Here is a common piece of feedback I receive from folks after leading a workshop:
It’s so nice for our teachers to hear from someone who actually went through a gifted program…
This has always struck me as sort of a strange thing to say. Certainly, you know many people who have gone through a gifted program, right? Especially if you run a gifted program?
Keep In Touch
It makes me wonder, do gifted programs keep in touch with their alumni? If not, consider reaching out to your past students. Interviewing past students would be a phenomenal (and cheap) way to improve your program. Ask them what they loved. What do they remember? What about the teachers stood out? What should you have done differently? You’ll also get to see what your kids have gone on to do.
When I chat with gifted grown ups, the stand out comment is often: I don’t remember too much, but Teacher X changed my life. So many of these folks have one key teacher who made a massive difference in their lives. That would be really valuable feedback to know, right?
But Keep It Simple
Now, this doesn’t mean tracking down 40-year-olds. Just ask your high school students what elementary school was like for them. Ask first-year college students how well their K-12 experiences prepared them. Invite these students back to speak at parent nights or to address teachers.
Your former students are a gold mine of information about the effectiveness of your program. Use them! Many of them would love to talk to you about this topic. Students often self-organize on Facebook or other social media which makes your job even easier.
My pal Lisa has been interviewing gifted kids (of all ages) and the results are often stunning. We should be doing more of this!