Congratulations to the WATG 2014 Summer Scholarship Recipients!
The WATG Summer Scholarships Committee awarded a record $4,000 this year for summer scholarships. The Fall Conference Silent Auction and other fundraising efforts have increased the amount this year! We urge our members to continue their dedication to contributing to our scholarships fund, bidding at our silent auction and buying those candy bars each and every year at our fall conference so we can make a difference in the lives of more gifted children.
This year WATG was able to award 24 scholarships to children ages 9-16 who live in 16 different Wisconsin communities. This summer these young scholars will learn about physics, Japanese, engineering, dance, chemistry, art, algebra, robotics, songwriting, music and leadership by taking courses and attending camps in Wisconsin and other midwest states.
Applicants expressed their need to attend these programs for various reasons. Some wrote about how they are striving to reach their potential. Some expressed that they relish the chance to feel a sense of belonging. Many children wrote about their desire to begin or continue friendships with intellectual peers from across the state.
Thank you for a very successful scholarship season.
A big thank you to all who donated to WATG during our year end appeal! (There's still time to donate - click on the Donate button above.)
As you may already know, the State of Wisconsin provides less than $237,000 in total funding related to gifted education. Below is a graphic showing Wisconsin funding levels compared to our neighbor states.
Source. National Association for Gifted Children State of the States Report (2011-2012)
The lack of public support in our state puts the burden on parents, teachers, and community organizations to not only provide appropriately-challenging curriculum for students, but to advocate for students’ needs to be met in the first place. This year we hope to undertake a progressive drive to provide additional training and professional development for educators and implement advocacy training for parents and others who understand the importance of gifted education.
As of this past spring, the State of Wisconsin now has licensed gifted and talented coordinators!
Eight educators from across Wisconsin completed their coursework toward the UW-Whitewater Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator license. This license includes courses on the foundations of gifted education, student identification, social-emotional needs, curriculum, program design, and the logistics of running and managing a program in a school district. The 12-credit license can be added to any existing Wisconsin educator, administrator, or student service (except school nurse) license. For more information on this license, head to: http://www.uww.edu/coeps/departments/edfound/gt
Individuals interested in either this license or the Gifted and Talented Supplementary Teaching License can take advantage to earn the first credit at half price as part of the fall WATG Conference.
WATG– NAGC Member Benefit
Did you know that because WATG is an affiliate of NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children), Parent Members of WATG are eligible for a reduced-price NAGC membership? The NAGC affiliate Parent Member price is $15 and includes a subscription to Parenting for High Potential. Find out more here.
WATG Presents Awards to Petruska, Tlachac, Gomez-Schmidt and Poupore
During the Annual WATG Conference October 9-10, two educators, a parent, and a distinguished student received special recognition as outstanding in their field and contributing to Wisconsin’s gifted and talented education.
The first recipient was Jennifer Petruska, who received the Outstanding K-8 Educator Award. Petruska is a teacher in the Silver Lake-Salem School District and provides instructional support and materials to teachers of grade levels K-8. One co-worker said that “she is a working demonstration that dedication, creativity, and purposeful lesson-planning are not only critical to the educational development of our students, but are equally vital to the vibrancy and success of the educator.”
Sara Tlachac was the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Visual Arts Educator Award. Tlachac was recognized for her outstanding contributions to gifted education and the visual arts at the Aldo Leopold Community School in Green Bay. A few years ago, she developed a plan to make mural of tiles that would cover an entire wall within the school. Every student would be involved in this huge project whose theme was related to the history of Aldo Leopold and the school. It now beautifully and proudly is displayed in the school gym.
Christina Gomez-Schmidt was the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Parent Award. She was recognized for her outstanding contributions to gifted education in the Madison Metropolitan School District. Gomez-Schmidt has been highly dedicated to educating parents, district staff, and board members about the “other achievement gap”, the face that poor and minority gifted students generally have far fewer opportunities to develop their talents and abilities than other TAG students, and that TAG education is therefore an equity issue. She has also founded the Madison Partnership for Advanced Learning, an advocacy group for any and all community members interested in advanced learning issues.
Finally, the Nicholas Green Distinguished Student Award was presented to Carson Poupore. His Instructional Resource Teacher wrote of him that “He is unlike any student she has taught before. His passion for learning is contagious. He challenges both himself and others to dig deeper within the context of learning and ask questions beyond the common.” Carson wrote in his application, “You could be the next Einstein, the next Gates, but you have to work for it. The skills I have learned in Scouting will help, but there’s another component to victory; believing in yourself.”
WATG is proud to recognize each of these award winners and salutes their contributions to the field of gifted education in Wisconsin.