SuperKids 2 screening – Nov 27th, 2018

You are invited to a screening of SUPERKIDS 2.  The documentary follows up the lives of 5 individuals who were enrolled in a provincial resource program for gifted children. These individuals were first interviewed for SUPERKID filmed in 2004. Ten years later, the documentary then finds them as young twenty-somethings in Vancouver, San Francisco, Nashville, Amsterdam, and New York as they completing their formal education and setting out upon careers.

 Time: 7 pm, November 27 (Tuesday)

Location: The Reliance Theatre, Emily Carr University of Art + Design (520 E 1st Ave, Vancouver)


Note this is NOT a GCABC event.

Detailed description:

SUPERKIDS 2 (sequel to SUPERKIDS), a feature-length documentary, explores the lives of five young people identified as ‘gifted’ when they were elementary school students. The series of documentary first found these individuals in 2004, when they were enrolled in a full-time acceleration program designed for advanced learners in BC. Some of them gained admission to the University of British Columbia at age as young as 14.

Ten years later, the documentary then finds them as young twenty-somethings in Vancouver, San Francisco, Nashville, and New York as they complete their formal education, and set out upon careers. From this later developmental stage, they are able to actively reflect on their experiences at school, both public and private, and they express a variety of opinions on the benefits and disadvantages of the unusual educational pathways they embarked on.

SUPERKIDS 2 is produced and directed by Harry Killas and Ric Beairsto. Editing is done by Rafi Spivak, and original music by Jason Staczek. The Director of Research was Dr.  Marion Porath from UBC. The film was shot in Vancouver, Nashville, San Francisco, New York, London, Boston, Washington, and Amsterdam.

Production of SUPERKIDS 2 was part of a larger research project supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada through the auspices of Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the University of British Columbia. Harry Killas is Principal Investigator on the project, and Dr. Marion Porath was the Co-Investigator for SUPERKIDS 2.

GCABC President’s Report 2017-2018

by Lucila Saito

For those of you who missed the Annual General Meeting of the GCABC on Sep 19, 2018, the president’s report of the previous fiscal year can instead be read below.

GCABC Accomplishments
It was a productive year for the GCABC. Early on, the board decided to focus on bringing Dr. James Webb to BC for a multi-day conference in Vancouver. In addition, a priority has been to expand our communication channels, by starting Facebook and Twitter profiles.

The executive worked on the following tasks:

  • Events
    • Partnered with the Lower Mainland Gifted Contacts group (LMGC) to run the “Power Up Potential” conference with Dr. James Webb, leading the planning and organization of the three-day conference for educators, psychologists, counsellors, and parents – April 2018, Coquitlam (hosted by SD43), Vancouver (hosted by Adler University), and Surrey (hosted by SD36). Altogether, almost 300 people attended the 3 days of events!
    • Held the AGM – September 2018, Richmond (hosted by Choice School for the Gifted).
  • Advocacy
    • Participated in the on-going Public Education Funding Review, by meeting with Patricia Kovacs, Inclusive Education Director, submitting a written report, and speaking with the Independent Panel Chair about concerns and suggestions to better serve the gifted population.
    • Sent a written report about the status of gifted education in BC to the Canadian delegate for the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children (WCGTC).
    • Gave an interview about the status of gifted education in BC to TEACH magazine (national magazine for K-12 educators)
  • Website/Communication
    • Created a Facebook account “Gifted Children’s Association of BC- GCABC”
      • Followed by 246 people
      • Liked by 200 people
    • Created a Twitter account “@GiftedBC” (212 followers)
    • Published blog posts on the website (51 followers)
    • Sent newsletters (388 subscribers)
    • Published a list of psychologists in the Lower Mainland who can do psycho-educational assessments for giftedness
  • Constitution and By-Laws revisions have been completed in compliance with the revised BC Society Act, and this document will be presented for approval to the AGM in September 2018.


Goals for next year
Our goal for the 2018/2019 year is to create specific committees to work with the board while using a larger volunteer group that will help us increase our effectiveness in supporting families and allow us to expand our outreach beyond the Lower Mainland. The committees will focus on Advocacy, Outreach and Policy. We plan to continue expanding our website to bring relevant resources to parents, and sponsor or co-sponsor events that can inform and bring our gifted families together.

In Memory of Jim Webb

It is with sadness we let you know that Dr. Jim Webb recently passed away. He will be greatly missed by parents of gifted children.

