The Midwest Center for the Gifted (MCG) breaks down barriers for bright underserved students by producing research, providing consulting services, and promoting practices and policies that address key challenges facing these students. These challenges include the under-identification of low-income and minority students in gifted programs, lack of access to acceleration and advanced coursework, and lack of access to extracurricular enrichment opportunities.
MCG was founded in 2010 as an incubator and hub for best practices in gifted education. From 2011 through 2013, MCG organized three Back-to-School Summits. Among other speakers, these Summits featured Joyce Van Tassel Baska, Ph.D., and Joseph Renzulli, Ph.D., on Exceptional Curriculum in the 21St Century and Susan Baum, Ph.D., of the International Center for Talent Development on Knowing Who We Teach & Choosing How We Teach: Keys to Successful Student Engagement. MCG also partnered with the University of Chicago Booth’s Social Entrepreneurship Lab to produce a Gifted Education Benchmarking Report for the Midwest in 2014.
From 2013 to 2016, MCG organized and led an ongoing Parent Education Series at Science & Arts Academy (SAA), located in Des Plaines, Illinois. The Parent Education Programs in this Series included: Social-Emotional Needs of the Gifted with Dr. Jerry Schecter; The Neuroscience of Malleable Minds discussing the work of Dr. Laurence Steinberg; The Science Behind Executive Functioning presented by Dr. Georgia Bozeday; Roundtable Discussions on grit, resilience, and growth mindset; and a presentation of the MCG/SAA Executive Functions Program and Research Study.
MCG also spearheaded a two-year Executive Functions Initiative and Research Study in partnership with Rush Neurobehavioral Center, Loyola University, and SAA from 2015-2017. This initiative included faculty professional development, student assessment and tracking, data collection, analyses, and reports related to executive functioning in gifted students.
During 2017 and 2018, MCG co-sponsored several research reports designed to shed light on the need for increased access to advanced programming for high-ability students, including the Accelerate Illinois report, a course equity policy brief, and Failing High Ability Students: Under-Identification of Low-Income, Emerging Bilingual, and Students of Color in Colorado Gifted Education.
In 2019, MCG is taking a more active role to ensure policies affecting high-ability students are being implemented effectively. MCG provides advocacy consulting services to parents, educators, and organizations, collects data and produces reports, and works with gifted education groups in different states to conduct the research necessary to determine which policy changes may benefit high-ability students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.