Hi, PATH parents,
Starbucks. It’s the place to be. For the first time in a long time, Chris Everett (Tahoma highly capable coordinator) and I were able to meet there and touch base on how things are going for the gifted program in our district. She and I kept in contact over lockdown, but it felt great to be together in person again. We discussed concerns we have, as well as opportunities we see.
To start off, Chris was thrilled to report a policy adjustment that PATH has been advocating for. Although second graders are tested for highly capable identification during the school day, all other grades have only had Saturday testing available. Weekend testing is a barrier to entry to the program for many students, which contributes to underrepresentation of some populations. Now, that barrier is gone. PATH is proud to have been a positive voice in this decision-making process.
On the flip side, the main challenge Chris and I discussed was that of securing adequate teacher training. Most teacher pre-service programs include no study of highly capable students and how best to help them reach their potential. While PATH and Tahoma School District have been partnering for years to sponsor in-service training for some Tahoma teachers and staff, the ongoing challenges of the pandemic are necessitating a shift in how we accomplish this. The PATH board is working closely with Chris on an upcoming effort to help teachers access resources that meet their individual needs. We’re happy to have such a strong advocate in Chris, and we’ll report back on our plans soon!