The intention of Project North Star, a three year Jacob K. Javits federal research grant awarded in 2015 to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), is to elevate culturally responsive identification and services that provide for underserved gifted rural populations by implementing a three-pronged approach:
1) Preparing district teachers with a knowledge of giftedness and talent, including the unique academic and social-emotional needs of underserved gifted populations, and providing instruction on curriculum adaptation and instructional differentiation.
2) Preparing school leaders with a knowledge of giftedness and talent; the unique academic and social-emotional needs of underserved gifted populations; service design, development, implementation, and evaluation; working with families and communities; the specifics of services for twice exceptionality, American Indian, culturally/linguistically diverse, and poor students, with a specialized focus on instructional leadership and what it takes to establish and maintain a defensible identification system and program of services.
3) Providing resources and support for rural parents, other significant adults, tribal leaders, and communities to advocate for their gifted and underserved children, supplement what school programs provide at home, and learn more about the capabilities and potential of their children.
Professional learning materials developed for this project reinforce the importance of cultural competence for educators and administrators so that they have knowledge of the attitudes, background, and beliefs of cultures other than their own through the use of culturally responsive instructional practices, leadership skills and resources.
For additional information about this grant and materials created for it contact Wendy Behrens.
Project North Star Professional Learning Modules
Professional learning modules for educators and administrators are available at no cost. To access the modules register as a student at https://mndepted.instructure.com/register Courses include:
1) Supporting Gifted and Talented Students: This course offers four professional learning modules focusing on the pedagogical underpinnings of gifted education and practical instructional strategies that support gifted and talented learners from rural locations and diverse populations including: Who are the Gifted Underserved in Rural Areas and What Do They Need?, Instructional Strategies That Support Gifted and Talented Learners, Addressing the Academic and Affective Needs of High Ability Learners in Rural School Settings, and Instructional Strategies, Part 2. Use the following join code: FF76T7
2) Introduction to Gifted and Talented for Administrators: This professional development offers two professional learning modules focusing on intentional school leadership with gifted and talented learners from rural locations and diverse populations. Use the following join code: 4N77XY