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By Lula Guilbert, 3rd/4th Grade Lead Teacher, Littleton

My daughter began her education in our local public school. She had been identified gifted in kindergarten, but there was little that they did for younger students. After advocating for her to have advanced math and reading, we thought she was having her needs met; however, she didn’t seem to be thriving. She would complete assignments and then quietly entertain herself in class or read. She was a good student, but not a passionate student. When she came home and we would ask her about school, on most days she would just shrug her shoulders and say it was “o.k.” At the age of seven, even with gifted services, she had come to see school as a place to take in information and answer questions rather than as a place to wonder and grow.

We soon realized that, in order to support our daughter and her gifts, we needed to bring her to Mackintosh. I knew that Mackintosh was what she needed, because I was not only her mother, but also a teacher at the school. I had worked with girls who came to Mackintosh because they hadn’t been thriving in other school settings. I had worked with girls who were used to giving what was expected and not more. Girls whose gifts weren’t nurtured and whose voices had already began to quiet.

I had seen these same girls thrive at Mackintosh because they were encouraged, challenged, and engaged. I had heard their voices grow stronger as teachers took an interest in their ideas and questions. I had seen them at graduation proudly sharing their passions and displaying keen insight into who they were as learners. They were able to speak confidently and knowledgeably about the next steps on their journey and seemed so excited to continue learning and growing and shining. I wanted my daughter to be seen and cherished and nurtured in the same way so that she could not just “do well” in school, but thrive.

This is my daughter’s fifth year at Mackintosh. Here are a few highlights from our last few weeks:

  • She helped me make dinner and began making connections to how the zucchini was releasing water as it cooked because the cell walls were breaking down when they were heated. She excitedly said how “fascinating” cells were and began talking about the organelles and what they do for the cells.
  • She was asked by someone if she was nervous about the transition to high school and she replied, “No, I make friends easily.”
  • She called a legislator to invite her to our school’s solar celebration. The celebration is happening because of a State Farm solar energy grant that my daughter collaboratively wrote last year during her sixth grade exhibition project.
  • We purchased tickets to go see one of her favorite authors speak and she was literally jumping for joy.

I share these highlights, not only as a proud parent, but as a proud educator. Proud to work at a school where gifted girls are seen and heard and valued. Where their wonder is encouraged and their questions are taken seriously. I am intensely proud of who my daughter is and who she is becoming, and I am proud of and grateful to Mackintosh for helping her on her journey.

For more on identifying and supporting gifted girls, please explore:

http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10171.aspx – An article explaining some challenges and indicators of gifted girls

A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children – by Webb, Gore, Amend, & DeVries – A parent handbook on supporting gifted children


Mackintosh Academy Littleton