A Gifted Student’s Reflection on her Academic Journey

Two programs offered by some school districts and one offered by a consortium of the Vancouver School Board (VSB), the Ministry of Education and the University of British Columbia (UBC) are providing opportunities to students with high ability to reach their intellectual and creative goals.

The Challenge Program in Surrey is offered to students in grades three through seven and includes “intense academic, intellectual and creative challenges.”

The Multi-Age Cluster Classes (MACC) in Surrey is offered to students in grades five through seven and provides “academic support and social-emotional support for highly gifted students.

Both Challenge and MACC are offered in other districts in similar format. You find more information about the challenge program MACC on the Surrey School District website.

The University Transition Program is an early college entrance program open to 10 VSB students and 10 from other districts in each of the two years.

Read Fannia Xu’s positive experience in the public school system in Surrey, BC, transitioning from Challenge Programs, into MACC and then the University Transition Program at the UBC.

The letter below is reprinted without edits.


Academic Transitions by Fannia Xu

I wasn’t the most popular kid in the fourth grade; my classmates often teased me for my love of academics. I had been hoping for some challenges academically since sometime around the first grade. For a long time, I’d always felt ashamed to admit that what I was learning in school was too easy for me; fellow students always said that I was just bragging and exaggerating the ease of the course materials. Because of this, I never felt very well-liked or at home in the school environment.

Before I was in MACC, I took part in the Challenge Program, which was where I was first introduced to the idea of being challenged in academics. I’d fell in love with the program, but it left me hoping for more in terms of challenge and acceleration. This, of course, led to my registration for the testing for the MACC program at Berkshire Park Elementary.

When I first joined the MACC program, everything we were learning had felt foreign and unknown. For once, I felt like I was in an environment where I was constantly given challenges. MACC wasn’t an accelerated program, and that much was obvious; however, the deeper looks at some plain and ordinary subjects opened my eyes up to new opportunities and also helped pave the way toward the future I chose. The fields of study we encountered in MACC were truly eye-opening. The students in the program were just the cherries on top; MACC was a place where I felt I could always be myself.

As a student in MACC, I’d always thought that that would be the limit on my academic life, that MACC would be the most accelerated program I would partake in, that I would leave MACC to attend my local secondary school like the majority of the other graduates had done. After my three years in MACC, I discovered this academic drive inside of me, telling myself that I had to push myself further and further with everything I learned. That was when I made the conscious decision to apply to the University Transition Program.

At first, I was reluctant to apply; the picture that my mind painted of Transition had always included intense workloads and a large amount of stress, combined with no free time. Though that much has been made true in Transition, I can also testify that not a single day goes by without having fun, and that fun comes within being a small, cohesive community. The only reason I’ve been able to survive in Transition so far is due to the massive support network that exists between each and every one of my classmates. This was something that was different from MACC; although we often worked together, we never quite functioned as a community. I didn’t receive such a large amount of support while I was in MACC, but I suppose it was not needed.

The big difference between Transition and MACC has always been the issue of accelerated vs. comprehensive learning. Though MACC was not an accelerated program, being a student in the MACC program definitely made the transition between elementary school and the Transition Program a lot easier. Today, I can safely say that I am content with my academic life, and none of that would be possible without the journey I’ve taken, through Challenge, MACC, and now University Transition.

From Scary Mommy: “7 Things I Want You to Know About My Gifted Kid”

This posting contains a message from a mother who asks for greater understanding of her child by sharing seven things about gifted children.

by Maureen McDermid

As parents, not only do we find ourselves on a steep learning curve about our children, but we find we need to help others understand their delights and quirks.  We cannot count on finding general understanding of the many diverse ways children show their high potential/high ability and the challenges they face in interfacing with their world.  This posting contains a message from a mother who asks for greater understanding of her child by sharing seven things about gifted children that she hopes will create a more accepting and informed attitude for those that don’t have gifted children and some insight for those that are parenting one (or more).

http://www.scarymommy.com/know-about-gifted-children/

Anxiety and Adolescents – The Davidson Institute

This month the GCABC recommends articles on anxiety and adolescents from the Davidson Institute . 

by Debbie Clelland

The Davidson Institute is an organization that supports the education and sharing of information for gifted and profoundly gifted students and their families.  This organization has resources that I have found to be reliable, well-researched and wide-ranging. They include resources that teachers and parents often find very practical and helpful.

