The Role of Administrators



2007 Summer The Role of Administrators


This is the first time Gifted Education Communicator has focused specifically on the role of administrators. In years past, many coordinators and teachers in gifted education chose to keep a low profile in our districts—to do our work as quietly as possible in hopes that our underfunded programs would not be jeopardized more than they already were. This may be part of the reason why many administrators and mainstream teachers have been ambivalent and sometimes even hostile toward gifted education. Many consider programs for gifted learners as “add-ons” rather than as important, integral parts of the school system. It is our responsibility to make sure all educators have a better understanding of gifted learners: their characteristics, needs, and appropriate services. Administrators need to be at the top of our list of priorities. With that thought, we begin our feature article section with a reprint of a column written by the President of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), Eugene G. White. His column appeared in the February issue of the organization’s journal, The School Administrator. In his article, “Are We Leaving Behind Students With Gifts?” Dr. White recognizes the neglect of gifted learners in our school systems and asks the question, “So why haven’t we valued the merits and potential of gifted education?”

The entire issue is devoted to gifted and talented learners and explores many issues regarding gifted education; it includes articles by Sally Reis and Jane Clarenbach among others. If you have not seen this issue, ask to borrow it from one of your administrators. You may also go to the AASA’s website: (See page 14 for additional information about this journal.) Carolyn Cooper who writes our regular “Administrator Talk” column, has written a feature article for this issue as well: “The Politics of Defensible Gifted Education: How to Avoid a Train Wreck.” She bases the article on the premise that, “Parents, staff, and students often do not understand the purpose of gifted education.”

“Differentiated curriculum” has long been a part of gifted education programs and a mode of providing appropriate instruction for gifted learners. Sandra Kaplan, the originator of numerous works in the development of differentiated curriculum, takes the concept a step further in her article, “Differentiated Curriculum: The Moral Imperative.” Meanwhile, positive relationships between parents and administrators is the focus of Robin Schader’s article, “Administrator–Parent Relationships: Strategies for Winning.” Victoria Bortolussi shares information about the benefits available to students when engaged in dual enrollment: high school and college. Her article, “Thinking Outside the School Box…High School–College Partnerships Reap Benefits,” also includes a “to do” list in setting up a system of dual enrollment where none currently exists. Another parent-oriented article focuses on characteristics of visual spatial learners and the need to accommodate their style of learning in order for them to do their best work. “Game Rules: Advocating for Your Visual-Spatial Learner,” by Alexandra Shires Golon should be of great interest to parents of these learners as well as administrators and teachers—and according to Golon, there are many more of them than you may think.

In recent years, program standards for gifted learners have been put in place at both state and national levels. Now we have a set of gifted teacher standards as well, the result of collaboration between the National Association for Gifted Children and the Council for Exceptional Children. These standards were completed and approved by the two organizations in November 2006 and are known as the “Teacher Knowledge and Skill Standards for Gifted and Talented Education.” The standards are available at both organizations’ websites; we have also included them in this issue for your convenience (see page 35).

Three of the Standards’ authors, Margie Kitano, Susan Johnsen, and Joyce VanTassel-Baska provide us with an introduction to the document in their article,  National Teacher Standards for PreK–12 Gifted Education.” They show us how the standards provide a yardstick against which local school districts can measure whether or not the educators serving gifted children are professionally prepared to do so. This could prove to be a very useful tool in the field. Our final feature is a focus on gifted education in two different parts of the world: California and England. We don’t often publish research accounts in this journal, but we think you will find this one both readable and interesting. Anthony Knight researched program policy and its effect in the two locations as part of his dissertation work at the University of Southern California. The Roosier School of Education named his thesis “Outstanding Thesis of the Year.” Dr. Knight shares his research findings in his article, “Gifted Education in England and California: A Comparative Analysis from Two Policy Perspectives.” Of special interest is the section on “lessons learned” from one another.

We would like to congratulate our designers at BBM&D for winning numerous awards in recent competition sponsored by the American Advertising Federation. Three of the awards judged by a panel of distinguished industry professionals looking for “outstanding creative work” were for articles published in our journal:  Gifted Education Communicator: “Using Technology” Editorial Spread Gifted Education Communicator: “Talking About Books” Editorial Spread Gifted Education Communicator: “Web Watch” Editorial Spread.


We have another full complement of department columns in this

issue, written by authors you have come to know and enjoy as regular contributors to the journal. We wish readers a pleasant summer; we will be back in the fall to share ideas on the theme, Interdisciplinary Studies: Language Arts. ■

—Margaret Gosfield, Editor