November 2020
WATG News & Updates
Have you visited our website lately? All of our current news is now located on the NEWS page. Check back often to stay up-to-date on what's going on at WATG! This month: invitation to meetings on Gifted Education, WATG Year End Report, WATG's newest Board Member, information on conference session replays, Jack Cooke Young Scholars information and more!

From the WATG Board - Thanks to All!
As we reflect on our Virtual Fall Conference, “Hands On - Minds On: Now More Than Ever,” we are grateful, now, more than ever, for all of the hands and minds that it took to make this conference a great success.

A huge thank you goes out to our keynote speakers, Dr. Marcia Gentry and Dr. Brian Housand, who gave us some clear insight into the state of gifted education in Wisconsin.

Each year at the WATG Conference, we present our Year End Report to our members. Read it here.
Jackie Drummer, WATG Past President

As an organization, WATG is committed to finding and serving children and families from diverse cultures. In June of 2020, our Board of Directors crafted a social justice and equity statement that begins with this quote by Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

Ask the Doctor: A Walking Building
Dr. Wanda Routier, Past WATG Board Member

Many students who are gifted have an incessant curiosity for knowing how things work. For many, it is not just a curiosity, but a vital need from deep within. These students explore everything until they know or figure out how it works. If you live with one of them, you know what I mean. It is exhausting to parent them as children because they may not consider danger in their explorations, they just need to know how things work. Anything that isn’t locked down or off-limits is fair game to them, and often being locked down or off-limits is meaningless, (or an additional challenge). 

Welcome to GT Meanderings - A New Blog on the History of WATG
What's in a Name?
Ruth Robinson, WATG President, 2003-04

In October of 2020, WATG proudly presented the 47th Annual Conference in an innovative virtual platform. In a very short time, we will celebrate the 50th Golden Anniversary Conference. The search for historical records began in 2002 when the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) began gathering information from the state affiliate members about their membership prior to their 50th Annual Conference in 2003. What a long and twisted trail this is! 

The Role of Perfectionism in our World
Cathy Schmit, WATG Board President

As many of you know, WATG’s annual conference was held recently. For many of the board members, amidst the planning, preparation, and implementation of the conference, doubts emerged - doubts regarding the effectiveness of the platform we chose, doubts about delivering timely content in a virtual format, and doubts about the effectiveness of a completely digital conference. These doubts could have stemmed from insecurities regarding the newness of the conference format, or they could simply reflect general social stress during a pandemic. In a world that has so often been disappointed and stressed in the last year, our Board hoped to produce a virtual conference that would run smoothly and be highly meaningful for our constituency.

Helping Children Eat a Diverse Diet
Jessica Albrecht-Schultz, WATG Board Member

I’m a mom of two gifted kids. I spend most of my time volunteering at my children’s school, for their extracurricular activities, and advocating for educational opportunities that will lead to their academic growth. Food, however, is my passion. I love to cook for my family and friends, discover new restaurants, collect and study cookbooks, grocery shop for the best available ingredients, and learn about food history, culture and policy. It is my hope that writing articles about food will get the Gifted and Talented community thinking more about the link between our diets and our brains.

Lalitha Murali, WATG Board Member

Under-representation of minority and culturally different children in gifted education is a serious issue in the American education system. One of the main reasons that these students are under-identified centers around the use of identification methods that are culturally biased. Identification must be based on a student’s potential instead of his/her performance, and identification instruments must be culturally appropriate. School districts use various assessments to identify gifted students.

Department will host additional meeting on Education Forward and Gifted/Talented Education

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will host another virtual meetings this fall about the Education Forward guidance and how it relates to the work of educating gifted and/or talented students.​

The date for the next meeting is Thursday, December 10, 3:30-4:30 pm. 

These meetings will be a continuation of the conversations that took place this past summer. The aim is to provide support to school district staff and others as they examine the Education Forward guidance, including the specific information related to gifted and talented education.
In the December meetings, time will be allotted for both information sharing by DPI and for discussions and meaning-making with other meeting participants. Note: the topics covered will change from meeting to meeting, so plan to attend each one if your schedule allows.

During our WATG fall virtual conference, many of us were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to join Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings’ presentation, “Racial Disparity in Academic Achievement.”

At the conclusion of Dr. Ladson-Billings’ presentation, she was asked to share some ideas for readings on her topic that are suitable for adults and teens. She has graciously shared this list with us, and we’d like to share it with you.

Brad Brogley is the newest WATG board member and he joins us from the southwest corner of Wisconsin. This graduate of the Platteville High School and UW-Platteville has had several stops over his 29 year career in education and is currently the Middle School Assistant Principal, District Assessment Coordinator and Advanced Learners Coordinator for the Platteville School District. Outside of the school day, Brad enjoys spending time with his family including his wife, Jessica, who teaches for the UWP School of Education, and children Jenna and Matthew. When informed of his appointment to the WATG board, Brad shared that he was excited to grow and learn from the WATG board and to be a voice for smaller rural districts in southwest Wisconsin and across the state.