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Welcome to our blog.   Please note that this page is open to the public, so any comments made by members will be visible to the general public also.  At this time, only members can make comments to the posts. 


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  • November 05, 2020 2:35 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)


    Do you have a child in your life with unbridled potential and a keen love for learning? Have their past experiences with school not given them the resources and attention to help them flourish? A small school could be the answer. By providing more one on one interactions and community building in the classroom, students build important relationships and grow. New Eisner Scholar Sierra talks about her experience with a small school, "Roycemore has provided many new opportunities for me especially because of the smaller class sizes. I know this is said very often in favor of this school, but the teachers know you as an individual. It helps them understand you as a person and what you need, and your teachers can choose different focuses of the curriculum to better suit the class." Roycemore values creating opportunities for every student to reach their full potential and have access to the education they deserve. Helping to make this possible are financial aid options for both current and applying students.

    One of the school's most comprehensive financial aid opportunities is the Robert Eisner Distinguished Scholar Program, a full tuition merit scholarship program which can be renewed for all subsequent years of a student's time at Roycemore. Each year, at least one Eisner Scholar is awarded to a rising 9th or 10th grade student based on a number of factors. The selection committee looks at academic achievement, social justice and civic engagement work, and leadership abilities to find students who will enrich the school environment. Scholarships are renewed each subsequent year, so long as the student maintains a 3.0 grade point average and contributes positively to the school.

    Eisner scholars can truly be any student, as Director of Admissions Amanda Avery tells us: "An Eisner scholar isn't always the loudest, most outgoing student in the room. Oftentimes, Eisner Scholars have unique passions that they demonstrate to us that make them standout students. And no matter what, we see kind, determined, and intelligent students receive the scholarship every year."

    If you are interested in applying for the Eisner Scholar Program at Roycemore, please feel free to reach out with any questions. The Application Deadline will close on Monday, November 16th.

    Find out more at www.roycemorschool.org/eisner. Contact Director of Admissions, Amanda Avery, at aavery@roycemoreschool.org for questions.

  • October 31, 2020 8:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Illinois State Board of Education Budget Hearing

    The Illinois Association for Gifted Children submitted testimony in October to the Illinois State Board of Education requesting funding for gifted education in the amount of $27 million. CGCC and IAGC board member and IAGC Policy and Advocacy Committee Co-Chair, Pamela Shaw, spoke on behalf of the IAGC at the October 14, 2020 ISBE virtual budget hearing. The state of Illinois has had no funding for gifted education since 2003, leaving too many students, especially those who are Black, Latinx, and economically disadvantaged without opportunities to develop their talents. The requested amount is based on the budget for gifted education in 2003, adjusted for inflation. 

    IAGC has also requested the creation of a full-time dedicated position at ISBE to oversee gifted education. Duties would include ensuring compliance with the Accelerated Placement Act and Report Card Act and related data-reporting requirements and providing support to schools and families regarding acceleration, gifted services, and teacher training. This professional would also facilitate meetings of the Advisory Council on the Education of Gifted and Talented Children and assist their collaboration with the State Advisory Council on the Education of Children with Disabilities to support evidence-based practices to meet the needs of twice-exceptional children, which would finally fulfill the intent of the twice-exceptional section of the school code enacted in 2010.

    Office of Civil Rights Data

    On October 15, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights released data collected for the 2017-2018 school year. According to Dr. Scott J. Peters of the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, the data shows that out of 4,145 Illinois schools, only 787 report having students in gifted/talented programs, which represents a meager 19% of all schools. Clearly there is much work to be done in our state to ensure equal access for our high-potential learners.

    If you would like to view the data for your local school, visit the Civil Rights Data Collection website. School-level data can be found under “School and District Search.” Enter school information under Basic Search to select a school to review. Gifted/talented enrollment can be found in the data listed under “Pathways to College and Career Readiness.”

    Upcoming Meeting

    All IAGC members and others interested in furthering the needs of gifted education in Illinois are encouraged to attend the Policy and Advocacy Committee's next online meeting on November 7 from 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM. Please register so we can anticipate your attendance and send a link to participants a few days before the Committee Meeting.

  • October 26, 2020 5:16 PM | Newenka DuMont (Administrator)

    Finding books for a young gifted child is often a problem parents are faced with and one which the Illinois Association for Gifted Children has attacked head on with this month's Question of the Month:  What tricks or treats would help me support my child who is an advanced reader? 

    https://www.iagcgifted.org/page-18296

    The IAGC is the only organization fighting for gifted kids in Illinois' public schools. Consider supporting them

  • September 27, 2020 4:34 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    This popular fall event will take place throughout the month of October this year. 

