For the past two weeks people around the world have been graced with the summer Olympic Games. The best of the best from around the world have come together to compete for the title Olympic Champion. It has been exciting to watch as so far nearly 500 gold medals in total have been given out to athletes. As exciting as this is, I have to admit this is not the first Olympic Games where a few questions have churned in my head. Are these really the best athletes in the United States; in the world? How were these athletes found? Who is missing and how could they be found? Are there people whose potential isn’t known either to themselves or to others? Or are there individuals who just don’t have the resources to work toward this achievement?
My questions parallel my thinking about gifted students in Wisconsin (and the world). As educators work hard to find students whose needs are not being met in the classroom or within the walls of our schools, how do we know—we have found them ALL? How are we looking for students who have learning needs that are not being met? Which students are we missing because the tools and strategies we are using aren’t enough to find some students? I believe people working in schools are well intended and working hard to help all students learn. But I wonder how we find underserved and underrepresented students who have potential—but it hasn’t been evidenced YET—on in the way we are looking. These are questions that keep me and others up at night.
If some of these same questions are burning in your head I encourage you to join us at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells, October 13th and 14th for the annual Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted Conference. Educators and parent from around Wisconsin will learn together to collaborate together because we are committed to advocating for and educating about the needs of gifted students. way that will help them achieve at the highest level possible.
This is the third year WATG is purposely working toward finding keynote speakers whose message is for both educators and parents. We invite parents to join in the conversations throughout the conference but have specifically built sessions throughout the day on Friday that would be of interest to parents. Educators want to learn with and parents so we can grow together. We can understand the needs of students and parents from another lens. Check out the conference schedule at https://watg16.sched.org/ A link to registration can be found at www.watg.org. If you cannot attend consider passing the information about the conference on to a school administrator or educator.