Lake Superior Elementary School Gifted and Talented coordinator Elizabeth “Betty” Erickson was recently named as a 2016 Javits-Frasier Scholar by the National Association for Gifted Children.
“I am grateful and honored to be one of 13 educators in the country to be chosen to be a Javits-Fraiser Scholar,” said Erickson. “This is an amazing opportunity to collaborate and learn with educators and mentors so that I can become a better educator for the students that I serve.”
According to a recent release, the Javits-Frasier Scholars Program recognizes passionate, innovative educators who work in districts that serve students from low-income and minority populations that are historically underrepresented in gifted education.
“High-achieving children in poverty and from minority groups are two and half times less likely to be identified for, and served in gifted programs at school,” said NAGC Executive Director M. René Islas in the release. “Educators like Elizabeth are leaders and a voice for these gifted and talented children who have unique learning needs.”
“When I saw the email, I thought it would be to thank me for applying, but then I read ‘Congratulations,’ and I was so excited,” said Erickson.
Erickson and the other Javits-Frasier Scholars will have the opportunity to network with, and learn from, other teachers and leaders in gifted education at the NAGC 63rd Annual Convention at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 3- 6.
“NAGC is committed to providing opportunities and resources to better understand and serve gifted children,” said Islas in the release. “The Javits-Frasier program is an investment in professional learning for educators across our nation.”
Erickson said she is a member of the NAGC.
“One day last spring I was looking on their website for resources and came across the application for the Javits-Fraiser Scholar program,” Erickson said. “I met all of the selection criteria, so I thought, why not go for it.”
According to Erickson, the criteria included the following: applicant must work in a Title I School, applicant has not previously attended an NAGC Convention, applicant may receive this award only once and applicant must be new (1-2 years of experience) to teaching and/or new to gifted/talented education.
“I also had to have two colleagues write a letter of recommendation,” said Erickson. “I had to write a personal statement about my interest in the program and my passion for working with culturally diverse students.”
Erickson has been a teacher for 23 years, as this is her third year working for the Ashland District. Prior to that, she spent 20 years teaching third through fifth grades for the Maple School District.
As the district’s Gifted and Talented Coordinator, Erickson works with small grade level groups of students in grades K-8.
“I am involved in the process of writing differentiated education plans for students needing those,” Erickson said. “I am working toward providing teachers with resources and activities they can use in their classrooms.”
She also helps run/organize the following: Leadership Workshops, School Spelling Bee, Battle of the Books and CESA 12 Writing Project.
Erickson talked about what her being chosen as a 2016 Javits-Fraiser Scholar means for the school
“The purpose of this program is to increase culturally and linguistically diverse students’ access to talent development opportunities through educator training and support related to equity and excellence in gifted education,” she said. “I am working toward being a catalyst for change so that can happen in this district. I love doing things that are good for students and this will give me the opportunity to do that. I will be working with a mentor, Steven Haas, who will guide my learning at the conference and beyond.”