Boulder Valley Gifted and Talented, December 2016

If you’re anything like me and if your family is anything like mine, this season can be a labyrinth, either glorious or frenzy-inducing—and oftentimes both in quick succession. With the looming anticipation and expectations of the holidays, I usually try to accomplish too much, get overtaken by schedules that defy my best planning, and face end-of-semester kid projects that threaten every confidence. I excitedly jump in, knowing that all-too-familiar intensities and sensitivities guarantee both tremendous joy and unwanted dissonance for all of us in our family.

So, I wish for you what I wish for myself this holiday season:

The wisdom to recognize truly worthy activities and the strength to embrace that meaningful stuff most fully,

The self-awareness to recognize stress that threatens to overwhelm and the willingness to pause and fold in peace,

Eagerness to honor the spirit of giving and community that marks myriad holidays and the presence of mind to do so with a clear head and heart,

And the power to model these qualities for my child, who travels with me each and every day, no matter where we are and what we do.

A quick web search of “giftedness and holidays” points to tips, suggestions and perspectives on how to live this and every season to its fullest, with passion and joy--and then, hopefully, how to forgive ourselves when we and our kids are not quite perfect at it.

May this month bring you wondrous experiences, happy relationships and beautiful insights. We’ll see you in the new year!

BVGT, co-president

Gratitude and Giving

Our Members and Friends are the cornerstones of BVGT and make it possible for us to bring you high-quality speakers, educational programming for teachers, coffee chats, movie screenings, scholarships for CAGT’s Parent Institute and much more. Without your support and attendance, none of this would be possible.

Celebrate the season’s traditions by accepting our thanks and by considering a gift to support BVGT. Together we can continue bringing high-quality programming and resources to the Boulder area.

Shop on Amazon and support BVGT at the same time with Amazon Smile. Once there, click on "Supporting" and search for Boulder Valley Gifted & Talented. Remember to use the link above whenever shopping on Amazon.com.

Renew or become a BVGT member if you haven’t already.

Attend 2017 BVGT events, and bring your friends.

Fall Programming Recap
What a great start we've gotten off to this school year! BVGT has already hosted two fantastic programs—and we have much more to come!

On the evening of September 25th, Dr. James Webb spoke and signed books at Manhattan School of Arts and Academics in Boulder. Dr. Webb is a well-known psychologist within the gifted community and is the founder of SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted), a national nonprofit. His talk, "11 Key Issues of Giftedness at Home and at School," was a wonderful "Gifted 101" for attendees. Dr. Webb graciously offered his slides from the event, and they can be viewed on the BVGT website here.

Dr Webb
On October 12th, BVGT hosted Dr. Brian Housand, associate professor with interests in giftedness, technology, and creativity, at Mackintosh Academy in Boulder. His program, "Technology and Gifted Students: What Parents Need to Know", spoke to those trying to figure out where, when and how technology can effectively fit into kids' lives. A video of Dr. Housand's talk can be found on BVGT's YouTube channel here for a limited time. His slides are also available on the BVGT website.

Dr Housand
We're so appreciative of these speakers for taking the time to present these programs to the parents and educators of Boulder County. And we want to thank our audience members and, especially, members of BVGT for their support.
Our goal is to continue to present speakers and events on issues that are important to you. Please feel free to contact us (programming@bvgt.org) with any topics you would like to see discussed. And stay tuned for more upcoming programs!
See you at the next event!
Janine Frank and Jenny Hecht
BVGT Programming Committee

Upcoming BVGT Events

Speaker Event: Ian Byrd, "Creating 21st Century Innovators", Wed., Feb. 15, 7 p.m., Manhattan School of Arts and Academics, Boulder
Ian Byrd, former teacher as well as writer and national presenter on gifted education, speaks on topics that span widely, and his website—byrdseed.com—displays a rich array of resources for the gifted community.

Tentative Speaker Event: Jenny Hecht, "I am Because We Are: Cultivating Personal and Social Competencies", Wed., Jan. 25, evening, location TBD.
Collaboration with the Parent Engagement Network (PEN) on PEN’s Stress and Anxiety Symposium—“Rethink + Reset + Refresh”. BVGT board member Jenny Hecht, licensed clinical social worker with expertise in giftedness, is working to provide presentations on distress tolerance and giftedness and stress.
Parent Liaison Update

BVGT’s Parent Liaison Network is comprised of parent volunteers from area schools. These liaisons work with school partners (e.g., TAG advisors, principals, teachers, guidance counselors) to support BVGT connections and a range of activities that serve gifted students, educators, and families. In this section, we’ll feature activities and events that reflect this valuable work—and invite you to steal ideas!

Next Meeting:
Thurs., Jan. 26, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., BVSD Education Center, Crescent Room, 6500 Arapahoe, Boulder
To get involved or to learn if your school has a parent liaison, please contact Kristin Kusmierek at parents@bvgt.org.

From BVGT co-liaisons, Janine Frank and Lynne Berg, Peak to Peak Charter School:
Peak to Peak recently held an "Executive Function Night" for TAG parents. It was a fantastic way for parents to get together and openly discuss a topic that's important to them. The program was led by Tracy Cloninger, Peak to Peak's Tag Educational Advisor, and supported by our liaisons who coordinated and provided refreshments. Now we're talking about making it a more regular event with book discussions.

