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The Coalition is pleased to announce that David Berg, Puyallup, and Janis Traven, Seattle, will be co-presidents for the next year. Both sit on the State Gifted Advisory Board and served on the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group. Both have been active in gifted advocacy for many years and bring great knowledge and experience to the job.

If you need to contact either of them, you can do so at our wagifted@gmail.com address.

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The following is a treasurer’s report for the fiscal year to date, including projected expenses before the end of our fiscal year on August 31st.

Opening Balance 9/1/12
   $679.90
Income
    Individual vía Pay Pal
$33.68
   Individual
$2100.00
   Joint Memberships
$1260.00
   Organizations
$6180.00
   Total Income
$9573.68
   $9573.68
Funds on Hand
   $10253.58
Expenditures
   Fees
$75.00
   JM transmittals
$780.00
   Lobbyist
$5100.00
   Other – NEWS
$50.00
   Total Expenditures
$6005.00
   $6005.00
Balance 6/12/13
   $4248.58
Expenditures by 8/31/13
   Lobbyist
$2550.00
   JM transmittals
$70.00
   Treasurer’s expenses
$59.66
   Total
$2679.66
   $2679.66
Projected Balance 8/31/13
   $1568.92

The fund raising appeal in May brought in $1653.68. Without those generous contributions, we would have a negative balance on 8/31/2013.

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We now accept donations online by credit card and PayPal. We recommend that you make a contribution of at least $40.00, and are happy to accept more.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

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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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This message has five sections.

1. A reminder that the Coalition leadership group and those wishing to become more active in the Coalition will meet on Tuesday, October 25, at the Burien Community Center, 14700 6th Ave. SW, Burien. We will be “open for business” at 11:00 and available to talk with you before the meeting proper begins at noon. We anticipate being done by 2 pm. Please join us!

As you know, on October 24th the Governor is scheduled to present  her proposals for a supplemental budget to be considered by the Legislature in their special session scheduled for November 28. It is anticipated that this will be a major topic of discussion.

2. Highly Capable Programs have acquired several strong endorsements and some publicity in recent weeks.

A. The Washington State School Directors Association reaffirmed their long standing position on HCP services at their September Legislative Assembly.

7.1.7 Education for Gifted

The WSSDA shall initiate and/or support legislation which would assure funding for the education of gifted students at a level of 10 percent of the student population, place that funding within the basic education allocation system and set a minimum number of students to be funded in small school districts. (Adopted 1987; Amended 2005)

Their number one priority for the coming legislative session is

1. Full Funding of Basic Education

WSSDA shall initiate and/or support legislation that fully funds and implements all aspects of Washington’s redefined program of Basic Education as outlined in ESHB 2261. (Chapter 548, Laws of 2009)
and since HCP is now a part of basic education, that includes HCP funding.

B. KIRO radio in Seattle broadcast a piece on HCP and the transcribed version is available at http://mynorthwest.com/11/560022/Above-average-students-need-help-too. WSSDA included it in their daily eClippings, which go electronically to all members and others statewide who have signed up to receive them.

C. At their Legislative Assembly last weekend, the Washington State PTA voted unanimously for the following proposition, which also scored highly in their recent on-line survey:

HIGHLY CAPABLE: The Washington State PTA shall initiate and/or support legislation or policies that ensure highly capable children (K-12) receive an appropriate basic education, which includes access to highly capable programs (K-12).

The Washington State PTA recommends that the Legislature and Quality Education Council build on the work of the Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group. This shall include, but not be limited to:

Advocating for a standard definition of highly capable and working to ensure students who are both highly capable and students of color, who are poor, or who have disabilities, have equitable access to the state’s highly capable program.

Further, Washington State PTA supports the recommendation that districts that do not currently offer highly capable programs refer to the guidelines set forth in the report of Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group.

3. Don’t forget the WAETAG State Conference at the Convention Center in Wenatchee on October 28 and 29.  More information is available on their website at http://www.waetag.net.   There will be sessions for parents.

4. You can help us gather some much needed information. What services does your district provide for students who are gifted in one area but not another, i.e. strong in writing/reading, but not strong enough in math to qualify for whatever program the district offers. We know some districts provide enrichment and/or acceleration in the domain of strength while others do not. What does your district do?

Please send your responses to wagifted@earthlink.net. Thank you.

5. Don’t forget to renew or become a member of the Coalition or the Joint Membership. All three groups need your financial support. As you can see by the items above, we still have lots of work to do!

