Twice Exceptional

Over the last ten years, one of the most underserved populations in education across the U.S. has been “twice exceptional” (2e) students.  According to the National Education Association, 2e students are students who are “formerly identified as gifted and special needs.” For example, a student might be dyslexic but exceptionally gifted in math.  Or, a student with Asperger’s syndrome might have an aptitude for science. 

Identification of these students is incredibly difficult, as the learning strength or deficiency often masks intelligence or special needs.  However, it is estimated that 1/6 of the students in gifted education and special education could be categorized as 2e.  There are approximately 360,000 K-12 students in the U.S. who are not receiving adequate education due to lack of awareness and Federal funding. 

While Iowa doesn’t require 2e education, the Waterloo Community School District has spent the last three years developing it’s own, due to the increasing need and the overwhelming support of our donors, particularly Steve and Becky Gearhart. 

Their support has allowed a team of 10 educators to spend time collaborating and creating a district-wide resource book, professional development workshops, and monitoring tools to provide specialized instruction for students. 

This is the first, formal 2e program in the State of Iowa.  It has the ability to not only transform education in Waterloo, but across Iowa. 

“We support the Waterloo Schools Foundation because it gives us the opportunity to make a difference in our community.  Exceptional students can be overlooked.  This program identifies the strengths in all students and proceeds to empower them with their giftedness.” -Steve & Becky Gearhart