Events from the Center

Broadcast on Thursday, October 13, 2022
What Parents of Smart Students (and their students) Need to Know about College Admissions
Sally M. Reis
University of Connecticut

Description: What are the key points that parents of academically talented students need to know about college admissions? In this workshop, a university professor, parent, and college admissions advocate for talented students shares two decades worth of advice and experience for your current and future planning about colleges and universities for your talented son or daughter.

Speaker Bio: Sally M. Reis, Ph.D. is the Letitia Neag Morgan Chair in Educational Psychology, a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, and a University Teaching Fellow at the University of Connecticut. She was a teacher for 15 years, 11 of which were spent working with gifted students on the elementary, junior high, and high school levels. She has authored or co-authored over 250 articles, books, book chapters, monographs, and technical reports. Her research interests are related to special populations of gifted and talented students, including students with learning disabilities, gifted females, and diverse groups of talented students. She is also interested in extensions of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model both for gifted and talented students and as a way to expand offerings and provide general enrichment to identify talents and potentials in students who have not been previously identified as gifted. She is the co-director of Confratute, the longest running summer institute in the development of gifts and talents.

Broadcast on Thursday, October 27, 2022
An Important Tool in the Toolkit: Academic Acceleration
Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik
University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center

Description: Educators are sometimes reluctant to use acceleration for their academically talented students because they have had little experience with it. This introductory session will provide an overview of the research supporting acceleration as well as the tools developed to help make informed, objective decisions. Acceleration comes in many forms, including grade-skipping, subject acceleration, dual enrollment, and advanced placement courses. Seventy years of research inform us that acceleration is a success story both in the short term and in the long term, and students do well both academically and socially. Learn about the Iowa Acceleration Scale, Integrated Acceleration System, above-level testing, acceleration policies, and the resources available on the Acceleration Institute website.

Speaker Bio: Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, Ph.D. is Administrator, Acceleration Institute and Research at the University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center. Previously, she founded and directed the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary Students (C-MITES) at Carnegie Mellon University. She co-authored Developing Math Talent (2nd ed.), Developing Academic Acceleration Policies, and the Iowa Acceleration Scale, and co-edited A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students.  She is also co-developer of the online Integrated Acceleration System, which guides educators and families through the decision-making process about grade-skipping, early entrance to kindergarten, subject acceleration, and early entrance to college.

Broadcast on Thursday, November 10, 2022
8 to 8:30 pm Eastern
What Parents Need to Know about Testing
Nick Gelbar
University of Connecticut

Description: This presentation will provide a parent-friendly overview of the testing that is used to determine if a child is gifted and talented.  It will discuss how the testing works so parents can better understand the results.  Considerations for testing children who are 2e will also briefly be discussed.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Gelbar is an Associate Research Professor at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Educational Psychology.  Previously, he was an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center (School of Medicine) and the research director for the UConn University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. He earned his Ph. D. in Educational Psychology (with concentrations in School Psychology, Special Education, and Gifted/Talented Education) from the University of Connecticut in 2013. He is a licensed psychologist, a national certified school psychologist, and a board-certified behavior analyst at the doctoral level.

Broadcast on Saturday, November 12, 2022
11 am to noon Eastern
Doing What Mathematicians Do! Investigations in Algebraic Reasoning to Nurture Talent in Elementary Students
Kathy Gavin

Description: Give your students new opportunities to work like mathematicians and find out how much they love math! Come explore challenging research-based, field-tested and NAGC award-winning activities focused on algebraic thinking. Students explore patterns and make generalizations, discover relationships, analyze equations, and even create new problems. The focus is on critical and creative thinking set within engaging contexts and games.

Speaker Bio: Katherine Gavin, Ph.D. has over 30 years of experience as a mathematics teacher, math district coordinator, elementary assistant principal, and Associate Professor at the Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Connecticut. She is senior author and director of three series for talented elementary math students; Projects A3, M3, and M2. Projects M3 and M2 have won the NAGC Curriculum Division Award for Distinguished curriculum for nine consecutive years. Kathy’s awards include the NAGC Early Leader Award, NAGC 2009 and 2013 Research Papers of the Year, University of Connecticut Distinguished Researcher Award, and the Rosenbaum Leadership in Mathematics Award from the Connecticut mathematics association. She has published over 100 articles, book chapters, and curriculum on gifted mathematics education. In addition, she has provided professional development for teachers and administrators in school districts throughout the United States and presented regularly at national and international conferences including invited keynote presentations.