Many of us over the years and around the globe have been supported by the numerous resources and organizations he was part of developing. Jim was himself a parent of gifted children and grandchildren, and also a psychologist. He heard from many families that they were concerned about their children’s social-emotional needs and didn’t know where to turn to understand giftedness including the academic implications, yet well beyond that to understanding and living with these amazing and sometimes perplexing children. During Jim”s career and semi-retirement he wrote many books and created a publishing company, Great Potential Press, to ensure his and many other volumes could reach families and educators who were looking for this information. He inspired and was part of the leadership for the organization Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG). This was another way to reach out and also bring parents and sometimes their children together for annual conferences, webinars, parent support groups, and to train facilitators to lead groups in their home communities. He also spoke at many meetings and events over the years, and often allowed these local groups to record him and share his stories and advice with those who weren’t able to attend.

Here in BC we were very fortunate to have Jim as our keynote speaker at our 3-day conference in April 2018. Jim shared his knowledge with teachers and educational administrators, mental health professionals, and parents. We were so lucky to have him bring his wit and wisdom to us in person. Fortunately he has left us a great deal of his own thoughts as author or co-author in books and articles on parenting and grandparenting gifted children, facilitating SENG Model Parent Groups, and ensuring psychologists have the information they need when assessing for giftedness. Jim has inspired many others who are now leading the SENG organization ( and Great Potential Press publishing house (, so we are very fortunate that Jim’s legacy lives on through these organizations.

If you would like to leave a public or private message for Jim’s family, you can do so through the following website:

Obituary: Dr. Marion Porath

The Gifted Children’s Association of BC has lost a dear friend and passionate supporter of gifted learners of all ages.

Dr. Marion Porath, Professor Emerita (UBC), passed away on June 13, 2018, in Victoria, BC. Marion was an award-winning teacher, scholar, and researcher, and had a lifetime of accomplishments. She was the coordinator of the program in high ability at UBC for 25 years. During this time, she actively supported the Gifted Children’s Association of BC and, most recently, delivered the keynote address at the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Society.

She received the Killam Prize for teaching excellence and the Robbie Case Memorial Award for major contributions to educational psychology. She authored articles and chapters on the development of different forms of giftedness and co-authored several books on teaching and learning. Her most recent interests were in the development of giftedness across the lifespan and arts-based approaches to studying giftedness. She travelled the world and was a long-time friend, colleague, and mentor to so many. She has left an outstanding legacy.

GCABC feedback to the Ministry of Education

During spring 2018, the GCABC board continued our advocacy work, with an overall aim of promoting gifted education with equitable access for all children regardless of their background.

We would like to highlight the following dates and events: 

On February 14, 2018, the Minister of education presented an Independent Review Panel to review the K-12 Public Education Funding Allocation System (FAS). Chris Trumpy was appointed as Chair, leading the work of the panel in reviewing the current FAS to move BC’s public-school system to “a better, stable, and sustainable model”. Since it was uncertain what this meant for gifted learners, the GCABC established contact with this group, indicating our interest in being a key stakeholder during the process, and wanting to provide feedback on the work and conclusions of the panel.

On March 28, 2018, GCABC Director Maureen McDermid and parent Peter Cech participated in a meeting with Patricia Kovacs, Coordinator, Inclusive Education for Learning Supports and Early Years. During a two-hour conversation, Maureen was able to explain why many gifted students are not being identified in the province, and why this is leaving many with unmet educational needs.

On April 7, 2018, the GCABC board was pleased to welcome Linda Reid, MLA from Richmond and former teacher, who gave the opening remarks of the parent conference, Power Up Potential.

On April 29, 2018,  the GCBAC board submitted a written report, and was subsequently invited to a conference call with the panel. Other stakeholder reports can also be found on the Ministry website.

On May 22nd, 2018, GCABC Directors Maureen McDermid and Debbie Clelland spoke with the panel Chair and a community member of the panel, who heard our concerns about the numbers of gifted students declining, the change to psycho-educational assessments for identification, the need for reporting multiple exceptionalities and the money needed for teacher training and programs. GCABC also informed the panel about school districts with successful practices to support gifted students.

The funding model review will be completed in the summer/fall of 2018. The contacts and meetings that took place during spring 2018 were all constructive and positive.

Updates from this process will be posted on the GCABC website. Questions about the funding review panel can be sent to Ministry of Education (





Annual General Meeting of the GCABC 2018

We are pleased to welcome all GCABC members to the upcoming 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM)!

Whom: GCABC Members (see separate page for membership information)

Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Registration & Networking: 6:30-7:00PM

Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Place: Choice School for the Gifted and Exceptional, 20451 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, BC

Cost: $35 per person.

The attendance price includes a one-year GCABC membership.

You sign up for the AGM with Eventbrite here.

Special Presentation: Acceleration for Gifted Students

by Debbie Clelland, PhD, RCC

Acceleration is more than grade skipping!  It can be a great option for many gifted students. Many parents don’t know that there is a lot of research support, and ways to set this up for success to include looking at social-emotional environments.  The presentation will briefly introduce the 20 forms of acceleration, why they might be a good choice for your child, and how Educational Policy in BC currently supports acceleration options.

