifted children are defined as:
“… those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10 percent or rarer) in one or more domains. Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (for example, mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (for example, painting, dance, sports).”
According to this description, there are many local students that this group is trying to help by offering them more opportunities; they are planning to start with students who are gifted in language arts, mathematics, and science.
Along with being an advocate for these kids, the Washington County association, as a state affiliate, will have the opportunity to help with as many of the following as they have “energy and membership to support:”
• Create a newsletter to let others know your concerns, issues, and accomplishments.
• Network with local principals to develop a positive relationship and advocate for gifted/talented programs.
• Plan and schedule guest speakers on some aspect of gifted education.
• Write letters to educators about gifted/talented issues.
• Attend school board meetings (wear some kind of identification so that they know who you are).
• Investigate the possibility of sponsoring some type of competition in your school community (Odyssey of the Mind, History Fair, Future Problem Solving, etc.).
• Plan and conduct an informational “Creativity Night” for parents.
• Send members to the yearly midwinter UAGC Conference held in January.
• Send members to the yearly NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children) Conference held in the Fall.
• Send members to the yearly Intermountain Gifted Conference held at Utah State University in June.
• Read and report on current literature related to gifted education.
• Volunteer to help teachers develop projects/activities for Gifted/Talented students in a local school.
• Purchase books on gifted education for your local library.
• Work with the local PTA and school Principal to advocate for Gifted/Talented students on the school level.
• Encourage and help establish small school-level committees consisting of parents, teachers and the Principal to review, assess, and assist gifted education at the local schools.
Many local teachers and parents have put in a lot of hard work to get this group up and going, especially Krista White, who is the faciliator for the Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School High Ability Learners. White greatly benefitted as a student from her mother who took advantage of programs similar to this one. She has shown a determination to develop opportunities for local students, but needs help to make it happen.
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