In this issue
As part of Gifted & Talented Awareness Week 2021, our Conference Committee organized a Student Engagement Day on Friday, February 26th.
Please use this as a "working document" for planning your lessons or activities for students on Friday, Feb. 26th to celebratet G/T Awareness Week!
Winter 2020 Newsletter
Like you, I’m exhausted! We’ve somehow managed to make it through the fall semester of 2020! It feels like I’ve aged 4 or 5 years in the past 6 months alone!
With that being said, we are all balancing onsite work, online work, homeschooling, virtual assignments on top of maintaining our family and personal lives. Add to that all of the volunteer work like AGATE and you have pushed yourselves to lengths previously unimaginable.
Thank you for doing your normal job on top of everything else that’s been thrown on you. You’ve gone above and beyond to complete all of the extra pieces to ensure your students and their families have the help and resources they need to do their job.
Thus far, AGATE has hosted 16 FREE Webinars ranging from “Tips to Teaching G/T Virtually” to “Managing Perfectionistic Tendencies in Students.” All current webinars are available under the Members-Only Resource tab on the website. We are continually adding LIVE or On Demand webinars throughout the school year for you to watch at your own availability. These resources are put out by experts and a great opportunity to learn more about the students we serve. We encourage watching and sharing accordingly!
We had over 400 members join or renew their 2020 membership! Growing membership gives our statewide organization more advocacy and influence for the upcoming 93rd General Assembly. Legislators know AGATE members because we are active, engaged, and present at many committee meetings and email campaigns to advocate for our gifted youth. We will need all of you on standby to do the same should we have a need this legislative session.
More members applied for AGATE Scholarships and Awards this year than in recent memory, showing us there’s a growing community of teachers interested in joining our profession! Keep up the great work, as I see this as a reflection of the exceptional work many of you are doing!
Now, as we are gearing up for our FIRST EVER virtual AGATE conference, please know our conference committee (chaired by Jennifer Park and Monica Springfield) have put countless time and energy into making sure it’s a huge success. Many of our keynote speakers were also featured at the NAGC virtual conference in November. Membership Vice-President Karen Grady is also working on activities you can do with students during the annual Gifted & Talented (G/T) Awareness Week (Feb. 22-26, 2021).
Until we see you in February, be safe, wear a mask, and please know I truly appreciate all that you have done and are doing for the gifted community in Arkansas. THANK YOU!
Calendar of Events
"Gaming (For Teachers)" on Tuesday, January 12th @ 6:30pm
(Description: Attendees will hear and see a plethora of game choices that are appropriate for the classroom from the AGATE Board Secondary Teacher Representative Katina Harper-Hill.)
"Managing Perfectionistic Tendencies in Your Secondary Students (grades 7-12)" on Thursday, January 14th @ 7pm
(Description: O.U.R. G/T Specialist will discuss best practices for educators and parenting tips for working with students who have perfectionist tendencies (grades 7-12). Audience is parents and teachers of secondary students.)
"ESL & Gifted" on Tuesday, February 2nd @ 7pm
(Description: Dr. Karen Henery of the Little Rock School District (LRSD) will speak on identifying ESL students and discuss what to look for when there is a language barrier.)
"AGATE Conference 2021 - Q&A" on Monday, February 15th @ 7pm
(Description: Join AGATE Conference Chairs Jennifer Park and Monica Springfield answer questions about the FIRST EVER Virtual AGATE Conference. They will explain the electronic process for registering as well as the Student Engagement Day FREE piece for all AGATE members on Friday, Feb. 26th. Don't miss this session if you plan on attending AGATE 2021.)
AGATE Conference - February 24-25, 2021
(voting on February 25, 2021)
AGATE Board Positions beginning July 1, 2021:
District II Director - Marcia Smith
District IV Director - Stephanie Hollis
Affiliate Director - Dr. Monica Meadows
Nominations Committee Positions (Vote for Two)
(AGATE Board of Directors approved slate of officers - Dec. 3, 2020; Posted on website Jan. 4, 2021)
District Representative Reports
News from District II: Marcia Smith
Ellie Feng of the Conway School District aced the ACT exam in 7th grade and as a 9th grade student has made a perfect score on the PSAT which qualifies 11th grade students for National Merit. She remains down to earth, loves school and is currently enrolled in AP Physics 1. Her enthusiasm for school and desire to learn is an inspiration to those around her.
