The following is a blog post from professional member Midwest Academy for Gifted Education. You can see this post and others on the MAGE website.
This article is brought to you by MAGE - non-profit, private gifted option in City of Chicago.
Families of gifted students in the Chicago Public School District, and those in nearby areas should be aware of the just announced CPS-run Engagement Forum regarding the Accelerated Placement Act in less than 2 weeks time. Here are some key events around that time:
CPS sends out their first round of offer letters for the 2019-20 year for selective enrollment and options programs electronically to the CPS application portal on Monday, April 22, 2019.
CPS Forum Tuesday, April 23, 2019 6:00PM - 7:30 PM Colman Office, 4655 S. Dearborn Street
CPS Forum Thursday, April 25, 2019 6:00PM - 7:30 PM Lincoln Park High School, 2001 North Orchard Street
IAGC Policy Meeting, Saturday, May 4, 2019, 10:00AM-12:00PM IMSA
The only information about these forums publicly available currently is here. In 2017, a new law was passed in the State of Illinois that set the framework for the support needed for some gifted students. The law is called the Accelerated Placement Act and you can view the actual full text of the law here. The law was passed with a 1 year grace period, to go into effect on July 1, 2018. The state issued a guidance - a reminder - to districts to remind them of this new law, albeit, an unfunded mandate. Many districts jumped into action, creating policy to comply with the new law. CPS is the largest district in IL and the 3rd largest in the country. Their reaction to the law is a big deal. What did they do?
First, some key bits of the law from the above link:
“For purposes of this Article, "accelerated placement" means the placement of a child in an educational setting with curriculum that is usually reserved for children who are older or in higher grades than the child. "Accelerated placement" under this Article or other school district-adopted policies shall include, but need not be limited to, the following types of acceleration: early entrance to kindergarten or first grade, accelerating a child in a single subject, and grade acceleration.” (Illinois General Assembly Public Act 100-0421)
The rest of the act goes through important detail around notification of program availability, identification, and wording that could potentially be interpreted as the foundation for a Gifted IEP in the state.
Chicago Public Schools, CPS, in a meeting on August 22, chose to defer the adoption of this act, and the deferral decision can be read here. Only 3 people came to speak for the immediate adoption of the Accelerated Placement Act in CPS in that August 22nd meeting, which was well covered by Chalkbeat, and you can read about it here. After 3/4 of a year with news from CPS, these new forums are finally scheduled. They come at an auspicious time - CPS Selective Enrollment School results come out for Kindergarten through eighth grade on the 22nd of April, the day before the meeting. Therefore, it is unclear if there will be change, what year the change will take effect, and how it will impact the decisions made for the coming year. It is important to show CPS that you care about gifted education in the city, and that you show up. Unless people step up and show up, CPS will continue to defer the adoption of this act. You can read our coverage of the Accelerated Placement Act Part 1 here.
What can you do beyond just these forums? You can go to learn more at CGCC and IAGC, our two local gifted organizations, that periodically have policy-related events. You can even join the IAGC Policy Committee that works with Illinois Board of Education to create new policy for the gifted. That committee’s next quarterly meeting is Saturday, May 4th at IMSA, at 10AM, so mark your calendar.
Not in Chicago? Your district is watching. The state is watching. The country is watching. If you care about gifted education, you should come and participate in those forums because your support is paramount in improving the gifted education in Chicago and everywhere that will use it as a case example.
Stay tuned for part 3 in a few weeks. We hope that update brings good news for the city’s gifted.
About Midwest Academy for Gifted Education (MAGE): We are a not for profit, private gifted school focused on building community for gifted families in Chicago. If we don’t speak up for the City’s gifted, who will? Our next Admissions Coffee is on April 27th at 9AM and is a chance to connect to other gifted families in the city.