Broadcast on Thursday, January 19, 2023
Born to Draw: The Development of Artistically Gifted Children
Jennifer Drake
Brooklyn College, CUNY

Description: Some young children are able to create stunningly realistic drawings that resemble those of adult artists. In this talk, I will present research examining the perceptual and cognitive skills that underlie this talent in children. I will consider three pieces of evidence for their innate talent. First, the drawings of these children are advanced from the start before they have been given any formal drawing instruction. Second, these children are not just advanced but are also different: they have superior visual memory, mental rotation, and visual imagery skills. Most importantly, these children show a “rage to master” in the domain of drawing—a strong drive to figure out the rules of graphic representation. Finally, I present research suggesting that artistic brilliance in children may not be limited to drawing realistically and may be found children who are gifted in abstract expressionist art. Thus, there may be two routes that gifted child artists follow – one the early representational/realism route and the other the early abstraction route.

Speaker Bio: Jennifer Drake is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her research program focuses on the psychology of the visual arts. In one line of research, she examines the emotion regulation benefits of engaging in drawing for children and adults. In a second line of research, she studies the cognitive and perceptual processes underlying graphic representation skills in autistic, non-autistic, and gifted children. Her research has been funded by grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Imagination Institute supported by the John Templeton Foundation, and PSC-CUNY. Her research has been featured in Scientific American Mind, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, The New York Times, and on National Public Radio. She was named a 2015 “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science and an outstanding early career scholar in 2018 by the American Psychological Association for her work on the emotion regulation benefits of everyday art-making.

Broadcast on Saturday, January 21, 2023
The Age of Technology and the Arts: Innovation in Content-based Curriculum
Joyce VanTassel-Baska, Catherine Little, Debbie Dailey, Steve Coxon, and Cara Bernard

Description: This session will explore new areas of content being used in programs for the gifted and how effective they are in motivating and engaging learners.  Presenters will offer perspectives on the role of robotics, the performing arts, and engineering.  The panel will provide insights on incorporating these areas into existing programs and services and supporting talent development in these domains.

Speaker Bios: Joyce VanTassel-Baska is the Smith Professor Emerita  at The College of William and Mary in Virginia where she  developed a graduate program and a research and development center in gifted education. Formerly, she initiated and directed the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University. She has also served as the state director of gifted programs for Illinois, as a regional director of a gifted service center in the Chicago area, as coordinator of gifted programs for the Toledo, Ohio public school system, and as a teacher of gifted high school students in English and Latin.  Dr. VanTassel-Baska has published widely including 38 books and over 700 refereed journal articles, book chapters, and scholarly reports.  Her major research interests are on the talent development process and effective curricular interventions with the gifted.

Cara Bernard is Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Connecticut, where she teaches courses in choral and elementary methods and curriculum. As a conductor, Cara prepared choruses for performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Cara’s research areas include music teacher evaluation, policy, curriculum, and social justice. She is associate editor of Visions of Research in Music Education, and co-author of the book Navigating Teacher Evaluation: A Guide for Music Teachers, published by Oxford University Press.

Steve Coxon is Professor of education and executive director of the Center for Access and Achievement (CA2) at Maryville University. He conducts research on developing STEM talents, especially spatial ability, mathematics, and creativity with a special focus on talent development in populations traditionally underrepresented in gifted and STEM education. He is the author of more than 50 publications including the book Serving Visual-Spatial Learners and has given more than 100 presentations and workshops on these topics. Steve earned his PhD from the College of William and Mary in educational policy, planning, and leadership in gifted education. He was the 2010 recipient of the Joyce VanTassel-Baska Award for Excellence in Gifted Education and the 2020 recipient of the Laura Joyner Award from the Mensa Foundation.

Debbie Dailey is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA). Through teaching, service, and scholarship, Dr. Dailey has devoted her life to education at all levels of schooling for over 34 years.

Catherine Little is a Professor in the area of Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development in the Educational Psychology program at the University of Connecticut.

Broadcast on Thursday, February 9, 2023
Raising Your 2E Child
Ashley Carpenter
William & Mary

Description: Parenting is hard but parenting a twice-exceptional student can feel like you are constantly fighting for what your child needs in a land of people that just don't understand. In this session, Dr. Ashley Y. Carpenter teaches you about both the lands of gifted/talented education and special education. Learn the terminology, what to ask for, and who to talk to on your advocacy journey. She is the parent of a twice exceptional child, a former special education teacher, gifted teacher, and is now an Assistant Professor of Gifted Education.

