State Superintendent Burmaster’s Message for the Week

This is Elizabeth Burmaster’s weekly message for October 9-15.
Gifted Education Week is Oct. 9-15
Wisconsin’s observance of Gifted Education Week reinforces our commitment to educating gifted and talented children to their full potential, Through education, today’s young people who are highly capable intellectually, academically, creatively, artistically or through leadership will become tomorrow’s inventors, leaders, and poets. We certainly want our best and brightest working in our schools, medical facilities, businesses, and communities and contributing their talents to the betterment of our society.
Educators have an important role in identifying and meeting the needs of gifted and talented children, The diversity of those recognized as gifted and talented should reflect the diversity of our student population. To ensure that we identify and educate all gifted and talented children no matter where they live, their family’s socio-economic background, their racial or ethnic heritage, the language spoken at home, or their disability status, we must continuously learn to recognize new cues, especially those that are creative or artistic, to identify students who need more opportunities to grow and develop.

Meeting the needs of gifted and talented students means first and foremost remembering that they are children, who have many characteristics of their age peers. They may need different types of instruction, perhaps through accelerated curriculum, special assignments, or pairing with a mentor, but they also need time to play and socialize. And just like their classmates, students who are gifted or talented need opportunities to struggle with new material, to experience setbacks, and to develop the stamina and courage to try again to seek higher levels of achievement.
Identifying and serving gifted and talented pupils is part of our mission in public education and our New Wisconsin Promise, which assures a quality education for every child. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction will become a stronger partner with our schools and organizations in serving gifted and talented students, thanks to provisions in the 2005-07 state budget. We will once again have a full-time coordinator for gifted and talented education, working with educators, parents, and students throughout the state. We will be focusing our energies on direct support for middle school programs and grants to enable more students to participate in Advanced Placement programs.
The week of October 9-15 has been set aside to observe gifted education in Wisconsin. Please join me in thanking the parents, teachers, and associations that have worked so hard over the years to support and advocate for our gifted and talented youth.