Important News about the TAGT Awareness Certificate

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The TAGT mission is to connect and empower educators and parents to meet the unique needs of gifted learners. Our vision is to do this by providing relevant and innovative programs and services through an engaged, diverse membership. These core principals have guided our recent strategic plan, and as a result we are reviewing all of our programs to ensure they are relevant, innovative and serving our diverse membership in the best way possible.

Following three years of study by two different groups – a standing committee and a special task force appointed by the TAGT Board of Directors – data and feedback has revealed that the TAGT Awareness Certificate program is no longer a key association activity that is widely utilized by TAGT members. As a result of this process, TAGT is phasing out the TAGT Awareness Certificate program in the coming months.

During this review, we have also learned that there are some elements of the Awareness Certificate program process that may have great relevance and value to members. As part of our current strategic initiative efforts, we will examine specific elements more closely to determine how they may stand apart from the Awareness Certificate program. Our direction going forward will come from stakeholder involvement in the process – from you. 

Please continue reading for answers to frequently asked questions: 



What is the TAGT Awareness Certificate?

For more than 20 years, TAGT has offered the Awareness Certificate as a supplemental form of recognition for educators that commit to additional hours of professional development above the minimum required by the state for Gifted & Talented education. 

Individuals who complete 45 clock hours of TAGT-approved professional development activities, with at least six clock hours in each of the five TAGT core competencies, may submit an application with required documentation to TAGT to receive a certificate. The TAGT Awareness Certificate includes 30 clock hours in the five core areas, plus 15 clock hours which may be completed in any of the core areas or in specific subject area training, totaling 45 clock hours. Over the years, and especially in the early days of G/T education, the Awareness Certificate was a necessary tool for TAGT to promote best practices and outstanding achievement in G/T professional development.

Traditionally, these hours have been acquired at TAGT conferences/trainings, through TAGT On Demand or through education service centers. Additionally, any third-party person or organization outside of TAGT offering quality professional development activities for teachers of gifted and talented students may apply to offer up to 45 clock hours of credit toward the TAGT Awareness Certificate by completing an application with TAGT. Many universities, districts, individuals, and companies offer TAGT-approved trainings for Awareness Certificate credit.

Texas law only requires teachers to receive 30 hours of training in gifted education to be eligible to teach gifted students; in addition, teachers must receive six hours of continuing education annually to maintain eligibility. Historically, the TAGT Awareness Certificate provided recognition for educators choosing to go above and beyond. 

It is, and has always been, entirely the decision of local school districts to determine what is accepted as G/T training. With that said, many school districts do look to the TAGT-approval process as a mark of quality training, and often accept training that has been approved by TAGT for the Awareness Certificate to meet local requirements.

The TAGT Awareness Certificate requires a minimum of six hours of training in each of the five core areas established and promoted by TAGT:
  • Nature and Needs of Gifted Students
  • Identification and Assessment
  • Social and Emotional Needs
  • Creativity and Instructional Strategies
  • Differentiated Curriculum
Professional development training that is approved by TAGT for Awareness Certificate credit satisfies the following criteria:
  • Topics must be related to gifted students specifically, not to all students
  • Content appears to provide gifted students with more complex, in-depth learning
  • Methods or procedures introduced must be authentic
  • Research supports any models or theories introduced
  • Training must address one or more of the five core areas noted in the teacher competencies
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What is the difference between required Professional Development hours, G/T certification and TAGT approval?

There are major distinctions we feel are important to clarify regarding the significant differences between professional development hours, formal G/T certification and TAGT approval. 

Required Professional Development Hours: To be eligible to work with gifted students in Texas public schools, Texas law requires teachers to receive 30 clock hours of training in gifted education to be eligible to teach gifted students; in addition, these teachers must receive 6 hours of training yearly to maintain that eligibility. The decision as to what training may count for these initial 30 hours and the 6 hours yearly is left entirely to the discretion of the educator’s school district. However, many school districts do look to the TAGT-approval process as a mark of quality training, and often accept training that has been approved by TAGT for the Awareness Certificate to meet local requirements.

G/T Certification: Actual G/T certification involves teachers taking and passing the TExES test in the field of gifted education offered through State Board for Educator Certification/Texas Education Agency; this subtest is optional and not required under state law or rule, although a local district could require such certification. For more information about this test and certification, click here.

TAGT Role: There is technically no such thing as “TAGT certified” when it comes to gifted educator training; TAGT is not a certifying or regulatory agency. TAGT approval of G/T training by third-parties is solely for the purpose of acceptance in the TAGT Awareness Certificate program. TAGT approval of training is to ensure the content meets our own internal standards for acceptance with the Awareness Certificate, which is being phased out as a key TAGT activity.

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How did TAGT arrive at the decision to phase out the Awareness Certificate?

