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’09 TAGT: Educator Perspective by Jeff Turner

January 9, 2010

Comments from Dr. Jeff Turner, CISD Superintendent

I enjoyed the opportunity to attend the TAGT conference in Houston, if only for one very snowy day. I was a little disappointed that on Friday many of the sessions were cancelled due to presenters and participants hurrying to get out of town. I was, however, able to attend sessions by Stephanie Tolan from the Institute for Educational Advancement, and thought they were excellent.

“Change Your Story, Change Your Life” was one of the Featured Presentations and it was excellent in providing strategies for our students (actually for all of us) when negative stories dominate our thoughts. Many times our students are highly sensitive and face emotional challenges due to their giftedness. I thought her personal stories were on the mark and recognized several issues I faced with my own kids.

I stayed with Stephanie Tolan for “In Praise of Pollyanna” which was an extenuation of her positive story theme. She related her experiences with the story of Pollyanna and finding “gladness” in everything.

“Valuing Imagination”, also from Stephanie Tolan, reconfirmed my concerns about the lack of creativity and imagination in our classrooms. TAKS testing, and the preparation for it, have pushed out opportunities for students to use their naturally inquisitive natures when covering the curriculum.

There were several afternoon sessions that sounded interesting but they were cancelled. I did have the opportunity to network with several friends who work with gifted programs and the preparation of gifted teachers, and several parents who have gifted children. I was very appreciative of the opportunity to attend and have many questions for our staff as we seek to meet the needs of our gifted learners.

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