At the AGM, you will have the opportunity to elect the board directors for 2018-2019.

The Call for Nominations of Directors is now closed. Please note that we still are looking for volunteers for our three new committees:

  • Advocacy & Awareness
  • Membership & Outreach
  • Policy

If you are interested in joining one of these committees, you can let us know on your membership application.

You can also email us should you be interested in a committee position.

Detailed program

6:30 – 7:00 Registration, Refreshments – Gym
7:00 – 7:30 Annual General Meeting of the Gifted Children’s Society of BC
7:30 – 8:45 Dr. Debbie Cleland presents, Acceleration for Gifted Students!
8:45 Closing Remarks

You can prepare for the meeting by downloading the:

Power Up Potential Conference – What is Our Purpose?

By Maureen McDermid, Gifted Children’s Association of BC

Two organizations, the Gifted Children’s Association of BC (GCABC) and the Lower Mainland Gifted Contacts, an educator group (LMGC), that support and advocate for gifted learners have come together to raise awareness of gifted learners in our province. The purpose of this conference is to inform those who work with gifted students and those who nurture them by sharing the most current information we have about recognizing giftedness and supporting gifted potential.

The Gifted Children’s Association of BC has long been one of many parent support groups that operated in BC in support of students with special needs. Local chapters brought together parents in a school district or region to network, share and learn from each other and provide feedback to schools about how initiatives or programs were serving their students.  It was a positive force in the community in many places across BC, energized in the early 90’s by the Ministry of Education’s decision to support the philosophy of inclusion of students designated as Special Needs, which was taken as a signal that all designated students would be receiving enhanced support.

In those day the language of inclusion was ‘integration’ and the intent was to include all learners in regular classroom settings, closing special education classes and programs. To support this move, many additional Education Assistants were trained and hired and specially trained teachers employed in schools as Resource Teachers to support integration.  In addition, in recognition of the additional needs special education students needed, a system of reporting identified students and receiving additional grants to provide services was instituted.

Many of us who worked in schools and supported families with gifted children wondered how this would serve our students. While we could readily see the benefits for students in other categories of need who had been grouped together by designation so specific types of instruction could be offered efficiently, we wondered how this would benefit gifted students. Best practice in supporting the gifted category of special need includes having the opportunity to work with like-minded peers as well as providing a learning environment that offered the breadth, depth and pace for learning that these students needed. If classrooms and programs that gathered these like-minded learners together disappeared, how would that optimum environment and support survive in a very mixed ability class? However, the special education grants allowed districts to identify students and claim funding that provided for an array of supports and assignment of teachers with gifted special education backgrounds to work with and support identified students.

Awareness about and service to gifted learners has been in steady decline in our schools since 2002! 

On January 3, 2015, the Vancouver Sun ran an article motivated by a visit of two journalists (Tracy Sherlock, Chad Skelton) to the TALONS program for gifted students at Gleneagles Secondary School in Coquitlam, BC.  Subsequent investigation of the status of gifted education in the province resulted in the following findings:

  • Students reported as gifted to the Ministry of Education has dropped by half across BC, from 2.5% of students to just 1.1% since 2002.
  • Experts in the field agree that this is not because BC’s population became less intellectually able, but because gifted kids are no longer being identified

For example, in some districts, this drop was striking – where?

  • Mission – the % share of gifted students rose steadily from 2002 to 2006, then in one year dropped to almost none!
  • Surrey – in 2002, 2.7% gifted were reported, in 2014, 0.9%
  • Vancouver – 2002, 5% reported, this past year, 0.7%

Coquitlam (third largest district in the province) is one of only 5 districts where the number of identified gifted students reported in the past few years has increased. The other districts are Delta, Revelstoke, Conseil Scolaire Francophone, and Haida Gwaii.


In 2002, the Ministry removed targeted funding to four categories of special needs students, one of which was gifted. Removal of this targeted funding meant that very quickly, those supports that had been in place because the funding required that it be spent on services to the students who were designated, stopped!  Districts also stopped assessing and designating students because they reasoned that there was no option as there was no funding.


Fewer and fewer students were designated as gifted and fewer teachers acquired the knowledge and experience to identify and respond to their needs. And so today, the number of gifted students reported to the Ministry has dropped from a high of about 16,000 students in the later 90’s to a little over 3,000 today.


We need to raise the issues of

  • appropriate environments and instruction for gifted students,
  • the growing emergence of twice exception students – gifted and with a learning challenge – and,
  • the increasing prevalence of behavioural and social emotional issues emerging with gifted students.

We invite parents, educators and health care and counselling professionals who support, report, diagnose and treat gifted students to join us and learn, network and organize in support of these learners. We look forward to seeing you!