The 2020 WATG Conference will be here before we know it. As a parent, another conference or meeting held virtually in front of your device may be the last thing you want to do, but the WATG Board has assembled an impressive conference schedule with both educators and parents in mind.
Our keynote speakers, Dr. Marcia Gentry and Dr. Brian Housand will be presenting new information from which we as parents can benefit, either personally or globally. Dr. Gentry’s keynote, “Equity in Wisconsin” will feature state report cards in several important inclusivity areas, as well as possible approaches to improvement. Dr. Housand’s keynote “Where do we go from here? Charting the Course Ahead for Gifted Ed” will provide practical opportunities and strategies to challenge all gifted students, including your own. The different conference tracks, as well as exhibitor sessions. are sure to provide you with plenty of learning opportunities.
Before you fill your schedule with sessions specific to your child’s needs, though, don’t forget to consider your own needs. With pandemic-influenced circumstances imposed since last March, the line between teacher and parent has blurred in many of our homes. I suggest you use the conference’s offerings to give you ideas and confidence to grow your knowledge and skill sets. Try attending sessions like “Exploring STEM in the Classroom” (even if that classroom is now your kitchen) or “Social-Emotional Learning Through Leadership.”
I encourage you to attend a session or two that don’t appear to have direct relevance to your child, but are just plain interesting to you. Last year, I attended a session about how to incorporate art into every subject. Now, artistic prowess doesn’t exactly run in our family; it fascinated me to see how art can be incorporated into social studies, math and language arts. Maybe your child isn’t into reading about anything but current times? Attend “Learning the Importance of the Classics” to remind yourself how the classics influenced your life.
Maybe most importantly, don’t miss the opportunity to attend a session that reminds you that you are not alone navigating gifted education for your child in these unusual times. The conference offers some great sessions which explore the affective needs of gifted kids, workshops such as “Defining Ready: The Head, The Heart, The Courage,” “Wicked Good Family: Hands-on, Minds-on Community,” and “Racial Disparity in Academic Achievement.”
On Monday at 4 PM we will present our “Unconference” on Zoom, hosted by WATG Board members. Breakout rooms will be devoted to various topics centered on gifted children and gifted education. As Board members, we bring a diverse set of reasons we became involved with WATG, and we are eager to share. These sessions will be an opportunity to casually discuss a wide range of topics with current board members.
To quote a sign at the exit of a fitness chain, we as parents should remind ourselves that “you did something great today” every single day, even when our confidence takes a hit. Take advantage of the WATG Conference to help you with that reminder.
Student and Parent Voices
Hear from and about gifted and talented students and parents across the state Wisconsin.