Mom even shared her score if you want to add it. She was at the 99th %ile and scored 1520 out of 1520. She is an amazing little girl and such a pleasure to be around.
District 4 Updates: Laura West
Care of Magical Creatures Class at Wilson Intermediate
Fifth and sixth grade students at Wilson Intermediate in Malvern joined with Casey Hardaway from Arkansas Game and Fish to explore the hidden world of Hogwarts “Black Lake” and learn about Bio-phobias. Ms. Casey joined the classes by Zoom for this exploration of Bio-phobias including possums, bats, snakes, and microorganisms. Using microscopes from an education grant from Game and Fish, students also compared two different lake samples and explored unseen life in aquatic habitats. She also shared Allie the Alligator with us—the real alligator that was rescued and now lives at the nature center and helps with education programs.
Hot Springs World Class High School GT students attended a virtual ArtSPARK day with UA Little Rock's Department of Art and Design.
This program is usually offered on campus at the Wingate Center in the fall and spring - this was their first virtual ArtSPARK.
Students attended 4 30-minute classes with UA Little Rock art professors on drawing, animation, graphic design and painting. The university sent door prizes and scholarship materials for students interested in pursuing art studies in college.
A Day of Service is the official state observance of the congressionally legislated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, observed on the third Monday of January each year.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a renowned civil rights leader who fought for equality and recognized the power of service. He said, "Everyone can be great because everybody can serve." Observing the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday through service is a way to begin each year with this in mind.
In promoting a message of service, the youth of Arkansas were challenged to demonstrate what they can do to keep Dr. King’s dream alive and relevant in this 2021 King Holiday: Day of Impact Essay Contest. This experience served to increase students’ knowledge about Dr. King, and enhance their language and writing skills, creativity, self-esteem, and character.
9th grade GT student Michaela Stevens, from Hot Springs Junior Academy, scored a 99 on her essay and has been declared the high school (grades 9-12) winner of the 2021 MLK Holiday Statewide Essay Contest. In addition to Michaela’s $100 Walmart/Sam’s Club gift card award, for being the overall statewide winner, a $1,500 Walmart/Sam’s Club Foundation grant will be issued to the Hot Springs Junior Academy.
We are so proud of Michaela!
District 5: Stephanie Hollis
Dear AGATE Members in District 5,
I am so excited to begin 2021 and to continue to serve beside you in taking care of the needs of our gifted students in our district! Hopefully, the online platforms are getting a little easier to use and you are finding ways to engage your students during these interesting times. I would love to hear from you and the amazing things you have going on in your district. I also would appreciate some feedback on how I can be a help to you! Please feel free to contact me through email at [email protected] or by phone at 870-723-4579.
- Name: Haley Jones
- Position on Board: Newsletter Chair
- 1st year serving on AGATE Board, 16 years in Education (8 years in Gifted Ed), 3rd year Governor's Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education.
- Favorites: My favorite thing is my family of 4: Richard and our children, Desmond and Anna Claire. The kids keep us super busy! I love to read when I have time! I love to read magazines and cookbooks too! We play games and get outside as much as possible! We love going to church as a family! I enjoy planning trips for my family and exploring new places.
- Personal Story: My GT teacher is famous in the GT world-Patricia Hesse! I was so lucky to have her in 1st grade as my classroom teacher and then moved on to GT with her! I still remember the moment she called my house to say I placed! She was tough on us but taught us so much! Growing up in a super small farm town, she exposed me to things I never would have experienced as a child. She made learning fun & exciting! When I decided to be a teacher, I knew I wanted to be like her! I'm not sure I'll meet that challenge but I try! I still use so many things she taught me and her ideas! And kids still love them! I'm so thankful to have "Miss" Hesse in my life!
