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Archive for the ‘NWGCA’ Category

Effective September 1, 2011, highly capable programming became a part of Washington State’s definition of basic education.  The changes to the Revised Code of Washington (RCWs) were passed by the legislature, and signed into law by Governor Gregoire.  To make those changes to the RCWs meaningful, there also needed to be changes to the Washington Administrative Codes (WACs).

Members of the Washington Coalition for Gifted Education, Northwest Gifted Child Association, the Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Gifted and many other groups concerned with the education of highly capable students in Washington State were involved in the process of revising the WACs.  Working with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Washington State Gifted Advisory Committee, suggested changes to the WACs were drafted and submitted for a public hearing.  The proposed changes can be viewed on OSPI’s website.

The hearing is to take place on November 28th, and written comment is due by November 19th.  More information is available on the Highly Capable page of OSPI’s website.

The WCGE was very pleased with the changes that resulted from this process, though there was one area of concern.  Together with the Presidents of WAETAG and NWGCA, we have submitted the following letter regarding our concerns:

The leadership of WAETAG, NWGCA and the Coalition are concerned about the wording in WAC, section 392-270-012. With Highly Capable Program services an integral part of basic education, basic education funds should be spent on Highly Capable Program services. We are concerned that the proposed wording of the section (may access basic education funds*) can be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

In viewing the wording of this section, it is necessary to remember that in: Sec. 2 (2) of 2776 reads as follows:

The distribution formula under this section shall be for allocation purposes only. Except as may be required under chapter 28A.155, 28A.165, 28A.180, or 28A.185 RCW, or federal laws and regulations, nothing in this section requires school districts to use basic education instructional funds to implement a particular instructional approach or service.

The proposed revision to the WAC is misleading when it says that “districts may access basic education funds and highly capable categorical funds.” Since RCW 28A.185 is the section on Highly Capable Programs, it is exempted from this section of the law. Therefore, districts can and should be expected to use basic education funds for Highly Capable Programs.

We suggest that the second sentence of the new section be changed to read:

“School districts may access highly capable categorical funds in addition to basic education funds to provide appropriate highly capable student programs and services”.

This will clarify for districts that they are to use basic ed funds for HCP services.

We find all the other proposed revisions to be in line with the RCW 28A.185.

Irene Greve, President
Washington Coalition For Gifted Education

Charlotte Akin, President
Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Gifted

Marcia Holland, President
Northwest Gifted Child Association

* WAC 392-170-012 Funds. For highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is
access to a basic education. School districts may access basic education funds and highly capable categorical funds
to provide appropriate highly capable student programs and services.

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GIFTED EDUCATION DAY IN WASHINGTON

MONDAY

JANUARY 23, 2012

The special session is working on a supplemental budget. In her proposal, the Governor maintained HCP funding at the level in the biennial budget while the House and Senate proposals contain small (technical) increases. We remain reasonably confident that HCP state funding is not currently at risk. What may be at risk is levy equalization, as both proposals cut this funding by about $11 million due to technical adjustments compared to the Governor’s cut of $163 million.

The latest word is that the education portions of the supplemental will not be considered until the regular session in January. As we get closer to Gifted Education Day, we should know more about whether or not education funding will be an issue we need to address and we will pass this information on to you.

Why should advocates plan to be in Olympia talking to Legislators on January 23?

(1) We’re not asking for anything this session. The past several years we have been focused on passage of the ed reform legislation and with funding issues. This year we are returning to our basic function of educating Legislators. This focus will change if funding is in jeopardy come January 2012.

(2) Legislators are not hearing too many Thank You’s this year. We’re going to be different. We need to let Legislators know we are thankful for HB 2261 which placed Highly Capable Programs within the protections of Basic Education as we appear to be benefiting from that placement during the current budget crisis.

(3) Then, too, in time, state finances will get better, even if slowly, and the day is going to come when we will be in a position to ask for an increase in funding and even for additional legislation about HCP. We need to educate Legislators now about the importance of and need for Highly Capable Programs.

