Fairfax County Association for the Gifted

Fairfax County Association for the Gifted

Building a community of advocates for gifted children and
connecting the people and programs that support them.


The Fairfax County Association for the Gifted (FCAG), is a non-governmental, non-profit organization of parent and student volunteers that supports educational programs for advanced academic students. FCAG's primary activity is advocacy for gifted students. In addition to advocacy, FCAG hosts meetings with distinguished speakers that are free and open to the public, sponsors math contests such as the AMC 8 and AMC 10, and annually hosts a Summer Academic Programs and Enrichment Camp Fair. FCAG also publishes newsletters and hosts a free, online, interactive Yahoo discussion group with over 2000 participants. You do not need to be a resident of Fairfax County to join the organization.

Join FCAG to support these efforts!

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Newsfeed and Online Discussion

Visit the FCAG Yahoo Groups Discussion Page.

Follow us on Twitter at @FCAGifted

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2015 Summer Camp Fair

Summer is coming with its longer days and warm, serene evenings. Summer is also a time to challenge children with experiences out of the ordinary. Many colleges, schools and private organizations offer summer programs tailored especially for gifted youngsters of all ages such as Fairfax Collegiate, Stanford University,and other programs offered in 2015. A listing does not imply an endorsement by FCAG.

Each year, FCAG hosts a summer camp fair.The 2015 Summer Program Fair was held on Wednesday, January 28th , 2015 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Longfellow Middle School. At the Fair, summer enrichment program representatives exhibited their offerings, and the event was free and open to the public. The 2015 FCAG Summer Fair exhibition list is available. A listing does not imply an endorsement by FCAG.

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ESSENTIAL LIFE SKILLS
FOR TWICE EXCEPTIONAL LEARNERS:
TOOLS FOR SOCIAL & ACADEMIC SUCCESS

February 3, 2015 at 7:00 pm
Luther Jackson Middle School

Panelists:

  • Dr. Carol Horn, K-12 Coordinator, Advanced Academic Programs, FCPS
  • Dr. Karin Varblow, M.D., board-certified pediatrician with expertise in Behavioral Pediatrics and treating children with ADHD
  • Michael Bloom, Coordinator, PreK-12 Special Ed Instruction, FCPS

The unique needs of Twice Exceptional, or 2e learners, can be challenging for everyone, especially the 2e student. Have you ever wondered why your gifted child or another child you know struggles when he/she should be smart enough to "figure it out?"

The slides are available for the presentation of Dr. Karin Varblow and the presentation of Michael Bloom and Dr. Carol Horn.

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FCAG Testimony on CIP Delivered on 1/7/2015 to FCPS School Board

Here is a copy of the written FCAG testimony shared with the School Board regarding the 2016-2020 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). You can watch the video here. FCAG president Beverly Jurenko began speaking at about 8:30.

The second speaker was Latisha Elcock, Vice Chair for AAPAC (Advanced Academics Program Advisory Committee), who spoke in the place of AAPAC Chair Karen Corbett Sanders. Latisha did a great job in delivering comments on behalf of AAPAC, urging the School Board to slow down this vote until AAPAC can complete its joint work with FPAC (Facilities Planning Advisory Committee) to develop a "decision support matrix". This work will be presented in May 2015.

Most of the 28 or so speakers were from Stratford Landing. A few were from the Mason District. One made the wise comment that she was concerned by the growing view that AAP Centers can be used to address capacity issues.

Send Your Comments to the School Board!

If you would like to support our position by sending an email to the School Board to urge them to defer the CIP vote on January 21 until more work can be done and the community can be engaged, you can reach them here:
fairfaxcountyschoolboard@fcps.edu and Tammy Kaufax. Tammy Kaufax is the School Board Chair, so her email is listed separately as an addition to the group to ensure that the Chair receives your comments.

