The Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented (AAGT) is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization of parents, educators, and community members working together to advocate for education that meets the academic prerequisites of gifted children and to better meet the unique needs of our gifted and talented students in Arizona.
AAGT is a state affiliate of the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC).
AAGT is a resource for the information and guidance necessary for parents, teachers, administrators, counselors, community stakeholders and legislators to develop and support gifted education in our state. All of us share in the challenge to meet the needs of Arizona’s gifted children with limited funds for their education and development.
AAGT provides an annual conference for parents, educators and community members as well as an annual Parent Institute. In addition, AAGT offers scholarships for teachers of the gifted and scholarships for educational opportunities for gifted students. AAGT provides continuous support to local affiliate chapters.
Information on these opportunities can be found on the website.
Advocacy and Legislative Update
For the first time in nearly a decade, gifted education is funded in the budget! As you know, districts and charters are required by law to meet the needs of their gifted students. During the great recession, the funding for this mandate was eliminated.
The budget now includes a one-time appropriation of $1 million for gifted programs, teacher training, and identification. While this is certainly not full-funding (fully funding the mandate would cost around $4 million), it is an important and necessary first step. AAGT will be spending the coming year advocating for the best use of these funds and demonstrating to the legislature the value in funding gifted education. This also means that we will be back next year asking for more funding, sharing our stories, and educating the legislature on why gifted students deserve to have their needs met.
We owe you, our membership, a big thank you! Without you writing your legislators, calling their offices, and appearing in committee to talk about these bills, this would not have happened. This legislative session, I heard powerful testimony from our membership. I heard from parents who had been to a half-dozen schools trying to get their needs met. I heard a heartbreaking story of a gifted child who was so isolated and misunderstood at school that he was suffering emotional problems. I heard from teachers who, already stretched thin, used their prep and lunch periods to do gifted enrichment for their students. I heard from administrators who recognized the need for these programs, but simply didn’t have the funds to make it happen. So thank you! YOU did this and YOU made this happen!
One last action alert: If you have a moment please thank our bill sponsors, Sen. Brophy McGee, Rep. Heather Carter, and co-sponsor Sen. Bowie, for their leadership on this issue.
THANK YOU for all that you have done for gifted students this legislative session.