What does it mean to be highly capable? As the head of a school for highly capable children, this is a question I often contemplate. In my readings, I recently came across a definition written by Dr. Nancy Robinson, the former director of the Robinson Center for Young Scholars
at the University of Washington. Dr. Robinson’s quote typifies the students we work with at Evergreen:
||“Gifted children are as varied a group of human beings as exists on the face of the earth. They differ among themselves in the domains and levels of their abilities, in their learning approaches and temperaments, in their motivations and efficiency of organization—in every aspect/facet of human behavior. They also differ markedly within themselves —the asynchrony of their development being a hallmark of giftedness. Some are more gifted in math/science, some in more verbal areas; some are more creative and fluid in their thinking, while others are more analytic and "linear," and they may differ in these characteristics from domain to domain. Most are more advanced intellectually than they are physically, with social-emotional development somewhere in between, but there is a great deal of variation in maturity levels from one gifted student to another, even of the same age.”
Our students are indeed unique. Some are budding authors, eager to share with you a new work of fiction. Others are gifted mathematically, ready to challenge each other and themselves with logic and numerical problems. When I watch our upper division students prepare for a math competition, the atmosphere of excitement is similar to what you feel before a middle school basketball game.
One of the best parts about teaching and learning in an environment like Evergreen is that we have created a safe space for students to be who they are. We surround them with highly capable peers and teachers who understand how to engage the verbal child and the introvert, the risk taker and the reserved onlooker.
There are many definitions of giftedness, and this is just one. Yet, this definition captures the wonderful complexity of gifted children that leads us to our mission as a school. Evergreen is a community of which I feel lucky to be a part.