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Gifted Remote Learning Q&A

Last week, I shared with PATH parents some Q&A from Chris Everett, Tahoma highly capable coordinator. Her answers are paraphrased here. Some concerns Tahoma has not been able to address yet, as they are prioritizing getting ready for the start of the school year.

• I requested that my child be considered for the new middle school gifted program, but I got a letter saying he wouldn’t be tested. Why?
There is only 1 section of each class at each school. Not enough space this first year! We hope to grow the program.

• If I pull my child out of Tahoma just for this year, and then we return fall of 2021, will they still have their highly capable designation?
Yes, the label stays with them. They don’t need to be re-identified.

• Will they be put back in their same level of services?
That depends. Some classes are capped at a certain number of students.

• If the school switches to hybrid, and I want to keep my child in 100% remote, what will happen to their gifted class placement?
They will keep their placement for when they return to in-person classes.

• Will there be an online gifted class?
We don’t know yet.

• Will students receive cluster gifted services if they choose to stay in 100% remote?
We don’t know yet.

• If my family chooses to stay 100% remote, can I get resources so that I can help supplement my child’s remote general ed experience, so that they can keep pace with what the hybrid gifted classes are doing?
Absolutely. Work one-on-one with your child’s teacher(s).

• So much about teaching gifted kids is differentiation. How is Tahoma preparing teachers to do this while in 100% remote, when they won’t know their students?
Middle level teachers are getting online training in gifted ed. All teachers are getting training about online teaching. They are not being trained on those 2 together, but teachers will be able to apply what they learn.

• How will 100% remote Discovery look compared to 100% remote general ed classes?
Discovery will have more project-based learning and math acceleration.

• How will reasonable accommodations for twice exceptional kids be met? (incl. IEPs, 504s, over-excitabilities)
Counselors and special ed services are looking at all students’ needs in this field.

• What types and/or amounts of parent support would be ideal from the teachers’ perspective?
Check with principals and teachers after first week.

• What message would you like me to take back to parents?
“I have a real commitment to following through with opportunities and programs for highly capable students. We’ve been able to transition to what is best for highly capable students with the new middle school ELA/SS block. I’m also committed to finding continuing professional development for highly capable teachers, especially Cougar teachers. I find it very fulfilling to work with these students and teachers. We saw there was a need at the middle school, and we’re really trying to provide those classes and the training for the teachers that they need. I want to see the program grow and have well-trained staff. I also want to continue to consider social and emotional needs. Those cannot be overlooked.” -Chris Everett

This may not answer all your questions about this fall, but hopefully it helps clear up some. If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to me any time.

-Michelle Smart, PATH president

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