From BVGT liaison, Darcy Fan, Manhattan School for Arts and Academics:
Manhattan recently held a TAG Parent Coffee, hosted by TAG advisor Phyllis Ashe and supported by BVGT liaison Darcy Fan and other parents. The morning event, with breakfast refreshments, provided information on TAG programming at Manhattan—including TAG lunch, TAG seminar for independent work, and new robotics enrichment activities—as well as face-to-face introductions to the TAG advisor and other parents of TAG students. Michelle DuBois, BVSD Instructional Specialist in Gifted Education, offered information about school district TAG resources; Kristin Kusmierek, president of BVGT, presented other local resources.

Around Town and Beyond

Of course, BVGT is not the only resource relevant to educators and families of high potential youth—nor should it be! Most of our members are interested in building a wide network of resources. We try to help by posting events and enrichment opportunities as we are able, and we assume that the adults in children’s lives will determine whether these activities are interesting and appropriate for them.

Please follow us on the BVGT Facebook page and visit the “Around Town” section of the BVGT website. We’ll provide the link at the bottom of this newsletter each issue.

Free and open events from the Adams 12 Gifted and Talented Parents Group (http://a12gtpg.wixsite.com/home):

Feb 2, 2017
Parents Meeting #3: Lisa van Gemert
Topic: TBD*
Time: 6:00 - 7:30 pm
Location: Adams 12 Educational Support Center (1500 East 128th Avenue, Thornton)
*You may recall that Lisa Van Gemert spoke on the “Perils of Perfectionism” in Boulder last year, sponsored by BVGT.

Around Town
for more local events of interest.

CAGT Legislative Day 2017, Feb 23, 2017
Registration open the first week of January.

Held the Thursday after Presidents' Day each February, Legislative Day allows students (grades 8 – 12) a unique opportunity to shadow a state legislator for the day. The application process opens the first week of January. There is also an adult component to the day, where gifted advocates have an opportunity to learn about current legislative initiatives that affect gifted children. For more info: http://www.coloradogifted.org/legislative

Beyond Giftedness XXIIII conference
Friday, Feb. 24, 2017
Arvada Center, Arvada, CO
Main conference 8 - 4 p.m.
Parent mini-conference 9:20 - 1 p.m.

Colorado Dabrowski Study Group for parents of gifted youth
Four Wednesday evening meetings beginning January 2017

Join Catherine Zakoian, MA, LPC, counselor and consultant to gifted children, families and organizations to learn and work towards a deeper understanding of Kazimierz Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration.
Build a strong grounding in this work, beyond the overexcitibilities. Allow this material to inform your own development, and your relationship with your gifted children, and their experiences of this world.
This is an on-going group that began with an Autumn 2016 session.
New members are welcome!

5:30-7:30 pm in Boulder
January 18
February 1 & 8
March 1

Early Birds Fee: $185 for registration on or before December 15, 2015.
$255 after December 15.

Call Catherine, 303-247-9001, for application and information. www.catherinezakoian.com

Book Reviews
BVGT book reviews are written by Jocelyn Gebhardt. Jocelyn is a founding board member of BVGT as well as an employee of the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver. She works in the Children's Books section and runs Story Time every Tuesday at 10:30 am -- Please feel free to stop by!

Hand in Hand cover
Hand in Hand, written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells

for ages just born on up
This loving picture book describes the nurturing relationship between parent and young child. Wells uses her brightly drawn illustrations to match her gently rhyming text to create a cosy narration that will calm the most unsettled among us. It starts with "Be my sky, my moon, my sun" and ends with "Be my lighthouse, my north star". A perfect gift for anyone, big or small, who has guided or been guided in the past or has that adventure in their future. A real treasure.

Yesterday cover
The Girl Who Saved Yesterday, written by Julius Lester, illustrated by Carl Angel

for ages 7ish on up
The Girl Who Saved Yesterday is a richly illustrated picture book, telling us a folk tale of Silence, a young girl raised by jungle trees, being returned to the village to find Yesterday. Although she does not understand her quest, she bravely climbs the mountain to find it. Trees do her bidding, she works to uncover the mystery, and together with the villagers such ends up celebrating their ancestors--their Yesterday. At the Tattered Cover, we shelve this book in the Folk and Fairy Tales--Africa section. At home it goes on the shelf I reserve for books intended for children old enough to let stories enter their ears and be heard. So well done!

shy cover
Shy, written and illustrated by Deborah Freedman

for ages 4 and up
When one is shy, it is much easier and safer to sit at home reading, and that is just how Shy has lived his life--up until he heard a REAL bird trilling--it was beautiful, then gone! Shy left home in search of his bird- and the land "was far more
wondrous than it ever looked in pictures". Just the perfect book to encourage the hesitant ones you know, who perhaps need a gorgeous book to boost them over the sill. A great conversation starter for the doubters!

Here are a few suggestions of terrific new mid-grade titles for those in the older-than-picture-book crowd. (Though you do know picture books are for everyone, right?)

New Mid-grade suggestions-
GirlWhoDrankMoon cover    FURTHERMORE-cover  Secret Keepers cover   green glasshoue cover
The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill

Furthermore, by Tahereh Mafi
The Secret Keepers, by Trenton Lee Stewart (author of The Mysterious Benedict Society series)
and Greenglass House, by Kate Milford, now in paperback

And two Young Adult suggestions, both being SO SO GOOD!
Sun is star cover   Everything cover
The Sun Is Also A Star
, and Everything, Everything--both by the amazing Nicola Yoon

I hope you find these suggestions helpful!

Co-President, BVGT
who just can't stop reading (and raving about) good books

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