Resources for Parents

  • Growth Mindset for Gifted Students:

    Deanna Butherus and Joe Joyner, GT Specialists:



    Why you need to fail - Derek Sivers (15 min)

    Parent with GT student

    All children need to be loved, nurtured, kept safe, given attention and affection, and taught how to interact with other people. Gifted and talented children are no exception.  As parents, it is our privilege and responsibility to do our best to provide these things for our children. It is particularly important to remember to always see your child as a child first and gifted and talented second. 


  • District Six uses a variety of curricula to meet the needs of high-performing students. Some of these are as follows:

    William and Mary Language Arts Curriculum for High Ability Learners

    The goals of the Wiliam and Mary Language Arts units are to develop students' skills in literary analysis and interpretation, persuasive writing, linguistic competency, and oral communication, as well as to strengthen students' reasoning skills and understanding of the concept of change. The units engage students in exploring carefully selected, challenging works of literature from various times, cultures, and genres, and they encourage students to reflect on their readings through writing and discussion. The units also provide numerous opportunities for students to explore interdisciplinary connections to the language arts and to conduct research around issues relevant to their own lives. A guide to using the curriculum is also available. 

    Jacob's Ladder

    Sometimes used as a supplement to the William & Mary language arts units for young students, and sometimes used stand-alone, Jacob's Ladder targets reading comprehension skills for high-ability learners. In the form of three skill ladders connected to individual readings in poetry, myths/fables, and nonfiction, students move from lower order, concrete thinking skills to higher order, critical thinking skills. For example, Ladder A moves students from Sequencing to Cause and Effect to Consequences and Implications. 

Key to Reversing Underachievement

  • Underachievement is defined as a discrepancy between a child's school performance and some ability index such as an IQ score. It is a learned behavior that can be reversed over time. 

    Strategies for reversing underachievement: 

    • Underachievement is a complex web of behaviors that can be reversed by educators and parents who focus on the many strengths and talents of these students. 
    • Labeling a child as an "underachiever" disregards any positive outcomes or behaviors. It is better to label the behavior than the child. 
      • For example: "You have chosen not to turn in your homework" rather than "You are a poor student."
    • Underachievement is tied to self-concept. Children who learn to see themselves in terms of failure eventually will lose their motivation to learn. For learning to continue, students must believe hard work is required and hard work will result in success. 
    • Establish values of honesty, trust, and truth with the child. Your role is to help underachievers reach their goals, not to punish or reward. 
    • Interventions should focus on the underachieving behaviors. Underachieving students need encouragement with emphases on effort. 
    • Help the child make concrete plans to solve the achievement problem. Ask him/her to develop a long-term goal with corresponding short-term goals. Do not supply solutions of your own as that only creates learned helplessness. 
    • Redefine success and failure. Success is following your plan attaining short-term goals. Failure is represented as a learning experience with the focus of attention on learning, not punishment or guilt. 
    • Analyze specific decisions that led to success or failure. Establish clear linkage of today's excuse with tomorrow's outcome. Help the underachiever to see how he/she defeats what he/she values. 
    • Celebrate successful attainment of short-term goals and build on success.