Colonial Heights Public Schools

512 Boulevard, Colonial Heights, VA 23834   |  Phone: 804-524-3400
City of Colonial Heights, Virginia

Supporting Your Child's Needs

With permission, the following recommendations were culled from the Tuscan Unified School District's webpage (www.tusd.k12.az.us/index.htm) as well as from the Hoagies' Gifted Education Page (www.hoagiesgifted.org/).  Both are leading advocates for gifted students' social, emotional, and academic needs.

Build Personal Awareness

  • Learn about the unique cognitive, social and emotional issues of the gifted
  • Attend public forums/panels that focus on the needs of gifted and talented students
  • Get involved in the Colonial Heights Gifted Advisory Committee
  • Attend conferences sponsored by local, state and national organizations
  • Plan informal gatherings to meet with other parents of gifted children
  • Familiarize yourself with books, newsletters, websites, and other sources of information about gifted education

At Home

  • Set an example by modeling life-long learning
  • Collect examples of your child's work and creativity in a portfolio
  • Encourage and model good communication with your children
  • Create an accepting environment that encourages your child to share his/her questions, comments, and concerns
  • Be a good and authentic listener
  • Be a facilitator and a guide
  • Share in the adventure of learning new things
  • Allow childhood to be a part of your gifted one's life; do not expect him/her to feel and act like a miniature adult
  • Avoid comparing your child with others or you may lose sight of his/her individuality
  • Make free time a regular pastime; be sure not to over-schedule your child
  • Set clear and consistent expectations and consequences; involve your child in the process
  • Help your child to believe in himself/herself
  • Emphasize your child's strengths; be positive
  • Supplement your child's learning at home; nurture your child's passions, interests and creativity
  • Model general respect for educators and the importance of their service to the larger society
  • Value risk taking, hard work, and the feelings of satisfaction that accompany achievement
  • Discuss effective problem solving techniques and strategies to better cope with failure
  • Encourage independence by giving your child responsibility
  • Provide opportunities for your child to interact with other gifted and older children as well as stimulating adults
  • Encourage self awareness
  • Remember the value of humor
  • Above all, be sure to enjoy them

In School

  • Ask your child's teacher for suggestions about how best to nurture their talents and interests
  • Be a volunteer in the school; apply your talents in these and other areas:
  • Classrooms
  • Nurse's office
  • Tutorin
  • Art, music
  • Mentorin
  • Enrichment activities
  • Field trips
  • PTO/PTA
  • Gifted program
  • Fund raisers
  • Keep written documentation of meetings with school staff (e.g. teachers, specialists, principals) 
  • Offer to assist school staff in designing a personal education plan which identifies strengths and weaknesses, personal goals, indicators of academic growth, and means for parental support 
  • Agree on a timeline for setting student, parent, and teacher goals

Effective Ways to Advocate for Your Child

  • Know the facts; become informed about issues surrounding the needs of gifted learners
  • Educate yourself on educational terminology, especially the vocabulary related to gifted education 
  • It is helpful to become familiar with state guidelines and accreditation rules as a framework for discussion 
  • Be willing to give your time and talents, not just your criticism
  • Make an appointment and tell the teacher what you wish to discuss. In the hallway right after school is never the best time and place for serious conversation. Make sure the teacher can give you her/his full attention
  • Network with other interested parents, teachers, and members of the community
  • Be willing to listen to other perspectives
  • Bring your sense of humor
  • Be respectful of the professionals
  • Avoid becoming a "hovering" parent; even gifted children need to develop their own sense of independence and ability to speak for themselves in a tactful manner
  • Take time to thank your child's teachers for their efforts
  • Do not forget to ask your child what they think or want
  • Separate your issues from your child's
  • Be a good listener
  • Focus on your main issue and be willing to collaborate and compromise
  • Establish timelines in your discussions with teachers for both short and long-term goals
  • Follow-up meetings with a letter reiterating plans of action and important points so that all involved can  refer to what has been agreed upon
  • Plan for a follow-up meeting in the future to evaluate progress
  • Discover and follow the "chain of command" at your child's school beginning with the classroom teacher in nearly all cases
  • Focus on student needs, not the "Gifted" label
  • Be assertive, not adversarial
  • Join gifted organizations, attend gifted education conferences, and subscribe to gifted  education resources