Greetings from the WATG Board! Although our fall conference is still many months away, on October 18, 19 and 20, 2020 at the Wilderness Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells, much planning is going on behind the scenes right now. As you may imagine, a conference such as ours requires lots of hands on and minds on, (and a lot of love or “heart” for the work that we are doing), so it is fitting that we have chosen the title “Hands On, Minds On” as our theme. You may have seen our call for proposals, with a deadline of April 20, 2020, and we hope that you will consider lending your talents and your voice to our conference this year. Check out our website www.watg.org for details, and please think about all of the ways that we can engage both the minds and the hands-on learning that is so critical for our students.
To get you thinking, let us share some of our preliminary planning. On Sunday, October 18, we will feature a teen conference from 9am-noon. The theme of this teen conference will be “Engineering Design Using the Arduino UNO,” and will be for students 12 years of age and older. Isabel Mendiola and Peter Haydock will co-facilitate, and participants will be engaged in thinking and creating using coding, and engineering and design. Watch for e-blasts and information on our website for further information.
Concurrently we will run a parent strand from 9am-noon on Sunday, October 18, and will feature workshops such as a facilitated parent sharing group, a workshop on growth mindset and gifted students, and information about SOAR summer camp for middle school students. Perhaps you also have an idea for a proposal that would be designed to engage parents and guardians?
The afternoon of Sunday October 18 will be dedicated to a NUMATS celebration. Each year, WATG joins with Northwestern University to honor elementary, middle, and high school students who have scored extremely well on out of level tests. “Northwestern University's Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS) is a research-validated program that utilizes above-grade-level assessment to help parents and educators better understand their students’ academic strengths and educational needs. NUMATS allows eligible students to take internationally recognized tests before the grade levels at which they are normally administered. The PSAT™8/9 test, designed for students in grades 8 and 9, is administered to students in grades 3 through 6. SAT® and ACT®, designed for students in grades 11 and 12, are administered to students in grades 6 through 9. NUMATS identifies academic ability, measures growth and connects gifted students to educational resources and opportunities for enrichment and acceleration.” See this link for more information on NUMATS. WATG NUMATS celebrations are a prime example of the hands-on hard work, and the minds-on reasoning that are present in outstanding achievers. This event will be offered by invitation.
Our main 2020 WATG annual conference will commence on October 19 and 20, 2020 and will feature Dr. Marcia Gentry (Monday), and Dr. Brian Housand (Tuesday), both exemplary leaders in the field of gifted education. More information about them will be shared in the coming months.
Our fall 2020 conference will also feature dozens of breakout sessions, and that’s where you come in. What kinds of things are you doing in your classrooms, in your schools, and in your communities that support gifted students? What have you tried that has worked well? How has your gifted programming evolved? How have you helped all gifted students achieve their potential, including those from diverse backgrounds? What activities or materials work best, and how do you utilize them? What kind of programming is achieving excellent results for your gifted students? What does the research say, and how are you using it in your classrooms? How have you used the research to guide your work with gifted students, and with other professionals? How do you blend social and emotional learning and goals with academics for your gifted students? What kind of counseling works best for gifted kids? What kind of advocacy is needed? How are you advocating for gifted kids and gifted education in your community, state, or nation?
The possibilities for sharing a workshop are endless, and we know that there is huge potential in you, our constituents. So we are asking...Will you lend your talent? Will you rise to the call of “Hands On, Minds On,” and share your wisdom by presenting a workshop at our conference in October? Together our minds, our hands, and yes! our hearts can and will provide better programming and services and understanding for our gifted learners. Come and join us to share and to learn -- October 18-20, 2020 at the Wilderness Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells.