CPA’s goal is to advocate for and support our gifted/highly capable students, families and teachers in the Terrace Park Challenge Program and the Brier Terrace Middle School (BTMS) Highly Capable Program, which are both a part of the Edmonds School District. CPA is secondary to Terrace Park PTA and BTMS PTSA, which serve everyone at these schools. PTA/PTSA membership and support is crucial for every family at Terrace Park and BTMS. Families with students in the Challenge or middle school Highly Capable programs are asked to support CPA after they have made a commitment to PTA/PTSA. The support of CPA families who go above and beyond that call of duty is most welcome!
CPA concentrates on three basic areas of concern:
Community Building: The Edmonds School District houses its grade 1-6 Challenge program at Terrace Park School and its grade 7-8 highly capable program at Brier Terrace Middle School. Students attend from all over the district. Because most of them are outside their schools of residence, and therefore are no longer going to school with their neighbors, participation in these programs can be isolating. Community building for these students and families is especially important. The Challenge program is composed of students with unique social, emotional and learning needs. CPA fosters group support and sponsors family social events to help families deal with the challenges they face by having students in these programs.
Participation: The teachers in these programs require additional training to meet the asynchronous development needs of gifted and talented students, and the curriculum demands differentiated materials and resources. Parents make a difference with their support to ensure these extra demands are met efficiently. Participation includes being willing to offer your voice and participating in discussions regarding specialized needs; your physical help at school events and at extracurricular activities; with in-kind gifts and offerings of your own talents, skills, education and community connections; and, of course, financial contributions to offset the additional costs generated in meeting these needs.
Advocacy: Every student deserves to learn every day. To keep that promise, these programs require additional funding and special advocacy. In these days of budget crises, and in the wake of “No Child Left Behind”, programs like these are among the first on the chopping block. During the last two legislative sessions, we were instrumental in making sure that services for highly capable students were included in the definition of “basic education” in all forms of the Washington State Basic Education Reform Bill and in advocating for the implementation of these reforms in the midst of some of the most drastic budget cuts in Washington State’s history. In order to ensure legislative support, we coordinate with our families and other groups throughout the state to reach out to our legislative representatives, community leaders, school board members and local businesses to keep them apprised of the need for, and value of, highly capable education programs and services and to elicit their support.