Speaker bio: Ashley Y. Carpenter, PhD, is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Professional Development and Publications at William & Mary’s Center for Gifted Education. She currently teaches graduate courses in Gifted Education and is the Professional Developer for Project BUMP UP, a Jacob Javits Grant funded research project. As the Director of Professional Development, Ashley coordinates several conferences including ,2e @ William & Mary: Twice Exceptional Conference and the National Curriculum Networking Conference. She also provides trainings on Center for Gifted Education curriculum units and general gifted education topics across the country. Ashley completed her doctoral work in Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Connecticut and worked at the National Center for Research on Gifted Education as a Research Assistant and Research Site Director. She was a middle school teacher for 14 years and is the parent of a twice-exceptional child.

Broadcast on Saturday, February 11, 2023
Vertical Differentiation: Scaffolded Supports to Stretch Student Thinking
Emily Mofield
Lipscomb University

Description: Learn strategies to stretch student thinking, promote deep learning, and provide layers of challenge for high-potential students. These strategies build schema, academic language, and provide scaffolds to intentionally foster gifts and talents of students from underrepresented groups. Leave with concrete examples to support and extend student thinking across content areas.

Speaker Bio: Emily Mofield, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor at Lipscomb University, teaching courses in the Gifted Education and Advanced Academics Program and the Ed.D. Program for Learning Organizations and Strategic Change. She has over 20 years of experience in gifted education as a teacher, district leader, and now assistant professor. Her work focuses on curriculum for gifted/high-potential students, differentiation, achievement motivation, and most recently, collaborative teaching practices for promoting access and equity in gifted education. Her most recent books include Vertical Differentiation for Gifted, Advanced, and High-Potential Students: 25 Strategies to Stretch Student Thinking and Advanced Content Models for Differentiating Curriculum for Gifted Learners.

Broadcast on Thursday, March 9, 2023
Four Factors that Promote an Achievement-Orientation Attitude with Your Child
Del Siegle
University of Connecticut

Description: Gifted students achieve for a variety of reasons. In this session, we will discuss four factors that students and research suggest influence gifted students’ achievement. While there are many factors that contribute to achievement, achievement-oriented students exhibit four key traits: 1) they believe that they have the skills to perform well, 2) they expect that they can succeed, 3) they believe what they are doing is meaningful, and 4) they set realistic expectations and implement strategies to successfully complete their goals.

Speaker Bio: Del Siegle is the Lynn and Ray Neag Endowed Chair for Talent Development at the University of Connecticut, where he directs the National Center for Research on Gifted Education.  He is a past-president of NAGC and recipient of their 2021 Founder’s Memorial, 2018 Distinguished Scholar, and 2011 Distinguished Service Award.

Broadcast on Saturday, March 11, 2023
Developing Critical Thinkers in the Digital Age
Rebecca O’Brien
Whitworth University

Description: The rapid development of online media and increased internet access has created a firehose of consumable information. How do we teach students to think critically about that information, examining multiple perspectives and identifying their own biases? Mandated curriculum, limited time flexibility, and lack of resources often restrict teachers’ ability to prioritize teaching critical thinking and problem solving skills in the classroom. In this Strand, we will explore ways to engage students in developing the skills of critical thought (interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and self-regulation) while encouraging the dispositions of successful critical thinkers and consumers of information.

Speaker Bio: Rebecca O’Brien is an Assistant Professor of Graduate Studies in Education, the Director for the Center for Gifted Education, and the Program Director for Gifted Education and Equitable Instruction at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Her work primarily focuses on identifying and encouraging high potential in students from diverse backgrounds, improving teacher preparation, aligning instruction to assessment, and supporting in-service teacher learning and instruction. Prior to becoming a professor, she served as a math, science, and robotics teacher in an urban middle school.

Broadcast on Thursday, April 20, 2023
What do Parents Need to Know About Academic Acceleration?
Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik
University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center

Description: Acceleration is the best-researched option for academically talented students, yet educators and families may be hesitant to use it. Forms of acceleration include grade-skipping, subject acceleration, AP courses, honors courses, dual enrollment, and early entrance to college. Research indicates that accelerated students perform well academically in the short- and long-term; additionally, they do well socially. Tools are available to help inform decisions about acceleration, including the Iowa Acceleration Scale, Integrated Acceleration System, and above-Level testing. Some states and school districts have well-developed acceleration policies that guide decision-making. Learn about the many resources available to support families seeking additional challenges for their students.