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SPECIAL SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE

The Governor has convened a special session of the Legislature beginning November 28th to address the most recent, dismal revenue forecast. With the necessity for a supplemental budget we feel that it will be vital to muster a show of strength and commitment. The details of the various proposals to be considered by the Legislature will determine what actions we need to take. For a first take on possibilities, see Ross Hunter’s blog.

While HCPs are now a part of basic education, and are thus somewhat protected against budget cuts, funding at the state level is not truly secure in these difficult financial times for our state. We anticipate having to mount a strong effort with Legislators to retain our status and funding. Details as they become available.

WAETAG CONFERENCE

The annual WAETAG Conference is scheduled for October 28 (special session for administrators) and October 29 at the Convention Center in Wenatchee. More information can be found on the WAETAG web site.

GIFTED EDUCATION DAY – MARK YOUR CALENDAR AND START PLANNING NOW

Gifted Education Day is scheduled for Monday, January 23, 2012.We hope all of you will joint us in the Columbia Room in the state capitol building. We’ve just begun to plan so details will be available later. If you plan to bring a student group, you need to start work now to get the necessary permissions, etc.

COALITION/NWGCA/WAETAG LEADERSHIP MEETINGS

If you are interested in joining the Coalition leadership group and taking part in our discussions and decisions, we invite you to attend our meetings. The October meeting will be especially important as we begin planning for the special session of the Legislature. At the December 7 meeting we will review our options based on what has happened in the special session and make plans for Gifted Education Day.

Tuesday, October 25, 11 am to 2 pm
Wednesday, December 7, 4 pm to 8 pm
At the Burien Community Center, 14700  6th Ave. SW, Burien.

We hope the evening session will allow more of you to attend and participate. For more information contact us at wagifted@earthlink.net.

We hope to see you there!

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Welcome back to another year of advocacy. We expect it to be busy. The recent revenue forecast is bleak, as is usual these days, and rumors are that there may need to be a special session this fall for a supplemental budget. Brrr!

If you are not following the Coalition on Facebook, you may have missed these two important articles:

You can follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/wagifted.

Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) is a great organization and they have made available their booklet “The Joy and the Challenge of Parenting Gifted Children: Readings and Resources.”  If you don’t have a Kindle, you can also download a free Kindle reader to access this amazing collection.

The Washington State PTA will hold its annual legislative assembly on October 14th and 15th.  A proposal regarding support for highly capable is among the issues up for debate this year.  You can view the proposal here.

Our next message will be concerned with Coalition finances, with a Treasurer’s Report for our fiscal year ending August 31, 2011, and reminders about memberships. Look for it the middle of the month.

We have a lot of hard work ahead of us this coming school year and need both your financial support and participation in advocacy activities. Meantime, thank you to those who have recently renewed their memberships for the year 2011-2012.

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The Legislative session has finally come to an end. In virtually last minute votes, the Legislature approved a budget (E2SHB 1087) which is “kind” to gifted programs; enacted the new “minimum instructional program of basic education” and the HCP funding formula in ESSB 5919, effective September 2011; and failed to enact the Recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group (bills 1443 and 2111).

It will take us awhile to sort out the details of what this all means and where it leaves gifted programs for the next school year, but here are some preliminary remarks.

• The budget has two parts. Another supplemental for the current year was part of 1087. It made no changes to HCP funding, beyond what was done in the 5th supplemental (HB 1086).

• In the biennial budget for 2011-2013, enhanced funding is provided under the new formula for HCP. It is both good news and bad. Depending on what base line you use, the funding for districts took a cut of between $200,000 and $250,000. Harder hit were our associated programs. Centrum took a 50% cut in its funding and Future Problem Solving/Destination ImagiNation took a 100% cut in funding.

• ESSB 5919 authorizes the implementation of education reform measures  (the “minimum instructional program of basic education”) beginning September 2011. Among its provisions is the new formula for calculating HCP enhanced funds. See Sec. 2(10)( c ) of the bill. This means that HCP services will be a mandated part of basic education. Nothing in either this bill nor the budget requires districts to offer any particular program or service, only that appropriate services must be provided. Districts remain free to determine what level of services are needed within the district. Districts will need to apply to OSPI for the enhanced funds, as they have for the categorical funds in the past. and submit their plan for approval.

While becoming a mandated part of basic education with an adequate funding appropriation is fulfillment of a long time Coalition goal, in view of the draconian cuts to education and social services, we aren’t celebrating too loudly.

