Tag: Gifted and Black

Young Gifted and Black: 10-Year-Old Genius Harold Branch IV Finds Niche in School for the Gifted

Harold Gregory Branch IVarticle by Robin White Goode via blackenterprise.com

At 9, Harold Gregory Branch IV—whom everyone knows as Quatro—took the ACT and scored a 21. Yes, that ACT. He ranks in the top 10% in math in the nation. As far as giftedness, he is in the 99th percentile of the 99th percentile.

Now 10, Quatro is blessed in that he attends a private school for gifted kids on a college campus. Every day he tells his parents that he loves school. His first reading assignment? The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

Quatro’s parents have been strategic about his education. One of the first things his mother said to me is that she and her former husband co-parent. Here are some ways Harold Branch and Rayco Branch work together to develop their son’s potential.

  • Lay the foundation. They agreed to invest in their children’s (the Branches also have a gifted daughter) early education, rather than saving for college. “At 5 he started the Abacus rogram and piano.”
  • Sacrifice. They prioritize spending on their children’s education. “We may sacrifice new shoes or a new car or a stylish purse, but Quatro’s in the Abacus program that everyone else said they couldn’t afford.”
  • Take responsibility. “In this country the education system is broken,” says Harold, “but for people of color it’s devastating. Our state is 47th in education in the nation, so we expected the school to provide the skeleton, and we provide the rest. Rayco is an award-winning educator. She always had the kids doing worksheets that had them two years ahead.”

Continue reading “Young Gifted and Black: 10-Year-Old Genius Harold Branch IV Finds Niche in School for the Gifted”

Young Gifted and Black: 4 Ways to Support Your Gifted Child

Giavrielle Lightfootarticle by Robin White Goode via blackenterprise.com

Five-year-old Giavrielle Lightfoot is an accelerated learner.

“We thought something might be different about her because she was reading before she was 3,” says her mother, Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot. “We also thought she may have just memorized books the way little kids do.”

But when her mother read a book to her that she hadn’t read before, the not-yet-3-year-old read it.

At 2, Gia would say, “I need to play the violin.”

“I had taken her to children’s orchestras, and would have her listen to classical music on NPR. Finally I took her to a music store and let her look at a violin, but she kept saying, ‘I want to take it home. I want to take it home.’”

“I thought it was a little precocious giving a 2-year-old a violin,” Walker-Lightfoot says. “I told her she was too little. Even the smallest violin was too big for her. So we came back a year later and picked one out.” Gia was evaluated and soon started the Suzuki method at the Roberson School of Music. (The famous Suzuki method begins music lessons with the youngest children, even before they’re born.)

Gia’s interest wasn’t a passing phase.  “She absolutely loves it,” Walker-Lightfoot says. “We’ve never had to argue with her about practicing. ‘Ode to Joy’ was her Christmas recital number.”

Walker-Lightfoot mentioned testing to her pediatrician, to verify that Gia is a gifted child, “but I wasn’t sure where that would lead.”

Walker-Lightfoot was reluctant because she, her husband, Johnathan, and their only child live in Howard County, Maryland, where children must be 5 by Sept. 1 in order to start school.

That hard and fast rule wouldn’t work for Gia, who was born in December. She was not only already reading, she knew her colors and could count.  “From what I’ve read, if bright children aren’t challenged they can get disruptive—because they’re bored.”

The Lightfoots found an academic-focused Montessori school where youngsters can be taught the kindergarten curriculum if they’re 5 by Dec. 31, as long as they pass their work.

Gia is now thriving in an environment of diverse learners. In a class of 11, five students are East Indian, three are African American, one is biracial, one has a Spanish surname, and one is white.  The Lightfoots intend to keep Gia in Montessori. They plan to transfer her to another school in the network that goes up to grade 5. Continue reading “Young Gifted and Black: 4 Ways to Support Your Gifted Child”