When I was in third grade, I loved math. I’d race through logic puzzles and math worksheets because it was a matter of pride to beat the boys. That kind of blatant, in-your-face, “I’m smart and it’s okay” attitude is not so common these days. In fact, it’s pretty rare – especially in girls.
What I had that other third-grade girls didn’t, was a place where I could be smart without the pressure to fit in. Where it was cool to raise your hand in class, or win every round of Brainquest (remember those?).
I had Seabury, a non-profit independent school for gifted children in Tacoma, Wash. I graduated from Seabury School in eighth grade, and went on to public high school, the University of Washington and a stint as a journalist in Moscow, Idaho. But last fall I decided to throw my life plans to the wind and move back to Tacoma to work at my old elementary school.
Why? Because I love this place. I am passionate about what we do here – providing a safe place for academically gifted students to learn and explore without having to fear being misunderstood, under whelmed or left out. I’m in charge of new and traditional media relations, and I love what I do. As a journalist, I always said I could only become a flak if it was for an organization or a cause that I was truly passionate about. Well this is it.
I run our school’s Twitter and Facebook pages, along with a personal Twitter I use for networking in Tacoma and the South Sound. I am our resident blog guru and help teachers design, tweak and update classroom blogs. I have several personal blogs as well, but everything I do comes back to wanting to spread the word far and wide so we can find every kid who needs us.
It’s not so cheap to run a school – teachers are paid for through tuition, but tuition also pays for a huge amount of financial aid. Need and aid are increasing every year, and lately it’s hard to find an extra dime to spend. That’s why social media has been so valuable for us. Suddenly there’s a way to network with other gifted educators and advocates for free every Friday (through #gtchat), sharing resources and tricks of the trade. There’s definitely not money in our budget for another conference this year, but I can’t stop thinking about all the new tools and tricks that’ll be ripe for the learning.
Send me Tungle, you’re my only hope. And really, who else can promise you an envelope of adorable thank-you letters from a school of adorable gifted children?
(This post was written in the hopes of securing a Gnomedex pass via Tungle.me)