Sylvia Rimm follows with an article based on her recent book, Growing Up Too Fast: The Rimm Report on the Secret World of America’s Middle Schoolers. Her article, “Growing Up Too Fast—and Gifted,” reports that while the timetable of adolescent development has changed over recent decades, the components of development remain the same. Dr. Rimm includes comparisons between gifted middle schoolers and their “regular” program cohorts. A common complaint expressed by critics of middle schools is that too little emphasis is put on academics because its proponents argue that social issues are the highest priority at this age. When true, this condition is particularly damaging to gifted middle school learners who are not only capable but eager for intellectual challenge. Susannah Richards offers us an antidote in her article, “Academic Rigor or Rigor mortis: Creating an Environment that Stimulates and Supports Academic Prowess in the Middle School.”
In “Creating a School for Gifted Learners: Trials and Triumphs,” three Bloomington, Minnesota educators share their challenging and exhilarating experiences in building a “school within a school” to serve gifted middle schoolers. Richard Cash, Julie Donaldson, and Barbara Dullaghan were the primary figures leading the charge in creating Dimensions Academy on the campus of one of the district’s already existing middle schools. From there we turn to more specific offerings in classroom activities for gifted middle school students in science and poetry. Amy Germundson strives to engage students in her article, “Igniting Potential: Engaging Gifted Learners in Science.” In a companion piece, Kristina Doubet shares her experience reaching underserved middle schoolers in her article, “Igniting Poetic Passion in Traditionally Underserved Gifted Adolescents.” Both articles contain concrete suggestions that teachers can infuse into their own classes. Most of our department writers focused on the middle school years as well, with comments directed toward specific audiences: parents, teachers, administrators, and support people. We commend them to you as well.
Finally, you will find two informational reprints: