Blanch Raper Zimmerman Grant to Attend Confratute

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Blanch Raper Zimmerman Grant to Attend Confratute

  1. 1. 1035 Van Hoy Avenue Winston-Salem, NC 27104 (336) 986-3433Kay DillonThe Winston-Salem Foundation860 West Fifth StreetWinston-Salem, NC 27101Dear Kay Dillon, I hope that the Blanche Raper Zimmerman Scholarship will fund my attendance to this year’sConfratute. Confratute is a two-week conference and institute held annually at the University of Connecticut. Ithas gained recognition as one of the top programs in gifted education. It focuses on ways to enrich theeducational experiences of all students by improving higher-order thinking skills. In recent years, there has been much attention on students who are being left behind their peers. Iargue that more attention should be focused on those students who are intellectual and creative leaders. Theyare the children who will shape tomorrow. They are the children who will become role-models for futurestudents. When they are engaged in learning, they light up, and it is contagious. I foster that passion instudents so that it may spread like wildfire. Minorities are grossly underrepresented in gifted education programs. In fact, while minority studentsmake up more than half of the school-age population in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, they onlyaccount for about one-tenth of the Academically/Intellectually Gifted (AIG) population in our schools. There aremany college scholarships and jobs available to qualified students, but we seem unable to supply the quality ofstudents to fill that demand. We must start encouraging academic leadership at the elementary level. I teach at Ashley I.B. Magnet School, an at-risk elementary school. We have implemented theInternational Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (I.B. PYP) to enrich the education of our students. Ihave spent five years creating and applying a curriculum that goes beyond knowing about the flags and festivalsof other countries. I want my students to participate in a program of inquiry studying the beliefs andunderstanding of the world from various cultural perspectives. When the school opened, our students lacked much of the background that was necessary for thisprogram. Thankfully, over time, students are beginning to become more knowledgeable about the world aroundthem. However, they still struggle with global concepts. I believe that what these students need are higher-order thinking skills and enrichment activities that Confratute has built its reputation on. My students are fortunate to participate in the I.B. program. It has exposed them to world customs,languages, and belief systems that they might not have learned about otherwise. They get a good inter-nationaleducation. What they need is inter-cultural education, and the culture they need exposure to is the culture ofhigher education and higher order thinking. I fear that if my students do not value continuing education beyond
  2. 2. high-school, they will waste their potential. Unfortunately, many of my third-graders do not see themselvesgraduating high school and cannot envision themselves as professional adults. Most have parents who did notcomplete school, and cannot imagine doing more themselves. Confratute will help me instill in my students avision of themselves as achievers who will continue to learn throughout their lives. Test scores and teacher anecdotes indicate that the students at Ashley are absorbing more informationthan before. They know many facts. What they need to compete in an international marketplace are the skillsand traits often attributed to gifted children, such as analysis and synthesis. They need to decide whatinformation is important and connect it in ways to be most useful. Confratute specializes in teaching educatorshow to work with gifted children. I believe these skills and strategies can (and should) be shared with alllearners. The I.B. program has brought out traits such as inquiry and reflectiveness, which reveal how muchhuman potential these students have that is not currently recognized or nurtured. Confratute is a gathering forsome of the top minds in gifted education. I would like to meet researchers and theorists, as well as othereducators, and ask them how they recommend helping my students become familiar and accepting of theculture of higher education. Only by feeling successful in school and valuing life-long learning will my studentstruly be able to continue intercultural education after they leave Ashley school.Costs of ConfratuteRegistration (including housing and meals): $1,900Graduate Credit: $2,729Airfare: $265Airport Shuttle: $60Total: $4,954 Thank you for your consideration, Gabriella Ducamp

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