As you read this newsletter, we at the Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted are still basking in the “afterglow” of our fall annual conference, “Revolutionizing the Basics: Making Education WORK for Gifted Students” October 3 & 4 at the Glacier Canyon Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells. We were pleased to share this dynamic learning event with well over 300 guests, speakers and exhibitors. Our audience included teachers and administrators, retired educators, state representatives, teens, parents, psychologists, social workers, and members of the business community. We welcomed attendees from all areas of our state, and shared countless ideas of what works best for kids and gifted education. Many conference attendees remarked that there was a “charge” in the rooms, an electricity or palpable energy as we learned and grew together. Without a doubt, many special things were happening. Old friendships were rekindled; new ones were made. Old ideas were challenged; new ones forged. Conversations were lively and productive, with much laughter (and some libations) shared. There was, indeed, a “charge” in the air, and we thank you, our attendees, for bringing our conference to life with your energy and curiosity.
Though it is impossible to thank everyone who helped to make this event so successful, we especially want to thank our conference chairwomen, Kitty Ver Kuilen and Beth Fairchild for their boundless energy, enthusiasm, and encouragement. With the support of Nancy Woodward, our highly capable Executive Assistant at WATG, these ladies ran a spectacular conference! We also want to thank Board Member Lalitha Murali, and Stacy Read, Web and Software instructor at Waukesha County Technical College, for their work with 28 diverse and dedicated teens, who crafted online games to help solve world problems that are near and dear to their hearts. Bravi tutti in this endeavor! Please see the article in this month’s newsletter for more details about the Teen Conference.
We also want to thank our exhibitors for sharing ideas, information, and resources with our attendees. All of them stretched our thinking, and provided us with the tools to pursue excellence in gifted education.
The format change of this year’s conference allowed attendees to participate in two full days of learning, and our attendees took advantage of this. Participants engaged in thirty(! ) sessions, including five extended learning opportunities. Our highly inspiring keynote presenters, Ian Byrd and Dr. Scott Peters, challenged us to get to the heart of gifted education, to revolutionize the basics, and to respect the unique joys and challenges of raising and educating gifted children and adolescents. Our heartfelt thanks to these gentlemen for sharing their time and talents with us.
Each WATG conference is also a chance to celebrate some of the people who have made unique and lasting contributions to our field during the past year. This year’s award winners included:
Our kudos and grateful thanks to all of them!
Finally, we’d like to acknowledge the abiding care and thoughtful presence of our outgoing president, Cathy Schmit. Under her indomitable leadership, our organization continues to grow, and to tackle new tasks that will benefit gifted learners in our state. Thank you, Cathy!
Every outstanding conference leaves us with excellent memories, and also with a “charge” to go forth - to use what we’ve learned - in our homes, our classrooms, our schools, our state, and our nation. Therefore, we as a board are “charging” you with two duties during the coming year:
P.S. If you still have the “earworm” of the WATG Board’s performance of “Big Rock Candy Mountain” rolling around in your brain, you’re welcome :)