NEWS FROM THE BOARD
Excitement is definitely in the air at the Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted. We are beginning this new year with much energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to our important work. We recently welcomed three new board members, Cory Jennerjohn, Dr. Sharon Alexander, and Christine Wyatt, who will bring new ideas and new perspectives to our work. We thank them for their commitment to gifted children, and their willingness to share their time and talents. As wise people know, “many hands make light work,” and as our board grows in numbers and expertise we are able to tackle more projects and make more progress in gifted education in Wisconsin.
Along with three new board members, WATG welcomes two outstanding young interns. Camryn Ballweg and Everett Harmelink came “on board” recently, and we are already in awe of their talents and energy. It is delightful to have such great young people share their expertise in marketing, web design, podcasts, and many other areas. They are definitely bringing our board into the 21st century, and planting new ideas! We are sure that you will see their footprints on our organization!
You may have also noticed that WATG is making great efforts to extend our inclusivity. We have begun a great partnership with Drs. Martha Lopez and German Diaz of Milwaukee Public Schools to have many of our materials translated into Spanish for our Spanish-speaking constituents. We extend our gratitude to Martha and German for their willingness to contribute to this endeavor. It is our hope that we can continue to reach out to other groups by securing additional people able and willing to translate; one hope is to reach out to the Hmong community with materials in their language, since Hmong is spoken in many parts of our state. If you or others are knowledgeable and willing, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another way that we at WATG are reaching out to our community is through this newsletter. Each month board members and others contribute to the newsletter with articles related to gifted education. We share ideas about parenting, tools for educating gifted children, research, book reviews, information about upcoming events, and other information pertinent to the world of gifted education. Here’s where you come in; perhaps you’ve read a book and would like to share a review; perhaps you have a tool or an idea that you’d like to share with other educators; perhaps you have some research you’d like to highlight or share; maybe you have an idea for parenting gifted children; maybe you are a gifted child with a poem or other work to share. The possibilities are endless. We invite you to submit your work to us at email@example.com. Ideas will be reviewed, and editing help will be provided if needed. The deadline for each month’s newsletter is the last Sunday of each month. It would be great to hear from you!
During the months of December and January, the WATG board solicited ideas from our constituents about how we could be more effective as a state organization. We asked questions about our current services, and about possible future services. At this writing, we are still receiving replies, and will be compiling the results in the very near future. We will share those results with you in our newsletter. We are hoping that your feedback will give us much to think about, and will help us plan to meet your needs more fully.
Finally, at WATG we have begun to carefully prioritize our work. There is always so much to do! One way that our membership committee has prioritized their work is to decide which groups, agencies, or individuals need to be given a top priority, and will help further our organization’s mission most effectively. We’ve begun plans to collaborate more effectively with our state’s twelve CESAs (Cooperative Educational Services Areas) to disseminate information about gifted education. We’re also engaging with other organizations, such as the Wisconsin School Counselors’ Association, and will be presenting at their conferences. We are working to establish more effective partnerships, collaborations, and membership in our organization.
In a similar manner, our government action committee has prioritized the next election for state superintendent of schools. It is important to us to have a state leader who understands the educational needs of gifted and talented students.
Our programming committee has prioritized our annual fall conference, and is beginning to firm up keynote speakers and specialized presenters. They are pleased to share that our conference, “Leading the World into the Future,” will be held on October 4 & 5 at the Wilderness Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells. Featured will be Dr. Gloria Billings-Ladson, Dr. Jonathan Plucker, and Alonzo Kelly, an expert on leadership. Additionally, our programming committee will be featuring learning events such as webinars and podcasts throughout the year.
All in all, 2021 is indeed shaping up to be an exhilarating time. We have much talent “on board,” and look forward to combining our talent with your ideas. Please consider ways that you can be part of the adventure!
(WATG would like to extend a huge thank you to German Diaz of Milwaukee Public Schools for translating this article into Spanish for our Spanish-speaking families and educators. The translation can also be found in our website blogs.)