Soooo this past week has been really amazing for the future of this project, and my partner and I are really excited about what’s to come. As a little summary of what’s happened, we had a meeting with the two AP English teachers at our high school (which was pretty unexpected), and we had our meeting with the school administrators!
As a run down, the meeting with the AP English teachers was completely unexpected, and the Gifted teacher from one of the middle schools was there, also. It started off well, as the teachers seemed to see our passion for this project, but it became obvious that they didn’t understand the meaning behind the Gifted program at all. One of the teachers was especially adamant about how great AP is and how it’s already very similar to Ghenglish, which I’ll admit is true, but she also talked about how her AP classes are already filled by mostly Gifted students. Katie and I tried to make it clear that Gifted Honors English was another class entirely fit to keep the kids’ Gifted community alive, but even that statement was shot down because a “community of like-minded students” wasn’t enough for us to say. Another comment I didn’t like was how Gifted should just be a club after school, but I don’t know any Gifted kid who has the time to be apart of a club, or one that would even want to do that when we would technically have to do class-like work.
We were pretty shaken up from that meeting, but it was super eye-opening for us as we realized how awful our presentation of the project was. We really had no solid argument to anything the teachers said, and we just hit the ground running trying to change it all around. The day after the meeting, which was two Fridays ago, Katie and I were trying to plan out our next course of action. We then decided to make a mind-map of what our argument should say across the entire whiteboard, and it turned out awesome! With the help of our sub, the other students, and articles from the National Association for Gifted Children we ended up figuring out what we should say in a way that would persuade the administrators at the meeting to come.
Our main points were about how AP was different-it could be stifling for Gifted students, and not all Gifted students were interested in English to that level or academically Gifted. AP is structured, and the class is geared towards helping kids learn in order to pass the AP exam. While AP prepared kids well for college, it didn’t capture the freedom and flexibility of Gifted Honors English we wanted. The argument Katie and I wrote up for the presentation can be found here.
Finally, it was presentation time. On Tuesday, December 20th we met with the assistant superintendent, one of the high school’s principals, Mr. Heidt, and two other Gifted teachers. All I know is that I don’t think I’ve presented anything so well in my life, and the assistant superintendent looked very impressed with Katie and I’s argument. The presentation was geared mainly towards her, and she could definitely see our main points and the overall importance of Gifted vs. AP. She brought up many counterarguments about scheduling and whether Gifted should be in a different class/club, but we were prepared for this and shared our own ideas as to why both of those things weren’t as good as Gifted Honors English. The only problem we couldn’t really get over was if we would have to hire a new teacher for the class, which we came up with ideas for, but it’s been the winning question from almost every teacher we’ve told about the project.
It was a lot of hard work preparing for the meeting, but it had promise in it, and I’m just really proud that the project has made it this far. If the administrators liked our ideas enough, they’ll present the class to the district office on January 3rd to have it added to the other high school courses. This project is turning into something very real, and something else I was proud about-the assistant superintended was very happy that we had done a survey on who would take the class. Only 10 students are needed to start up a new class in the school, and our survey showed 24 students who would want to take the class. I was so excited I made a graphic organizer to show the survey results off! See it here: survey-response-spectrum