McKinney ISD

McKinney ISD's graduations will be held on Monday, May 23 at Credit Union of Texas Event Center. Times are as follows: McKinney North High School at 9 a.m.; McKinney Boyd High School at 1 p.m.; McKinney High School at 5:30 p.m. Live streaming will be available for each ceremony at www.mckinneyisd.net/graduation/.

 

TAGT Names Webb GT Teacher Jessica Fair the State’s Top Educator of the Gifted for 2021 and McKinney Gifted and Talented Alliance Top Parent Group of the Gifted

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Jessica Fair, MISD GT teacher and TAGT 2021 Educator of the Gifted award recipient talks with a student during a class activity. Also recognized by TAGT earlier this month is the McKinney Gifted and Talented Alliance parent group that has been named the 2021 Parent Group of the Gifted by TAGT. The awards are two of four statewide awards announced by TAGT each year.

Jessica Fair, MISD GT teacher and TAGT 2021 Educator of the Gifted award recipient talks with a student during a class activity. Also recognized by TAGT earlier this month is the McKinney Gifted and Talented Alliance parent group that has been named the 2021 Parent Group of the Gifted by TAGT. The awards are two of four statewide awards announced by TAGT each year.

McKinney, Texas – The spotlight is shining brightly on the McKinney ISD ALPHA program with not one, but two state awards this December. Earlier this month, the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) named Webb Elementary ALPHA teacher Jessica Fair its 2021 Educator of the Gifted and the McKinney Gifted and Talented Alliance (MGTA) its 2021 Parent Group of the Gifted for the state of Texas. The awards are two of four statewide awards bestowed by TAGT each year.

According to TAGT’s website, “The TAGT state awards are presented in recognition of service, contribution and commitment to gifted education. Collectively, those being recognized are champions who are working to advance the world of gifted education. Individually, they are each making a difference in their communities, and we are proud to recognize their efforts as the 2021 TAGT State Award Recipients.”

group in a line smiling at camera

(l-r) Elementary GT Coordinator Trey Wright, 2021 TAGT Educator of the Gifted Jessica Fair, McKinney Gifted and Talented Alliance President Letha Williams, Webb Elementary Principal Maria Hafner and MGTA VP of Communications Kelly Cullum after the December MISD Board of Trustees meeting. Fair and MGTA were recognized by the Board for earning statewide recognition from TAGT.

MISD serves approximately 2,500 gifted and talented students in grades 1–12 through its ALPHA program with the goal of developing: critical thinking and problem-solving strategies, positive self-concepts, intellectual and creative abilities and self-directed, life-long learners.

Students are screened in kindergarten, and once identified, enter the ALPHA program in first and second grade by meeting with an ALPHA teacher for differentiated and extension activities approximately one hour a week. In third through fifth grade, they travel to Webb Elementary for one or two days each week—depending on grade level—where they receive targeted ALPHA instruction. Beginning in middle school, gifted and talented services transition from pull-out to subject-specific differentiation in the classroom. High school students are served in sheltered gifted and talented classrooms, Advanced (formerly Pre-AP) courses, clustered Advanced Placement (AP) courses and can enroll in Dual Credit courses.

Jessica Fair — 2021 TAGT Educator of the Gifted Profile
Fair’s inspiration to enter the gifted classroom was sown by her experience with her own children. That inspiration has since reaped a harvest for many other MISD students. Now in her 6th year as a 3-5 grade math & science ALPHA teacher, Fair has spent the past 5 years also serving as the curriculum and instruction and identification and assessment elementary team lead for MISD’s Gifted and Talented Department.

Fair has developed numerous initiatives to meet the needs of gifted students such as social and emotional daily community circle lessons specifically targeted for gifted students, MISD GT Communication and Accommodations Improvement Plan, grant writing to support STEAM and social and emotional tools for MISD’s GT community.

She completed a Masters in Curriculum & Instruction for Gifted Education in 2017 and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership at SMU. Her dissertation focus is on how educational leaders can advocate for and support twice-exceptional learners in their schools and districts.

“I was excited and honored,” said Fair of being chosen as the TAGT Educator of the Gifted. “I think last year was arguably the most difficult year that we’ve had, for all educators and administrators. After that year, the award really was a great surprise.”

Webb Elementary GT teacher Jessica Fair, 2021 TAGT Educator of the Gifted award recipient.

McKinney Gifted and Talented Alliance – 2021 TAGT Parent Support Group of the Gifted Profile
MGTA is the support group for MISD’s Gifted and Talented Program and aspires to connect members with the people, programs and information necessary to enhance awareness, effectiveness and sense of community in parenting and educating gifted and talented children. For over 40 years, they have brought their community together where they learn about what giftedness means, what it looks like and how they can best support one another.

With over 100 member families, MGTA is able to strongly support McKinney ISD’s GT program, teachers, students and families with events, expert speakers, scholarships, camps and classroom needs. MGTA has hosted podcast chats, Family Nights, game nights, Lunch and Learns, buddy parties with their special needs community and offer local SENG Model Parent Groups.

Letha Williams is an ALPHA paraprofessional at Webb and president of MGTA. “It felt very validating,” she said of MGTA being chosen as Parent Support Group of the Gifted. “With COVID, numbers have fluctuated for all non-profits and parent support groups. I felt really good [that] our membership was up to 122 families. We kept working to say, ‘What can we do? What else can we do to support these families?’ We really try to find little niche things that we can do to keep people involved, so it’s really validating for someone to see that. It felt like the hard work was really worth it to keep these families engaged. It was really awesome.”

Webb Principal Maria Hafner said that Fair’s passion for learning serves as a model for her students and her colleagues, and MGTA continually seeks to find new ways to support gifted and talented education in MISD.

“Jessica always seeks to learn more and grow as a professional so that she can take our gifted students to higher levels of learning,” Hafner said. “She leads her students and her team with contagious enthusiasm. And, our MISD gifted students and their teachers are so blessed to have such a dedicated parent group,” she added. “MGTA supports the work of our GT educators, and they do whatever it takes to ensure that our GT families are fully informed and have the support they need to work with their learners. We are so proud that TAGT has recognized both Jessica and MGTA at the state level for their dedication to ensuring the very best for our GT community.”

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