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Dr. Turner receives TAGT’s coveted award: Friend of the Gifted

December 11, 2012

Dr. TurnerDr. Jeff Turner was recently honored by TAGT with the coveted Friend of the Gifted Award. This honor has only been given twice since its inception and is given to an individual who hasshown great support for gifted education.

I am quite honored to have received this award from the TAGT organization.  I have many friends around the state that have helped me to better understand the needs of gifted learners. Raising two talented but drastically different daughters taught me that every child has unique needs.  In Coppell we believe the future is about helping each individual achieve success rather than focusing on classroom, campus, or district success based upon standardized test scores.  In fact, focusing on the latter inevitably holds many individuals back rather than propelling them forward.  It is interesting to note that the transformation that we are talking about in public education is really about creating classrooms, and using methodologies that proponents of gifted education have been championing for years. — Dr. Turner

He was nominated for this award by several parents and teachers in CISD who praise his commitment to improving the educational experience for GT students:

“Dr. Jeff Turner’s commitment to excellence spans from the elementary schools through the secondary schools within Coppell ISD. While superintendent, his leadership has been the driving force behind the significant and innovative program changes that have greatly improved the education of our gifted and talented population.”

“Dr. Turner also cultivates an environment that fosters life-long learning by motivating others to think, learn, and get involved. Dr. Turner continues to gain knowledge and understanding, modeling and inspiring others to do the same.”

“I am fortunate to work in the innovative district that is Coppell ISD. Because of Dr. Turner’s allegiance to providing choice in the type of curriculum and level of rigor, gifted students in Coppell ISD are equally fortunate.”

“[This award will] honor his tremendous efforts and send a message to other leaders across the state that gifted student education can be a priority in all districts.”

“Dr. Turner appreciates that all students have different needs, and demonstrates an ongoing commitment to educating GT students by offering curriculum choice to challenge their minds and stimulates their interest.”

“I have had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Turner on several occasions to discuss matters involving gifted education. He is open-minded, innovative, and approachable. He is committed to gifted education and our school district is constantly evolving for the betterment of GT students due to his leadership.”

“Dr. Turner was at the helm when course offerings radically changed at our middle schools and teachers offered gifted classes in all four core classes. In addition to grouping students by their abilities in order to offer more complex and rigorous learning opportunities, Dr. Turner is an advocate of acceleration through credit by exam.”

“Dr. Turner is a leader and an advocate for gifted students and has encouraged his staff and fellow superintendents by his actions to make gifted education and 21st century learning a priority. The Coppell ISD is visited by other districts to study our secondary level of gifted programming.”

“Dr. Jeff Turner has created a school district that benefits GT students by offering a challenging curriculum, emphasizing individual choice, and inspiring life-long learning.”

The recommendations highlighted Dr. Turner’s efforts to

  • Create an individualized education
    • High school choice: AP, IB, Project-Based Learning, GT, STEM Academy, EMAC (Emerging Media and Communications Academy), Public Services Academy, Blended Learning, Dual credit, and DAP
    • Middle school curriculum: GT classes in all 4 core subjects.
    • Elementary: pull out GT program and push-in classroom differentiation.
    • Implements best-practices in GT education to provide a rigorous, challenging and inspirational education.
  • Reform student assessments
    • Refocus on individual student advancement instead of focusing on one test result with a one-size-fits-all-hurdle.
    • Recognize that many GT students have acquired the necessary base knowledge without a day of classroom instruction and that some GT students may not perform well on a bubble test.
    • Emphasize differentiating instruction and creating authentic assessments to meet the needs of individual students.
  • Support GT organizations and model life-long learning and open communication
    • Dr. Turner has attended TAGT for the past 4 years.
    • He is a member of TAGT and CGA.
    • He holds frequent public discussions about the school district, encouraging parents to ask questions and get involved.
    • He supports the CGA Educator Scholarship program and helps distribute application information to his staff.
    • CGA leaders are frequently invited to participate in district committees.
  • Change the vision of education throughout CISD and Texas

Please join us in thanking Dr. Turner for everything he does to improve the education for gifted students.

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