Saturday, February 5, 2011


Funding for gifted education in Washington is at risk due to the current budget challenges our state faces. Parents, school personnel and others are working hard to make sure that the needs of our state’s highly capable children are addressed through our schools. The Washington Coalition for Gifted Education is working to make the voices of those advocating for gifted children to be heard in Olympia.

What does this have to do with Seabury, an independent school that is not tied to the public system? At Seabury, we recognize and are committed to the unique learning needs of gifted children. As the only PK-8th grade independent school with a program designed for gifted children in the South Sound, our voices need to join those in the public school community working to raise awareness about our children and the kind of education they need and deserve to discover their gifts and develop their talents.

Seabury’s program is designed with these understandings in mind:
  • Gifted children are not better or more special than other children. They are simply children who learn differently and who deserve school programs that allow them to learn and grow and be challenged each and every day.
  • Giftedness is not just a quality related to school. It is a way of being. A way of experiencing the world. It not only affects the intellectual life of a person, but impacts all of how they perceive and interact with the world. Effective gifted education is not simply academic programming – it encompasses the development of the whole child including intellectual, social, emotional and physical growth.
  • Gifted education is different from academically advanced programs. It takes into account the fact that gifted students are not typically equally gifted in all areas, and that the degree of giftedness impacts the pace and depth in the curriculum that is required to provide adequate challenges. Tailoring the pace of instruction, and providing adequate depth, breadth and complexity of study are necessary if a gifted student is to be appropriately challenged in all subject areas.
  • Gifted students benefit when they have the chance to learn and grow with other gifted students who think and learn like they do. As important as classroom instruction is the opportunity to interact with other students who “get me.” Developing a strong sense of identity starts with finding a community of those who can relate to me, and with whom I can relate. Bringing gifted students together benefits their intellectual, social and emotional growth, and leads to students who have a strong sense of identity and confidence.

It is important that Seabury be a voice in the gifted education community, advocating for the needs of our unique children. We need to continue to reach out to find children in the community who would benefit from the program we offer, and to advocate for gifted children who are served in other places. We need to promote understanding of this often misunderstood population, and educate parents, teachers and the public. We look forward to continuing to be part of the conversation!


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