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Burney Elementary Gifted Teacher Receives National Recognition

November 15, 2017 - Employee Excellence

In the heart of Plant City there’s a very special school with a gifted teacher who has a heart of gold, and now a national recognition to go along with that heart of gold. Tina Cook, an educator with more than 20 years of experience in Florida public schools, has been named a 2017 Javits-Frasier Scholar. The Javits-Frasier Scholars Program is a unique professional development opportunity for educators and counselors who work in Title I schools and are passionate about helping all gifted children.

Out of 55 applicants, Tina Cook was invited to attend the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Annual Convention in Charlotte, NC to further develop her skills in identifying and supporting gifted learners from Title 1 School with diverse backgrounds.

On any given day you will find Mrs. Cook working with fifth graders on their Respect skits and campaigns, where gifted fifth graders collaborate together to educate their peers about Respect. The students will create and hang posters around the school, and take turns directing videos to improve awareness about Respect, in an effort to educate and improve school climate survey scores. You will also find fourth graders putting on their thinking hats (literally and figuratively) when it comes to reading comprehension. These gifted fourth graders take the time to dissect articles and stories, and share their answers to tough questions with one another.

This is Cook’s third year teaching gifted at Burney Elementary. Under the leadership of HCPS K-12 Gifted Program Supervisor, Lauri Kirsch, Cook researches and creates lesson plans geared towards finding gifted students. Burney currently has 13 identified gifted students, with an additional 20 on the roster to be evaluated for the program. Without this program a majority of these students would fall through the cracks and stay unidentified.

“I would love to invite others in the district over to see the program, learn how these students are thinking out of the box, staying engaged and most importantly, staying in school,” said Cook.

The faculty at Burney knows that Mrs. Cook is more than deserving of this recognition, as she has been honored as Teacher of the Year, a recipient of the Ida S. Baker Award and Glazer Children’s Educator of the Year.

“I am honored to be attending the convention. I am looking forward to the breakout sessions, absorbing all I can from my mentor and brainstorming with others who are just as passionate about this population of students,” said Cook.

Not only will Mrs. Cook benefit from this conference but so will the students in Hillsborough County Public Schools, especially the Burney Broncos.

To Learn more about Burney Elementary, visit:

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