TAGT has been very deliberate in evaluating this program, first under the purview of one of our standing committees, the TAGT Education Committee. After in-depth study, the TAGT Education Committee made a recommendation to our Board of Directors that the Board should appoint a special task force to take a closer look at the Awareness Certificate. Based on their initial findings, the Education Committee believed a broader representation of TAGT membership should be involved in the review.

The Board of Directors then appointed a special task force made up of a diverse group of members to study the Awareness Certificate more closely. The Board charged the task force with examining the efficacy and organization of the Awareness Certificate and determining if the program was meeting current needs.

The task force concluded that the Awareness Certificate, as it currently exists, is no longer a necessary TAGT effort. The task force recommended that TAGT resources would be better utilized in other areas to support quality professional development.

However, in the course of the review process, the task force also discovered that some elements developed over time as a result of the Awareness Certificate - specifically TAGT vetting of outside trainings and the TAGT core area framework - could have lasting value for our members. We are now beginning the process of further stakeholder engagement to examine those specific elements and how they might be reconfigured to provide even greater value to our members.

Simultaneously, the TAGT Board of Directors has implemented a strategic plan that went into effect in February of 2016 that charges the board and staff to conduct a thorough analysis of all key TAGT activities. As part of the plan, these elements of the Awareness Certificate are under analysis.

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What is the plan for phasing out the Awareness Certificate?

In order to ensure a smooth transition, TAGT will discontinue awarding the Awareness Certificate in its current form as of December 31, 2016.

Simultaneously, we will use this transition period to determine which specific elements of the Awareness Certificate can continue to add value for our members. For example, some stakeholders rely on TAGT to verify third-party training in G/T education professional development and we will study the efficacy of that service.

Additionally, our association has established TAGT Core Areas for G/T training that are based on state standards, but are more expansive. We recognize that the TAGT Core Areas provide a framework for many G/T programs across Texas.

We will engage stakeholders to explore specific elements such as the core areas and verification of third-party programs more in-depth in order to determine their efficacy.

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What is the stakeholder engagement process for determining what’s next and how can I be part of it?

As of January 1, 2017, TAGT will no longer offer a TAGT Awareness Certificate. TAGT’s role in verifying third-party professional development programs will need to change based on stakeholder input. 

We will use a formal process of gathering input from our stakeholders in a combination of focus groups, individual interviews and surveys. We invite you to have a role in this process. If you wish to participate in any way, please complete this form.

Please be assured that TAGT will still provide and promote TAGT Core Areas, but in the review process these may be adjusted or modified as necessary, based on stakeholder input.

No matter what, we remain committed to being a leader in the field of G/T education when it comes to best practices, professional development, and being a partner to school districts, education service centers, and others that we serve.

As always, we will do everything we can to be a resource to you.

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What do these changes mean for me?

If you are currently working on your TAGT Awareness Certificate requirements:
Any TAGT member who is currently in the process of completing the requirements for the Awareness Certificate has until December 31, 2016 to complete their training hours and submit an application for the Awareness Certificate. As of January 1, 2017, we will no longer be awarding Awareness Certificates. Click here to learn more.

If you currently hold an Awareness Certificate from TAGT:
There will always be enormous value in your Awareness Certificate because it means you have demonstrated a commitment to G/T training above the 30-hour minimum. Your dedication to G/T education is respected, appreciated and recognized with the Awareness Certificate you earned.

If you are an administrator or educator and represent a school district and have depended on TAGT vetting of third-party G/T training:
We will be notifying all third-party training programs verified since January 1, 2013, that their current program remains verified by TAGT through December 31, 2016. During this time, you can ask third-party programs for a verification letter from TAGT. However, in all cases, it is always the prerogative of the school district to determine what is acceptable for G/T credit, regardless of TAGT’s approval.
 
For a list of third-party training programs currently verified by TAGT for the Awareness Certificated acceptance, please click here.

TAGT will be seeking stakeholder input to determine the best way to continue to meet school district needs related to determining quality G/T training. To participate in this process, click here.

If you are a third-party provider of G/T training that has been verified by TAGT:
If your program has been verified since January 1, 2013, and your program has made no major changes since that time (speakers and a name update are not considered significant) we will provide you a letter confirming your verification through December 31, 2016. You may request an updated confirmation letter by emailing paulina@txgifted.org.

During this time, we are not accepting any new applications for program verification.

 
TAGT will be seeking stakeholder input to determine the best way to continue to meet school district needs related to determining quality G/T training. To participate in this process, click here.
 
We anticipate being able to share a major update with you in the fall of 2016 about any program requirement changes that are implemented as a result of our review process. Even if we change the program significantly, TAGT approval of courses meeting the guidelines above is good until December 31, 2016. 

For more third-party provider information, click here.

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