- Favorite School Things: I absolutely adore teaching Gifted and Talented Classes for Jonesboro Public Schools. Currently I'm teaching Whole Group Enrichment, 3rd-6th Pullout classes and Virtual ACE for our new Virtual Academy. I love the variety of classes I teach and meeting so many students! Getting to work with students from 1st-6th grades allows many connections to be made and I see so much growth in students.
Davis Hendricks – Legislative Advocate
AGATE’s Legislative Advocate and the Legislative Committee has been monitoring the meetings of the Adequacy Oversight Committee as they have concluded the research of the APA (Augenblich, Palaich and Associates) consulting group hired to provide data for their Adequacy report. The AGATE Advocate has provided detailed summaries of the presentations by the group and can provide the same to members of AGATE who are interested in a more detailed examination of the data APA collected through the fall semester. GT Education was not a central part of the APA study although AP and GT were both mentioned in the data collected by questionnaires to focus groups. As the AOC completes this report, the Advocate will continue to review the findings and report on them to the committee and the AGATE Board. AGATE members who want to better understand the Adequacy Study and the reports can contact Davis Hendricks, AGATE Advocate for more details and findings.
The Legislative Committee sent emails to all legislators prior to the session, welcoming them to the General Assembly and offering AGATE as a resource on education. The AGATE Advocate is following up with personal meetings, either virtual or in person, with all new legislators, providing them with AGATE folders, which include AGATE Position Papers, membership materials and the AGATE Statutory History Brochure.
As the 93rd Arkansas General Assembly convenes on Monday, January 11, the Advocate and the Legislative Committee will be closely monitoring the proceedings. The Advocate will be reviewing all bills filed for the session and will keep the committee and the membership informed. As is our usual practice, the Advocate will utilize the GT Listserve as well as the AGATE email list and the Advocacy page on the AGATE website for postings about any legislative developments that need AGATE members’ attention or response. He will also be attending Senate and House Education Committee meetings throughout the session, both virtually and in person as Covid-19 restrictions allow.
As of this writing, 178 bills have been filed and the Advocate has reviewed each bill for relevance to GT Education or Advanced Placement. Thus far, no bills have direct impact on GT programs or Advanced Placement courses. This session features high-profile hate crime legislation, changes in income tax administration and exemptions, 2nd amendment related legislation, and more. Early education bills focus on ethics issues and processes for ethics investigations, school choice, college and career coaches, and vision screenings.
AGATE members are encouraged to consult the lists of both Senate and House Education Committees that are included in this newsletter. The links provided on the AGATE website Advocacy page also provide access to the Arkansas General Assembly website, where members can find their district legislators. Preparation for the session is every GT Advocate’s responsibility so feel free to contact Davis at [email protected] if he can provide any assistance. His advocacy breakout session at the upcoming AGATE Conference is entitled AGATE Advocacy: A Moral Imperative.
The AGATE Advocate and the Legislative Committee wish you a healthy, safe and prosperous 2021!
93rd Arkansas General Assembly - Senate Education Committee
Missy Irvin, Chair [email protected]
Joyce Elliott, Vice Chair [email protected]
Charles Beckham [email protected]
Linda Chesterfield [email protected]
Lance Eads [email protected]
Jane English [email protected]
Greg Leding [email protected]
James Sturch [email protected]
93rd Arkansas General Assembly - House Education Committee
Bruce Cozart [email protected]
Reginald Murdock [email protected]
Ken Bragg [email protected]
Karilyn Brown [email protected]
Gary Deffenbaugh [email protected]
Charlene Fite [email protected]
Megan Godfrey [email protected]
Steve Hollowell [email protected]
Lee Johnson [email protected]
Fred Love [email protected]
John Maddox [email protected]
Gayla Hendren McKenzie [email protected]
Stephen Meeks [email protected]
Mark Lowery [email protected]
Rick Beck [email protected]
Nelda Speaks [email protected]
DeAnn Vaught [email protected]
Brian S. Evans [email protected]
Stu Smith [email protected]
Richard Womack [email protected]
Gifted Awareness Week
Arkansas Gifted Awareness Week February 22-26, 2021
I am excited to be sharing plans for Arkansas Gifted Awareness week February 22-26, 20201! Increasing awareness of what “Gifted” means and doesn’t mean is something that we all work hard to do throughout our school districts and our communities. One of the big things happening during the week is our annual AGATE Conference. But we wanted to provide other ideas for you to implement in your school district and your community throughout the week. I am including a sharable link for the week’s activities below. Please share this information, get your students, teachers, and community involved in raising awareness this year.