After the meeting Beverly spoke with some members of FPAC, who say they had not seen the CIP before it was published. They say that the reason they feel justified in suggesting that AAP students are moved to new schools is because the AAP group has become so large it outnumbers Gen Ed students in some Centers. This is one reason FCAG has requested a verification of AAP Level IV identification procedures to ensure that FCPS is not over-identifying. Once we confirm that identification procedures are appropriate, we should plan capacity to fit the AAP, not use the AAP kids as fillers for excess capacity, moving them around regardless of their academic, co-curricular, and social needs.

It seems there is a movement to put Local Level IV in every elementary school, challenging the need for Centers and perhaps ultimately eliminating them. Putting Local Level IV AAP in every elementary school solves capacity problems because you never have to guess how many kids will be arriving from multiple base schools at a Center. However, this conflicts with the reason Centers were established to begin with. Centers were put in place to aggregate, rather than isolate, gifted students from all backgrounds. You're not going to have critical mass (for example, three classrooms per grade of qualified Level IV kids) in all base schools without lowering eligibility standards.

If FCPS lowers eligibility to fill classrooms in Local Level IV schools, AAP classrooms will have greater variance in ability. Differentiation by teachers in classrooms seems to be the answer to addressing issues of greater mixed ability in AAP classrooms. However, there are limits on the degree to which teachers can differentiate and with our large class sizes much is lost. Even very capable teachers are stretched very thin when they have 31 kids per classroom of Level IV AAP. So having one-school AAP Centers is contrary to what the program is designed for, and not good for the kids.

That being said, Parents may have specific reasons for selecting a local program over a Center. When families decide not to send their children to a Center, Level IV curriculum is offered at the base school to those eligible kids. Other students selected by the school principal fill a class to group the top performing kids in the school. It's not the same experience as being in a Center, but it is better than not offering advanced curriculum at all.

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FCAG offered a panel discussion of the benefits and defining characteristics of the AP & IB Programs

IB & AP Programs: What's Best for Your Child?

FCAG presents an event that should interest parents of middle school and late elementary students!

We offer a presentation and discussion of the benefits and defining characteristics of the Advanced Placement (AP) & International Baccalaureate (IB) Programs with an emphasis on their applicability to gifted students and those who are performing at an advanced level.

Our distinguished group of panelists from the National Academy of Sciences, the National Research Council, and from the National Academy of Education will focus on national and international trends, while FCPS representatives will explain how the programs are applied in FCPS and how they impact our top students for college admissions and beyond.

Panelists:

  • LouEllen Brademan, Ph.D., Coordinator of Curriculum Integration and Management in the Office of PreK-12 Curriculum and Instruction for FCPS.
  • Jay B. Labov, Ph.D., Senior Advisor for Education and Communications for the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council.
  • Kari Olsen, Director of Student Services, South Lakes High School, FCPS.
  • Thomas Rudin, Director, Board on Higher Education & Workforce; National Academies.

Moderator:

Michael Feuer, Ph.D., Dean and Professor, Graduate School of Education and Human Development The George Washington University President, The National Academy of Education.

December 10, 2014
7:00 - 8:30 pm
Kilmer Middle School
Lecture Hall
8100 Wolftrap Road, 22182

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FCAG testified for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors' Budget Hearing for FY 2015.

Fairfax County Public Schools has asked for an increase of $59.4 million, or 2.5% increase overall, in its budget of $2.5 billion over FY 2014, and has requested a $98 million increase in transfer from the county. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has offered a $34 million or 2% increase in funding, leaving a budget deficit for FCPS. On April 10, 2014, FCAG testified for full funding of the FCPS FY 2015 budget while advising that the Board of Supervisors step back from linking the proposed increase in property tax rates from $1.085 to $1.105 to our schools' needs. FCPS is receiving a disproportionate share of increased Fairfax County revenues as decisions may be being influenced by other priorities. These other needs, including pension funding needs, reserve requirements, transportation costs, and debt service, are very important to understand since they are also driving the need for greater tax revenues. It is important for citizens to be informed of the changing financial position of Fairfax County. Here is the testimony.

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Calendar

News

FCAG was invited to be part of the TJ Admissions Advisory Group for FCPS. Read FCAG's newsfeed for more information.

 

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