We are asking as many advocates and students as possible to come to Olympia and talk to their Legislators:

(1) To say thank you for including Highly Capable Programs in basic education. As HB 2261 says so clearly, “access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education” for Highly Capable students.

(2) To say thank you for maintaining funding in the current biennial budget.

(3) To give Legislators an idea of how being in a Highly Capable Program has improved students educational experiences or helped them to plan their future. There is a special emphasis on STEM these days (science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects) and if being a participant in a Highly Capable Program has led the student into these fields, we need to let Legislators know.

Students are the best people to talk with Legislators about Highly Capable Programs. Each student who attends should bring a personal letter expressing one or both of these ideas or their own individual ideas, in their own words, to give to the Legislator(s). Legislators prefer handwritten letters so if you have a computer program that allows you to produce personalized stationery with your picture on it, please make some and use it for your handwritten letter. You can’t get more personalized than that…

If you can’t come to Olympia on January 23rd, please write this letter anyway and send it to your Legislators. Mail address can be found on the web site of the state Legislature. http://www.leg.wa.gov/pages/home.aspx

Use the Legislator information tab.

This message is just a “head’s up” about Gifted Education Day. We will be following up with more detailed information after the first of the year. Meantime, please refer to the Gifted Education Day Handbook.

OTHER INFORMATION

NWGCA is holding its Connections Conference on February 4 at Edmonds Woodway High School in Edmonds. For more information see NWGCA Connections 2012.

Centrum at Fort Worden in Port Townsend is a member of the Coalition. Using funding from the HCP appropriation in the state budget, they present the Young Artists Workshops. Explorations for grades 7-9 on March 4-9; Water World for grades 5-6 on April 22-27; and two Advanced High School Studios, July 8-15. For more information, http://www.centrum.org/youth/educators.html

Last, but not least, is the League of Education Voters Education Activist Training on January 7th. There is a fee for this training. For more information and to register, see the LEV website.

We’ll be back to you with more information on Gifted Education Day. Don’t forget, it’s Monday, January 23, 2012. In the meantime, Happy Holidays to you and yours. We thank you for your continuing support of appropriate educational opportunities for gifted students.

For all the latest news on gifted education advocacy in Washington State, follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/wagifted.

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MEMBERSHIPS

It’s time to considering renewing your membership in the Coalition, or becoming a member for the first time.

We also offer the Joint Membership in all three gifted organizations, NWGCA, WAETAG and the Coalition, at a savings of $15 over individual memberships.

Since we are a state-chartered political advocacy group, the Coalition is the only one of the three groups which can hire a lobbyist to represent all of us in Olympia. More than 95% of our revenue goes toward the retainer for our lobbyist. The remainder goes for operating expenses and the costs of Gifted Eduction Day.

Linked are three pdf files: a Treasurer’s Report for the fiscal year which ended on August 31, 2011, a membership form for the Coalition and a joint membership form.

COALITION FINANCES

A quick review of the Treasurer’s Report shows we have a substantial balance on hand compared to prior years. This is due to a one-time-only contribution from WAETAG when we were in danger of running out of funds during the year. It is our plan to continue to pay current costs out of current income and to reserve the WAETAG contribution for special expenses and as a cushion for the future. Therefore, despite what you see on the report, we do need your membership this year.

Aside from our lobbyist, all the work of the Coalition is done by unpaid volunteers such as yourself. In addition to the work many of you do for your local parent support and advocacy groups, you answer our calls for contacts with Legislators by phone, letter or e-mail; to testify before committees in Olympia; and to make a big showing at Gifted Education Day. In the last two years, attendance at GEDay has exceed that at Legislative Action day of the state PTA – which, when considering the relative size of the two groups, says a lot about our devotion to our cause.

We invite all of you to join us in this important work on behalf of our children. Become a supporting or contributing member of the Coalition and/or participate in our legislative advocacy activities. Above all, plan to join us for Gifted Education Day, January 23, 2012.

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Our partner in advocacy, the Northwest Gifted Child Association (NWGCA), is presenting a symposium for parents of gifted January 29, 2011. See this attachment for more information. We urge you to attend.

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