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An Open Letter from the TAGT Executive Director . . .

September 9, 2014

CGA recently received the following letter from JJ Colburn, CAE, Executive Director of the Texas Association of Gifted & Talented (TAGT).  TAGT has been invaluable to CGA  in our mission to support gifted kids, their parents and educators in Coppell and beyond.  We encourage our parent members to consider joining TAGT as well as CGA.   The letter reads:

 

The Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented (TAGT) strives to connect and empower parents and educators to meet the unique needs of gifted students.  As a statewide, purpose based organization, this concept drives our programs, services and attitudes.  We believe that fulfilling this mission is the best way to enhance the lives of gifted students.  Naturally, it is critical for TAGT to partner with and support the efforts of local organizations that align with the TAGT mission.  But, it’s incredibly exciting when an independent organization like the Coppell Gifted Association (CGA), which embodies a similar purpose, extends the TAGT message so effectively.  CGA is truly a model for how to connect and empower parents and educators and the positive results on gifted education that can occur.  The strategies, organizational structure and balanced focus of CGA is a prototype for effective advocacy and support of gifted learners and is a great example of mission in action.

Parent support groups like CGA provide great value to gifted children, their parents, to the school community, and to TAGT.  For parents, a unified group can be far more effective than any one individual. They can work together to become better advocates and to solve problems or concerns they may see in the services provided by the schools. They can also provide a place to learn about parenting their own gifted children more effectively.

For the school community, an effective and forward-thinking parent group can have a major impact on the quality of education.  Parent groups that look at the big picture recognize that their children do not exist in a vacuum and need opportunities to develop and mature socially, emotionally, as well as academically. They see the value in improving schools for all students, not just the gifted, and make a good partner, like other parent groups that support student activities and services.

For a state association like TAGT, parent groups provide another link in the chain that allows the advocacy and educational efforts of the association to be spread more widely.  When a parent group as successful as CGA exists, it also provides a statewide association like TAGT a model to extoll and encourage others to create around the state.  With a statewide platform, TAGT is connected to schools and communities all over and we are able to share ideas based on the CGA structure to affect the lives of many.  The work being done locally extends beyond the CGA community through a strong partnership with TAGT.

You might wonder exactly how CGA sets a standard for parent groups.  Effective parent groups require individuals to be knowledgeable, organized, define their goals and objectives, understand the organization and structure of the local school system, use existing local and state systems, be committed, and be persistent and patient. Those qualities aptly describe CGA.  Since its founding less than 10 years ago, it has had a profound impact on all of these groups.   These characteristics are likely going to be present in many successful parent groups.  So, what makes CGA unique?  It’s in the implementation of innovative strategies, balanced services and relevant partnerships that CGA truly shines.

First, CGA provides quality education and relevant information for parents by bringing in many speakers who share their knowledge and expertise.  Through the organizational structure, making resources available to parents is a priority.  Second, the partnership with teachers and commitment to teacher training is a key component of the work of CGA.  Parent efforts to fund many Coppell ISD teachers to receive additional professional development in the area of gifted education, supplementing the work of the district, strengthens the bond between these two groups and also ensures that children benefit in the classroom.  Third, CGA provides direct enrichment opportunities for students through the wildly successful Mosiac program.  Finally, CGA is committed to partnering with TAGT, strengthening both organizations’ capacity to meet common goals.  CGA has joined TAGT as an organization and encouraged hundreds of their own individual members to join TAGT, as well.   CGA recognizes that there is not only strength in numbers, but there is value in having their own members become more involved and connected to issues that may extend beyond their own community.   In addressing these four areas with such deliberate focus – parents, educators, students, and statewide advocacy – CGA has cultivated an ideal gifted education support group.

TAGT is proud to be connected to your efforts and we stand with you in shared passion for gifted youth.  Know that you are having tremendous impact at all levels – individual students, parents and educators, in classrooms on campuses, across your school district, in your region and even statewide.

JJ Colburn, CAE

Executive Director

Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented

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