“Type 1 Speakers” Provide a Spark

“Type 1 Speakers” is the term used to describe the guest presenters that our elementary schools host throughout the year as part of the division’s schoolwide enrichment program. Type 1 Speakers are experts in their respective fields, whether an accomplished scientist, a published author, a collegiate athlete, or an elementary student who has spent hours researching a topic.

Earlier this school year, I saw Ms. Georgia Bush from the James River Association serve as a Type 1 Speaker at Byrd Elementary School, and I was thrilled by the student engagement she generated. As a follow up to that experience, I thought it would be cool to talk with some students at BES and hear directly from them about the influence the division’s Type 1 Speaker program has had on them over the years.

Last week I had the opportunity to spend time with Mrs. Glenda Hawk, Gifted Resource Teacher at Byrd Elementary School, and several fourth and fifth grade students discussing the impact Type 1 Speakers have had on their lives. From astronomers to Triple A baseball players, the students I visited with recalled with great detail the speakers, their message, and the impact it had had on them.

A.J. Condrey, fourth grader, described the message he’s carried with him since Rob Burns, a former football player at the University of Virginia, served as a Type 1 Speaker two years ago. “Mr. Burns really had a big influence on me. His message was to give 100% effort every day and to never give up — on the athletic field and in the classroom. I still think about his message today.”

Mrs. Hawk described Type 1 Speakers as, “a critical part of our overall gifted program at the elementary level. The entire student body gets to hear directly from experts, which often spark their own interests to expand their learning and make connections to their own lives. The Type 1 Speaker program is foundational in nature and probably has the greatest impact because every student benefits from the experience.”

Mrs. Lisa Brown, Gifted Resource Teacher at Goochland Elementary School, stated, “In my opinion we have had some amazing Type 1 Speakers over the past four years. I know that we have had two GRIPs [Gifted Research Interest-Based Projects] that were spawned directly from the Type 1 Speaker experience, in addition to many children who have been enriched in smaller ways.”

(l to r) A.J. Condrey (grade 4), Max Nichols (grade 4), and Mrs. Hawk

(l to r) Savannah Cave (grade 5), Porscha Suttle (grade 5), A.J. Condrey (grade 4), and Heath Davidson (grade 4)

Ms. Georgia Bush from the James River Association was a “Type 1 Speaker” at Byrd Elementary School this fall. She discusses Virginia’s watersheds with the 5th grade team.

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