How Does My Gifted Child Get Into an Educational Talent Search?
If you have a gifted child at home, you may assume that his or her education is up to your local school district. You might think, like I did, that the teachers (especially the gifted and talented teacher) will everything they can to make sure your child performs to his or her fullest potential. Surely they would keep you informed about any and all possible academic opportunities. You'd be wrong. The truth is that these teachers are overworked like everyone else. They may not have the resources or the time to find the best opportunities for your child. Your child would probably benefit from an educational talent search.
How Does My Child Get Accepted?
Just as with any other special needs child, parents of gifted children must take a proactive role in order to ensure the gifted child benefits from the many (often unknown) programs available. Educational talent searches can help. If your child scores in the 95th percentile or above on any standardized tests, whether or not he or she has been identified as gifted by the school, get him or her involved with an educational talent search program.
You do not have to wait to be invited or identified by a teacher, you simply sign up for a program such as Duke TIP. When you apply, your test scores will be verified with the school.
Because talent searches are operated by universities (not your local school), only a small percentage of the schools who could send students to the talent search actually do so. However, you do NOT need to allow your school to be the gate-keeper of these programs. You have every right to sign your child up for talent search. Do not let someone else's definition of gifted limit your child's opportunities.
What is an Educational Talent Search?
Talent searches identify high achieving students (based on test scores) during the mid to late elementary school years. This is the time that difference in abilities really begins to show up. Once in the talent search program, there are newsletters, websites, and correspondence and online learning opportunities for a wide variety of subjects. Gifted kids get access to accelerated learning, plus a sense of camaraderie with gifted peers.
How Much Does It Cost?
There is a small fee, usually under $50. There are also fees associated with individual courses your child may choose to take.
Additionally, if you decided to send your child to one of the summer programs offered by many educational talent searches, expect to spend $3,000 - $5,000. Keep in mind that scholarships are available for many of the programs.
What Have You Got to Lose?
I feel strongly about spreading the word on educational talent searches because I was NOT informed of them by my child's school. I learned about them through another parent. Duke TIP costs $25 a year. So far I've learned more from reading the newsletter than all my previous research combined. That alone is worth the fee. And if my little rocket scientist wants to go to space camp? We'll program that robot when we get to it!