SECTION 1. (a) There shall be a gifted education expert panel to develop recommendations to ensure gifted students in the commonwealth are being educated and developed appropriately within the public education system and are thereby provided the opportunity to reach their full potential and to lead lives as participants in the political and social life of the commonwealth and as contributors to its economy.
The panel shall consist of 9 members: the secretary of education, who shall serve as co-chair, and 8 persons appointed by the secretary, in collaboration with the commissioners of early education and care, elementary and secondary education and higher education, who shall be experts on gifted education; provided, however, that 4 shall be selected from a list provided to the secretary from the chairs of the joint committee on education and the chairs of the joint committee on higher education, and that 1 shall be selected from a list provided to the secretary from the Massachusetts Association for Gifted and Talented Education. Panel members shall each be appointed for a term of 4 years. The panel shall designate a co-chair every new term. No member, with the exception of the secretary, shall serve for more than 2 consecutive terms. The members of the panel shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for expenses necessarily and reasonably incurred in the performance of their duties. Panel members shall not be, by virtue of their membership, state employees under chapter 268A of the General Laws.
The panel shall meet not less than 4 times annually for the first 4 years. After the first 4 years, the panel co-chairs shall determine the time period in which the panel shall continue to meet.
(b) The panel shall advise the departments of early education and care, elementary and secondary education and higher education and the executive office of education on the refinement and implementation of plans for gifted child development including, but not limited to, education of the general populace regarding gifted children, appropriate strategies to identify and serve gifted children to meet their unique educational and other developmental needs, including the activities and programs offered by the education collaboratives, district and school assistance centers, and readiness centers to support gifted education for children from age three through college, inclusive. The panel shall make recommendations to the secretary and the commissioners of early education and care, elementary and secondary education and higher education on the alignment, coordination and implementation of, including, but not limited to, the following areas:
(1) strategies for evaluating the effectiveness of academic, social and emotional curricula on the unique academic, developmental and psychological needs of gifted children, that (i) is anchored in rich content; (ii) uses a wide variety of types of activities to support content under study; (iii) emphasizes the role of community interaction in promoting social skills; and (iv) contains a balanced instructional design focused on developing academic, social, and emotional skills.
(2) effective instructional practices to promote gifted children’s understanding of unique social and emotional feelings and experiences.
(3) pre-service and in-service professional development and training for educators on gifted education children, over-sensitivities commonly experienced by many, the administration of screenings and assessments, and the analysis of data gained through screenings and assessments to make instructional decisions to improve the academic, social, and emotional skill acquisition in young children;
(4) developmentally appropriate screening and assessment to identify, monitor and report on gifted children’s progress toward achieving benchmarks in developmental skills such as sociability, emotional regulation, organization, time management, persistence, resilience, productive use of coaches, compensatory skills, and learning how to experience and react to failure, across educational levels from age three to college, inclusive;
(5) family partnership strategies for improving the quality, frequency and efficacy of home-school interactions to support gifted children’s development, as well as for building community capacity to support gifted children within their families; and
(6) action steps to implement the research-based recommendations contained in reports written by experts in gifted child development, academically and otherwise.
(7) action steps to implement research-based recommendations contained in reports written by experts in gifted education on student screening and teacher preparation methods with respect to gifted children’s needs including, but not limited to, highly or profoundly gifted and twice-exceptional students.
The panel shall also advise on leveraging existing and new federal grant opportunities and private funding to support gifted children from age three to college, inclusive. Subject to appropriation, the secretary and commissioners of early education and care, elementary and secondary education and higher education may appoint personnel necessary to coordinate the activities of the panel and provide administrative support as needed.
SECTION 2. The secretary of education, in coordination with the gifted education panel co-chair and the commissioners of early education and care, elementary and secondary education and higher education, shall prepare and submit an annual report on the activities of the gifted education panel in advising the departments. The report shall include information on the alignment and collaboration between the 3 commissioners, as overseen by the secretary, on gifted child development for children from age 3 to college, inclusive, and on teacher training and professional development on gifted children, their education, and all subject areas covered in clauses (1) to (6), inclusive, of subsection (b) of section 1. The report shall also include a description of all state and federal funding related to gifted education and the programs such funding supports. The secretary shall submit the report not later than June 30 to the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, who shall forward the report to the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on education and the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on higher education. The report shall also be made available on the websites of the departments of early education and care, elementary and secondary education and higher education and on the website of the executive office of education.
SECTION 3. The gifted education expert panel shall conduct its first meeting not later than 60 days after the effective date of this act.
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