For some of our younger students, Grayson will be their first experience with formal schooling; other students, however, may be transitioning to Grayson from other educational settings at various points in their school career. Both situations involve students potentially being academically challenged in ways they have not experienced before. For some students, this transition may be seamless; others will need more support. One way that we hope to ease this transition is the incorporation of social-emotional supports, in collaboration with families and through student IGPs.
The ongoing professional development of our faculty also strongly emphasizes social-emotional issues common in gifted learners. For example, members of our faculty, staff, and administration attend conferences such as the Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted annual conference (SENG) to gather more information and the latest research on the many ways in which gifted learners’ nonacademic needs can be met; attendees share what they have learned with the rest of our team upon their return. In fact, at the 2015 SENG conference, Grayson’s Melissa Bilash, Carrie Waldron-Brown, and Jill Williford Wurman presented a session called, “All Social-Emotional, All Day,” about the social-emotional issues characteristic of high-ability learners, how they show up in the classroom, and what we can do to manage them in a positive and supportive way.
Grayson’s Research Advisory Board (GRAB) is another invaluable resource for our school in our pursuit of educating the whole gifted child. Comprised of renowned thought leaders in a wide array of issues in gifted education, GRAB is an extraordinary resource for advice, insights, and research to support our work with high-ability students. We are extremely fortunate to have these experts available to us so that we may continually develop and deepen our understanding of the social-emotional development of the students we serve.