The Gifted and Talented Advisory Council (GTAC) is one of the LPS district advisory boards, with a focus on the GT identified community. They’ve been supporting the district since 1976, providing a perspective from GT students, facilitators, parents, community members and representatives from elementary and secondary schools. The committee meets once a month at the district building, and the meetings are open to the public. The meetings are lead by an executive committee, which gathers before meetings to discuss the group’s charges for the year, as well as the general plan for the meetings. There’s an overall focus on the district as a whole, barring the discussion of personal matters beyond supporting anecdotes.
The Gifted and Talented District Coordinator, Melinda Ness, shares this year’s charges for the committee, being equity, excellence, and innovation; each play a part in encouraging the proper growth of GT students of all grades and individual needs. There’s also a call for student representatives to join the council, a plan Ness has been working to put into effect.
“The most important people were not at the table and were not involved in these discussions: the GT students. Who better would know what they need than the GT students? Who better could tell us what was working or not working or missing from their program?” says Ness.
She plans to find new ways to get students involved this year, and invites interested GT students to attend the meetings and participate in the betterment of the program.
This year’s chair of the executive council, Kristin Radebaugh, has been on GTAC for five years, She opens the meetings and invites community members to attend. “My fellow committee members have motivated me and shown me ways to advocate for and address my daughter’s learning needs with her teachers, and shown me opportunities to provide enrichment outside of school,” she says.
“When we say we want to create an inclusive environment and remove barriers, we are saying we want to explore how students in every grade level, school, and background has advanced learning needs in academics, arts, and sports addressed,” Radebaugh adds.
“GTAC works with me to create a level of gifted understanding with other stakeholders such as staff, administrators and community members,” says Ness. “I could not do all this as one person. I so appreciate their support and advocacy,” she adds.
The LPS Gifted and Talented Advisory Council meets next at the LPS district building on November 11, and all are invited to attend to support the Gifted and Talented program at the district level.by