Round of Applause for Dr. Dan Peters: Reflections From Our Director Dr. Lisa Reid

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Dr. Dan Peters and Dr. Lisa Reid

Creating a school program was something I considered for quite some time, but had recognized I could not effectively accomplish on my own. When I met Dr. Dan Peters of Summit Center, I realized that his approach and expertise would be the perfect fit and huge asset to any program that I hoped to create.

What made him different from any other person in the field?

In addition to being knowledgeable, experienced and invested in supporting the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children and their families, he is startlingly humble and approachable. In addition, he has been on the other side of the table as a parent of gifted children whose pathways in education needed to be adjusted.

He has shared that this experience changed his perspective toward the way in which he approaches his career, and that is apparent in his work. He gets it.

When Dr. Peters visits our school, he takes the time to review the plans and progress of all of our students, and he works with them directly. During his last visit, Dr. Peters met with our students to discuss their experiences with anxiety and to ask where the Worry Monster (a term he coined and wrote a book about) was present in their lives. Anxiety is the most common theme that exists amongst 2e students, so to learn coping mechanisms in dealing with these stressors is an important part of their curriculum. As we watched Dr. Peters interact with the students, we witnessed his great ability to relate to them. By sharing his personal experience, and integrating heart and humor into what are traditionally difficult topics for children to communicate about, he was able to successfully reach them at their level. The students connected with the different scenarios that Dr. Peters presented and were able to see that they are not alone in their fears and that their fears are not insurmountable.

Although dealing with anxiety can be a lifelong battle, mindfulness regarding the realities that surround it makes a tremendous difference. It was exciting to see our young students begin to recognize these realities. It was wonderful to facilitate the easing of their often unspoken concerns that sometimes leave them unavailable for learning, or, more importantly, to fully experience their lives.

Additionally, our staff and teaching team were able to listen and benefit from the discourse that occurred between Dr. Peters and the students because, young and old, we all have a Worry Monster somewhere in our lives.

A Tribute to Our Trailblazers – Reflections from our Director Dr. Lisa Reid

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As an educator of gifted children, I am continually inspired and awestruck by boundless displays of excellence from both a personal and cognitive perspective. The completely unexpected and challenging nature of the children I have the honor to work with is what makes me love my job and want be the best I can be within it.

The old adage of surrounding yourself with excellence if you want to be excellent yourself certainly rings true within our walls. To some, it may seem surprising that the excellence we reference is the excellence that exists not only within the professionals at our site, but also within our young blossoming students.

As an educational therapist and seasoned teacher, I have come to know that one of the most important factors in my ability to effectively guide a student’s learning is context. I need to be able to consider all of the factors that shape my students’ points of view, and put myself in their shoes. I need to meet them where they are.

In addition, within our program we take a team approach toward learning. We realize that the most important member of that team and the person who has the most influence over their progress, is the student themselves. That said, any child who is a part of our program has made the decision to enroll and to be part of a group of people who are working to create the best future possible for them.

My decision to become an educator was largely driven by the fact that I had teachers and educational environments that made tremendous influences in the trajectory of my life and in the way I perceived myself. As an adult, I can reflect and realize that many factors that I did not understand, or even like, during the course of my childhood made the huge difference in who I am, what I can do and what I can offer others today.

Standing with that reflective wisdom and considering my students in their context and in their shoes, I am forced to wonder if I would have had the courage to make the decision to start anew as our inaugural RDS trailblazers have this year. Our team of adults, teachers and professionals can agree with a resounding “Yes!” that this is an exciting and positive move, but our students, without a doubt, have had to make some big decisions this past year, and they have done so with wisdom beyond their years.

Each of our students knows that they were accepted to RDS because they have something very special to offer the world and they deserve to have that nurtured so that they can allow it to grow, and ultimately shine. We know that these youngsters are our change makers. That they are taking the brave course of action toward that future, when they had the option to settle for the familiar, to become all that they can be is commendable.

It is with sincere respect and joy that I congratulate our inaugural class of RDS trailblazers for their courage, wisdom, and excellence during this start to the new school year! Together, with us, they are creating new pathways toward learning and the future not only for themselves, but also for the students and families who are following in their footsteps.

We are so proud of our RDS students and look forward to seeing an excellent year as they explore their vast potential!