Gifted Awareness Week
February 22-26, 2021
- Have GT Awareness Week Governor’s Proclamation placed on the School District’s Facebook or other social media page.
- Have students write &/or mail Governor Hutchinson a THANK YOU letter for the Proclamation
- Have the school district acknowledge Gifted Awareness Week on their marquee if it has a changing banner
- Students create a video to share on the school Facebook page, or send to teachers and school board members. Videos can be submitted to be placed on AGATE Website.
- What our gifted program means to me
- What being gifted means to me
- Why being gifted is challenging
- Students write THANK YOU notes to teachers who have encouraged their giftedness, helped them grow as an individual, or have gone out of their way to help them succeed.
- Wear your favorite “Gifted” Quote
- Gifted Poster Contest: Address one of the following in a creative manner in a poster:
- Famous Gifted individual
- Define Giftedness
- Submit pics of posters to [email protected]
- Winner will receive a free student membership to agate and a certificate
- 3-6 grade category, 7-9 grade category, 10-12 grade category
- AGATE Conference - Free parent sessions beginning at 6pm. Share this link for Parents to register: Parent Registration Link
- Dress as your favorite Gifted person from history. Which GT Program will go all in and be over the top creative today?
- Who are they ...can we guess
- Email pics to [email protected]
- AGATE Conference Student Engagement Day Choice Board (activities) 9am-2pm
Other ideas for how your GT Program can be front and center this week:
- County Judge Proclamation
- TV/Radio Interview
- Newspaper Articles about your program
- Community Service Project
- Twitter Blasts
Whew, what an amazing response for our first membership drive!! The membership drive began on August 24th and when all memberships were counted on November 1st. We had 313 paid memberships. What an exciting way start to the year! We also held a little competition among the District Directors and the GT Specialists at the Education Service Cooperatives.
I appreciate everyone who shared information and encouraged others to join AGATE during the membership drive. Our membership has continued to grow and is currently almost 400 active members. It has been great to have parents and student memberships coming in as well. Please continue to share information about the great webinars and resources that AGATE offers for all stakeholders. As our AGATE membership grows so do the resources and opportunities we are able to offer to members. Plans are already in the works for next year’s membership drive. I am happy to share that we are exploring some additional benefits to offer our student members next year.
THE book for Teens who Procrastinate
Barbara Prichard, AGATE Emeritus Chair
Dr. Joanne Foster’s book, BUST your BUTS, is a spot-on book for gifted educators to have at-the-ready for students caught in the mire of procrastination. As a gifted-education specialist, university instructor, educational consultant, and award-winning author working in the field over 30 years, her five-chapter book presents practical and attainable guidelines for teens and pre-teens. The double entendre title may suggest to teens another type of but, rather than the conjunction used preceding the usual excuses for procrastination. However, each chapter covers the many “whys” that teens procrastinate and succinctly yet clearly offers attainable guidance to change one’s mindset and actions.
Foster’s first sentence states directly that, “This book is for TEENS!”. While acknowledging that procrastinators themselves need to decide to change and accept ownership, the book is full of encouragement to the reader and outlines strategies and direct conversations necessary to help break this debilitating pattern.
Her tip-lists for the many “buts” used by procrastinators covers a wide spectrum of what teens frequently state as their procrastination rationale. Foster addresses each procrastination “but-block” and speaks to not only the usual excuses for each ”but-block”, but also offers practical, attainable corrective ideas on how to “Bust your Buts”.
While intended for teens, the book also is helpful for teachers and parents. Foster’s previous work, “Not Now, Maybe Later”, was specifically written for adults to understand procrastination, while offering strategies. BUST your BUTS is available from Great Potential Press and is a good addition to a GT educator’s resource materials.