Speaker Bio: Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, Ph.D. is Administrator, Acceleration Institute and Research at the University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center. Previously, she founded and directed the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary Students (C-MITES) at Carnegie Mellon University. She co-authored Developing Math Talent (2nd ed.), Developing Academic Acceleration Policies, and the Iowa Acceleration Scale, and co-edited A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students.  She is also co-developer of the online Integrated Acceleration System, which guides educators and families through the decision-making process about grade-skipping, early entrance to kindergarten, subject acceleration, and early entrance to college.

Broadcast on Saturday, April 22, 2023
Strategies and Resources for Families to Promote Racial Pride and Achievement Among Their Children of Color
Donna Ford
The Ohio State University

Description: All students share the reality that self-perception (e.g., self-esteem and self-concept) significantly influences school performance. Students of color have an additional view of self that families and caregivers need to understand – racial identity development. Theories of racial identity are described, along with recommendations and resources to promote racial pride.

Speaker Bio: Donna Y. Ford, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. She is also a Faculty Affiliate with the Kirwan Institute and the Center for Latin American Studies. Professor Ford conducts research primarily in gifted education and culturally responsive/multicultural/urban education. She has written over 300 articles and book chapters; she has made over 2,000 presentations at professional conferences and organizations, and in school districts.

Broadcast on Saturday, May 13, 2023
Navigating the World as a Gifted Student of Color… The Journey within School and Society
Dornswalo Wilkins-McCorey and Sun-Siret Betancourt 
Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Description: Identified gifted students of color face a myriad of issues that may adversely affect their social emotional needs.  Being gifted can be a blessing as well as a burden. When you are the only student of color in your gifted class and a controversial topic comes up, how do you advocate for yourself, race, etc.?  Exploring William Cross’ Nigresence theory and other Theorists will empower students to appropriately advocate for themselves.   How does a student of color navigate the world of gifted land when their culture clashes with school academic culture?  What strategies and resources should the students use?  What strategies should the parent implement to help their gifted student?  What tools should parents and students possess to adequately navigate the gifted?  This session will help parents and students understand the culture of school and how to navigate this world successfully as gifted students of color.

Presenter Bios: Dornswalo Wilkins-McCorey Ed.D., is a coordinator in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the Office of Gifted Programs in Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS). The programs and services Dorn coordinates focus on underrepresented populations, leverages innovative technology, and provides extensive professional learning opportunities. In her 23 years as an educator, McCorey has worked as a coordinator, gifted specialist, gifted resource teacher, and gifted teacher in Virginia. In 2006, she was selected as a Frasier Scholar for the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and awarded the NAGC Coordinator of the Year in 2020. Dorn serves the gifted community in several capacities.  In 2021, she co-facilitated the NAGC Convention Task Force alongside Dr. Shelagh Gallagher.  In 2022, she became a member of the NAGC Leadership Committee and the NAGC Equity Symposium Planning Committee. Currently, she serves as an officer in several organizations: the Virginia Association for the Gifted (VAGifted) President, VAGifted conference chair, Virginia Advisory Committee for the Education of the Gifted (VACEG) secretary, and Project E-Ignite Board. Additionally, she is a Supporting Emotional Needs for the Gifted (SENG) Model Parent Gifted (SMPG) facilitator. Most recently, she has been awarded the 2022 VA Gifted Leader of the Year.  She earned her doctorate at Virginia Tech University in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Sun-Siret Betancourt is a native of the Bronx, New York. In 1999, he graduated from City College Of New York with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. In 2017 she earned a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from Regent University. As a career educator, she taught in Yonkers, Bronx, NY, and Virginia Beach, VA. She has over 24 years of teaching experience, including 13 years of Gifted Education, seven years as a Spanish language immersion program teacher, and four years as an elementary school teacher in New York. She holds a Postgraduate Professional License granted by the Commonwealth of Virginia. She received an endorsement in Gifted Education. Sun-Siret’s awards include the 2020-2021 Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) Outstanding Teacher of the Gifted /Gifted Teacher of the Year. Recognized by the VBCPS Division for the “Great Dreams Need Great Teachers” in 2018. Nominated for VA Gifted Teacher of the Year in 2017. New Castle E.S. Teacher of the Year Award in 2016. The recipient of the “Tagged by the Superintendent” in 2015 and 2006. Received the Distinguished Teacher Award in 2013 and the "I Make A Difference" Award in 2013 and 2011. Nominated for the Disney Teacher Award in 2001. She has presented in the NAGC and completed various training certifications with the University of Connecticut and the Professional Summer Institute at The College of William and Mary.