Mary-Lou Cleveland, McKernan School

Dear Linda,


Thank you so much for spending the day with us at McKernan and providing a `bird's eye' view of our program.  Your experience and love for the Gifted and Talented children is palpable and energizing.  I feel blessed that George Richardson came into my life last September and introduced me to you!  It was meant to be.  When we were able to design a retreat for Breena, James, George, and myself it was a dream come true.  During those three days, you and your team were able to open a window to the possibilities for an authentic Gifted and Talented Program.  


During that retreat you gave us a working understanding of the importance of finding the right fit for students with giftedness and the reliability of the WISC IV.  In providing us a thumb nail sketch of the latest research and best practices, we were able to look at our program and dream the possibilities.  During the retreat we were able to witness how devastating  it can be when giftedness is not honoured.  


Our group was inspired by our visit to the Logan School in Denver.  Thanks to your arranging our visit, we were able to see what gifted teaching could be in its' finest form.  We returned to Edmonton with renewed energy and passion for making our program grow and become project based.  Our goals were very lofty and yet both Breena and James kept the dream alive even when it was very difficult and the pressures from the outside increased.    


This year we have doubled our space and enrolment along with two complete full time teachers.  We have our first Extension student in the Junior High Division.  Breena and James facilitated "John" successfully completing the Grade 10 Math program last year.  This year in grade 7 he is challenging Grade 11 Math. So we have many successes along with continued challenges.


Your visit this year was phenomenal.  Having you observe the class during the day, and then provide advice and feedback was invaluable.  The beginning of the year was the right time.  We understand  our direction more clearly now.  You have helped us see how we need to massage the program and establish clear boundaries for expectations along with class meetings and consequences.  You were helpful in providing clarity around the importance of protecting those who are ready to learn and strategies for those who need coaching to meet the standard or leave the program.


The evening meeting for parents and guests was truly inspirational.  It is going to be one of those memories that is embedded for ever in my heart.  The moment the participants connected through laughing at your indicators of giftedness, the room relaxed and became synergistic.  There were tight bonds and connections formed.  The fact that some of our parents recognized their own giftedness for the first time was particularly overwhelming.  Some of the adults were so touched that they actually wept.  They were so appreciative.

I have already talked to our two district consultants and they are very excited at the opportunity to work with the program.  


Linda, thank you for being that beacon of light that instills greatness and passion in others. 

Mary-Lou Cleveland B.Mus.M.Ed.
McKernan School
Edmonton , AB