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ECS High Ability Coordinator Receives National Honor

ECS High Ability Coordinator Receives National Honor


One of Elkhart Community Schools’s most important goals is to ensure that students of all ability levels receive an education that is catered to their needs. This principle is exemplified in our evolving High Ability program, which works hard to provide appropriate resources for ECS students identified for the program. Now, the leader of our high ability program is being recognized for her efforts on the national level. Lisa Ernsberger, the ECS Director of High Ability, has recently been named just 1 of 3 recipients across the country of the Gifted Coordinator Award from the National Association For Gifted Children. This honor is reserved for those in full-time, High-ability-specific positions that go above and beyond for those they serve.  

Lisa has been with the district since April 2020. Before that, she received her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Manchester College in 2002, as well as her Master’s in Education Leadership from Indiana University South Bend in 2008, and her High Ability Licensure from Ball State University in 2017. Upon joining Elkhart Community Schools, she went right to work on many of the most important aspects of her position. Those include assessing the current and evolving needs of our district’s high ability students, continuously ensuring that relevant ECS programs are meeting standards set by the state of Indiana, and providing resources for high ability families at all grade levels. Lisa says that, when establishing her course of action, it was important to listen to others.

“”A lot of my early days in this position was just listening to the perspectives and stories of others. Everyone from administrators, to parents, to students, to teachers was crucial in my understanding of what High Ability at Elkhart Community Schools means, and how I could help the program even more going forward,”” says Lisa.

According to her, among the many highlights of her position is working directly with students to help achieve their academic needs. Lisa says that identifying students who need support beyond what is provided in more typical coursework is critical for their continued academic success. One of her favorite events every year is the annual High Ability Night, where families of students in the program are able to gather together, meet some of the ECS staff providing their child High Ability services, and ask any questions they may have. She says that events like these help families fulfill academic goals, as well as let them know that they are not alone in their ECS High Ability journey.

“”It’s a great opportunity for families to put faces to names. I often find that, when we have the chance to reach families directly at events like these, they become more engaged and active in their High Ability community. One of our hopes for our families is that they are able to create a support network for not just their children, but for each other,”” says Lisa.

Lisa also notes that the award is not only in recognition of her efforts, but of the collaborative spirit that shines throughout the district. She is incredibly grateful for all high ability students, teachers, coordinators, administrators, and community members who have helped make her goals possible.