What we do say loudly is a big vote of THANKS to all the advocates in the state whose efforts made this possible. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Below is section 511 of the biennial budget

NEW SECTION. Sec. 511. FOR PROGRAMS FOR HIGHLY CAPABLE STUDENTS

General Fund–State Appropriation (FY 2012) . . . .$8,741,000
General Fund–State Appropriation (FY 2013) . . .  $8,794,000
TOTAL APPROPRIATION…………….   $17,535,000

The appropriations in this section are subject to the following conditions and limitations

(1) Each general fund fiscal year appropriation includes such funds as are necessary to complete the school year ending in the fiscal year and for prior fiscal year adjustments.

(2)(a) For the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, the superintendent shall allocate funding to school district programs for highly capable students as provided in RCW 28A.150.260(10)(c). In calculating the allocations, the superintendent shall assume the following: (i) Additional instruction of 2.1590 hours per week per funded highly capable program student; (ii) fifteen highly capable program students per teacher; (iii) 36 instructional weeks per year; (iv) 900 instructional hours per teacher; and (v) the district’s average staff mix and compensation rates as provided in sections 503 and 504 of this act.
(b) From July 1, 2011, to August 31, 2011, the superintendent shall allocate funding to school districts programs for highly capable students as provided in section 511, chapter 564, Laws of 2009, as amended through section 1409 of this act.

(3) $85,000 of the general fund–state appropriation for fiscal year 2012 and $85,000 of the general fund–state appropriation for fiscal year 2013 are provided solely for the centrum program at Fort Worden state park.

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Gifted Education Day Report

Friday, February 11th, was a magnificent day for gifted. We filled the Columbia Room to capacity and beyond with enthusiastic parents and children. More than 45 legislators were contacted. The lime green scarves announced that supporters of Highly Capable Programs were out in force. Thank you, Puyallup ABC.

The crowd was addressed by Rep. Pat Sullivan and Rep. Bruce Dammeier, two of our staunchest supporters in the House, and by Gayle Pauley, Director of HCP at OSPI. Kelly Munn of the League of Education Voters spoke on effective advocacy. Also dropping in were Rep. Norm Johnson whose district is west of Yakima, Rep. Terry Nealey, whose district includes Pasco and Walla Walla, and Rep. Reuven Carlyle of Seattle, who stopped by for information and to talk with advocates.

Thank you to everyone who came to Olympia on Friday. We had delegations from Wenatchee to Stevenson down on the Columbia River, and all points in-between. Ages ranged from 2 1/2 months to grandparents.

Many of those in Olympia took home the STEM Report by the National Science Board. It is a powerful statement about the value and need for gifted programs. Be sure to read it and pass it on to local school officials.

If you took pictures of your meeting with a legislator, consider sending him/her a copy as part of an electronic thank you. And share your pictures on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/wagifted) or send us a copy so we can use them too. Thanks.

Legislative issues update:

The Supplemental Budget (which continues funding for HCP through the end of this fiscal year) is due out of conference any day now.

Substitute HB 1443, Sections 208 and 209, as voted out of committee, gives us something to build on in the future. We will keep you informed of its progress as it moves through the House and Senate.

SB 5475 is scheduled for executive session in the Senate K-12 Committee on Wednesday morning. This is the bill which would delay the inclusion of HCP into basic education until Sept. 2013. There are many amendments to be voted on but their impact on HCP is unknown.

From the K-12 Committee the bill will go to the Senate Ways & Means where it is scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday. We will testify; the message depends on what emerges on Wednesday from the K-12 Committee. This bill needs to make its way through the Senate and then repeat the process in the House.

Finally, there is the biennial budget. Experienced observers of the Legislature don’t expect it to appear until the very end of March or even early April.

Contacting Your Legislators

We are counting on your continued participation in our efforts to influence legislation and regulations for HCP.  Please focus your advocacy on behalf of education funding in general and HCP funding in particular. Our messages need to be positive and avoid comparison to other programs as each program is unique and funding sources are different. We need to make our case on our own merits, not in comparison to or competition with any other programs. Short, succinct messages are the most effective. We will post samples for your use.

Legislators continue to tell us that those who don’t make a concerted effort to contact them are not going to be heard or heeded.

According to Rep. Ross Hunter, chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, “We’re hearing from almost everyone but education about the budget cuts. It will be hard to protect even basic education dollars if we don’t start hearing about how these cuts will affect our kids’ education and how this will work at the local level.” Said another legislator, “You need to be heard, or even the staunchest education allies won’t be able to stop the cuts.”

We want to be heard!

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