Parent to Parent: 6 Tips to Help Your Child in Gifted and Honor Programs

It should come as no surprise that white students are more likely to be classified as “gifted” or “intelligent” than Black and Hispanic students. When a snapshot is taken of these classes throughout the nation, the numbers reflect the same. As a mother of a child who is recognized as academically gifted, and currently in one of the gifted programs in a southern state, it is easy to recognize the bias in the program toward black students. Black parents have to work harder to get a child in the program, and even harder to make sure they are excelling and being treated equal to their white counterparts.

 Here are 6 Tips to Help Your Child in Gifted and Honor Programs:

1. Teach children the importance of self-advocacy. Teach your child to speak up when not feeling challenged in the classroom. All children should have exposure to course materials that challenge their mental intellect. Children should speak up and request material better suited for them.

2. Ask teachers for recommendation letters. Ask teachers to write a letter of recommendation to get your child into a gifted or honor program. Teachers are trained to identify gifted children and recommend them for the most appropriate coursework. School administration often asks teachers to recommend students who are well-suited for the program.

3. Be prepared to go to war. Expect that there wil be times when you will feel that your child’s educational needs are not being met. Voice your concerns right away. Call the teacher, send emails, talk to the principal, and if you have to, go to the school board to make things happen. Regardless of what others think, when you are dealing with a time sensitive issue, it might be necessary to go against the chain of command and start at the top.

4. Don’t focus on standardized tests results. Let’s just be honest, standardized tests are racially and socially biased. The tests do not accurately show giftedness. There are many different aspects that should be considered when determining whether or not a child is gifted.

5. Provide adequate academic support. Arrange for your children to receive the support needed to help them succeed. Take advantages of STEM clubs, tutoring programs, and community-organized educational programs to help your child with coursework.

6. Check in periodically with teachers. Be sure to let teachers know you are 100 percent on board with your child getting the best education possible. Teachers should feel that you are a full participant in your child’s educational success. Be sure to let teachers know you are always available to discuss any concerns about your child with them.

source: The Trials of Being Black and Gifted in Public School

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