Learn more at http://www.davidsongifted.org/About-Us/Programs

They have many programs for young scholars (online and summer events), and a high school program at the University of Nevada, Reno. They also offer resources for parents, such as an online community, webinars, books and articles on many valuable topics.

The Davidson Institute also has an e-newsletter that includes recent resources or articles of interest to educators and parents.  This month we recommend their articles on anxiety and adolescents.  The links provided in the Davidson Institute newsletter are below.
Tips for Parents: Anxiety, Sensitivities and Social Struggles among Profoundly Gifted Kids

http://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10750
Tips for Parents: Adolescence and the HG/PG Individual

http://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10372


BC’s New Curriculum

Maureen McDermid presents the new BC curriculum.

By Maureen McDermid

The new BC curriculum, what’s in it for gifted learners, their teachers and families?
When considering the new curriculum with respect to gifted learners, it’s fair to ask, “What’s in it for these learners?” and “What’s in it for us as their teachers and parents?”.

Continue reading “BC’s New Curriculum”

MACC (Multi Age Cluster Class)

Lucila Saito shares information about Multi Age Clusters (MACC) – a special school model for gifted children in BC.

By Lucila Saito

The Multi-Age Cluster Class is a gifted program within the public school system, originated in the 90’s in Vancouver, and currently offered in slightly different format in Vancouver, Coquitlam, Surrey and Burnaby. The classes combine highly gifted kids in grades that can vary from 4 to 8. It is a choice program and children need to be referred by a teacher, principal or parent and go through a screening process that might include cognitive tests, interview and/or on-site experience, before offers of admission.

Continue reading “MACC (Multi Age Cluster Class)”

About SENG

Debbie Clelland recommends membership in the organisation Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG).

By Debbie Clelland

This month we are sending you some information about one of my favourite resources for parents of gifted children:  the organization Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG).

This organization is based in the US, but has a lot of very relevant and useful information for parents in Canada as well.  They focus on the social and emotional aspects of giftedness, and their founders have a psychology background so the they offer a different perspective than many of the education-based organizations.

SENG does some great work in the gifted community, including:

* webinars offered by experts in the field of giftedness

* summer conference that includes a children’s program

* training facilitators of parent groups

* lots of resources on their website, including articles

http://sengifted.org/

One of my favourite articles is one that really helps parents understand overexcitabilities, and is written in a way that is easy to see how they play out in the classroom as well.  And, rather than just telling what overexcitabilities are, there are some “strategies” offered that I have found very helpful.  Sharon Lind is the author.  It starts:

Overexcitability and the Gifted

by Sharon Lind

A small amount of definitive research and a great deal of naturalistic observation have led to the belief that intensity, sensitivity and overexcitability are primary characteristics of the highly gifted. These observations are supported by parents and teachers who notice distinct behavioral and constitutional differences between highly gifted children and their peers.

The rest of the article is found at: http://sengifted.org/overexcitability-and-the-gifted/

 

How to Foster a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child’s Teacher

Betty-Jo Gillett explains how to foster a collaborative partnership with your child’s teacher.

By Betty-Jo Gillett

It’s the beginning of a new school year and depending on your previous years’ experience, you may feel anxiety, excitement, or even trepidation over the new challenges this year will bring for you and your ‘gifted’ child. What will their new teachers be like? Will they understand ‘gifted’ as a special need? Will the teacher be a partner or an adversary?

Continue reading “How to Foster a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child’s Teacher”