    Celebrate STEM all October long with STEM Fest 2020 – delivered online with a mix of in-person events at NIU Naperville, NIU Hoffman Estates and NIU Rockford, and a live virtual celebration on Halloween. There will be something for everyone, kids through adults, experts and educators, to STEMulate curiosity and help you find your spark!

    The events include:

    STEM Fest 2020 ends with a live virtual celebration on October 31, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., hosted in partnership with NIU’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

    This final event takes place in an assortment of online rooms, which you can visit throughout the day for live interactive talks and demonstrations.

    Chat with presenters and experts about fun STEAM topics.

    Explore virtual exhibits created by NIU STEM departments, student groups and our STEM community partners.

    Participate in STEM challenges.

    See the NIU STEMFest web site for the complete schedule of events.
  • September 22, 2020 10:45 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    The Poetry Foundation building is closed, but they have a wide variety of online programming. See their web site for complete details on their Teen Poetry Lab.

    All are invited to a weekly exploration of poetry, and what it can do and be in the world. Participants will read and discuss a wide range of contemporary poems, including works of textual art and performance.

    Grades 6–8 Session
    Mondays, September 28, October 5, October 12, October 19
    5:00 PM–6:00 PM CDT

    Grades 9–12 Session
    Thursdays, September 24, October 1, October 8, October 15
    5:00 PM–6:00 PM CDT

    Sessions are free, but space is limited. Reservations required.

  • September 18, 2020 12:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The following guest blog post is from CGCC professional member, Dr. Michelle Navarro, M.A., Psy.D. of the Long Grove Center...


    Finding Your Passion In A Pandemic

    I often remind myself that obstacles in life are gifts of opportunity for learning and developing and enhancing one’s skill. No other time in my life has this been more crucial. As a psychologist during a pandemic, the “collective trauma” we all have experienced and continue to experience is nothing I have ever been trained for or seen in my over 27 years of practice. Yet, the creativity, kindness, and resilience I have seen in people has sparked a renewed sense of why I do what I do.

    This passion or love that I have for my work is something I am often asked how to find. Parents fear their child does not know what they want to do at 20 years of age or their young child does not have a hobby or interest in any one thing. But passion is not always static; for most of us it is changing over time. Passion is sparked off of life experience, some good, some traumatic, and exposure and boredom. Boredom? Yes, boredom. Something many of us have been missing until recently. True downtime with no structured activity allows the brain to try to fill the time with imagination, original ideas and building new pathways to solve our current dilemma of lack of connectivity and loss of control. 

    Be kind to yourself, allow for openness and flexibility, and always be willing to try and fail. Sometimes a passion is just the process of being curious about life.

    Remember that feeling safe to try and fail is an indispensable gift for children and adults and is the pathway to self-confidence and leadership. Allow struggle, risk, failure, and self-adjustment and you will also welcome accomplishment and growth.

    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain."

    -Unknown

  • September 09, 2020 2:13 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    The following guest blog post is from CGCC professional member, Roycemore School . . .


    Roycemore School, an independent Pre-K through 12th grade institution in Evanston, IL encourages students to think outside the box and always execute with a growth mindset. Design thinking is a way of life at Roycemore and our values are ingrained in the school’s culture, both on campus and online.

    Roycemore Online was launched this summer as a way to give families more options during this time. Families can choose our traditional on-campus learning environment, or our fully remote Roycemore Online program. What many people don’t realize is that there is a 3rd option for families who are happy with their current school plan, but still looking for something more. The Roycemore Online program includes a Part-Time option that allows non-Roycemore students to enroll in one-off High School classes where they can earn additional academic credit beyond their existing curriculum.

    Roycemore Online offers over 40+ online classes with choices that range from Science to English, Math to Social Studies, and three World Language Options: French, Spanish, and Mandarin. Entry level classes are part of the offerings, as well as numerous AP Level courses. Non-Roycemore students can take up to 2 classes through Roycemore Online’s Part-Time offerings, all of which are taught by Roycemore faculty who value the experience of helping students grow academically, personally, and socially, regardless of the learning plan they are enrolled in. Gifted students can choose classes that align with their interests and enhance their strengths.

    Roycemore Online's part time classes are a great option for ambitious students who want to do more with their academics this school year. It can also help homeschool families align with a trusted and accredited independent school. If you know a student who is looking for challenging and thought provoking classes, but wants to stay enrolled at their current school, Roycemore Online could be the perfect program to meet their needs.

    Enrolling now, all Roycemore Online students must start by September 25th.

    Check out more at www.roycemoreschool.org/roycemore-online/

  • August 12, 2020 7:53 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy's (IMSA) STEM enrichment programs are virtual this fall. 

    STEM League? STEM Club? Saturday STEM? We have something for everyone! These distance-learning programs are open to students throughout Illinois and beyond. Registration opens August 12 at 1 p.m., CST. Space in all programs is limited to ensure a robust experience for participants.

    STEM League - mostly asynchronous courses for grades 7-10 or 8-11.  For program descriptions, schedule, and to register Visit

    STEM Club - synchronous, hands-on STEM in the afternoon for grades 4-8. For program descriptions, schedule, and to register Visit

    Saturday STEM - 90 minute explorations to start your weekend out right! For grades 3-8! For program descriptions, schedule, or to register Visit

    A limited amount of financial-need-based scholarships available - apply through the Scholarship registration session. Your application will not be reviewed until you provide a proof of income.

  • August 02, 2020 9:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In 2021, Chicago Public Schools will open a twelfth Regional Gifted Center (RGC,) the first on the predominately Black West side. The Morton School of Excellence will develop the program in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.

    The 11 existing RGC programs are located throughout the city, but there was a gap in gifted programs on the city’s West Side, a primarily Black area of the city. Now students will have an option to attend an RGC closer to their neighborhood.

    Black and Latinx students are underrepresented in gifted programming. The Education Trust published a report in January that described these disparities and made suggestions for improving access to gifted and talented programming for Black and Latinx students.

    The school will have a one year incubation period during which it will develop its program. This fall families will be able to apply to the program through Go CPS.

    Read more about the school and the campaign to start it on Block Club Chicago.


  • August 01, 2020 7:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From what I have observed, it appears that schools spent much of the summer preparing for face-to-face or hybrid instruction, focusing on issues surrounding the physical safety of students and staff. However, with the uptick of the spread of COVID-19 around the country and slowly increasing numbers in Chicagoland, many schools have made last-minute decisions to return to all-virtual instruction. Our schools will have to quickly come up with plans for virtual learning that will last for several months, if not more.

    I am not new to online instruction, as I am beginning my ninth year as a Music Appreciation instructor at Illinois Virtual School (IVS), a public, nonprofit, supplemental course provider that offers courses to private, public, and home schools across Illinois. I also facilitate professional development courses for Quality Matters (QM), an international organization focused on providing quality online learning experiences. There has been great demand this summer for professional development courses, and I have been busy running workshops about the QM K-12 standards, teaching online, and designing online courses.

    It used to be that I would get quizzical looks when I told people that I taught online, but things changed this spring. However, what we all experienced last spring was emergency online instruction. There are many misconceptions out there about virtual instruction, and schools may not realize how much support will be necessary for teachers to be truly successful teaching online. I think it's a matter of "they don't know what they don't know." People honestly don't realize that online instruction is a very different kind of pedagogy with its own set of best practices. Hopefully, schools will see the need to provide specialized training, but until then, we may need to give teachers a bit of patience and grace as they move into a more long-term virtual space.

    If you are interested in learning more about virtual instruction from those who are specialists in the field, these are the best, most reputable resources that I am aware of:

    Quality Matters and the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance are some of the major organizations in the field of K-12 online education.

    There is also a set of National Standards for Quality Online Learning, a cooperative effort between QM and VLLA, which replace the old iNACOL standards.

    Illinois Virtual School  offers self-paced courses about online and blended learning for a reasonable price. The Northwestern Center for Talent Development has been offering a series of webinars through the Illinois Association for Gifted Children and the Illinois Principals Association regarding online instruction for advanced learners. Northwestern CTD will also consult with schools.

    You might even consider passing along these sources of information, professional development, and training to the teachers and administrators in your life.

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About cgcc

The Chicago Gifted Community Center (CGCC) is a member-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by parents to support the intellectual and emotional growth of gifted children and their families. 

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We  are an all volunteer-based organization that relies on annual memberships from parents, professionals, and supporters to provide organizers with web site operations, a registration system, event insurance, background checks, etc. 

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