Boulder Valley Gifted and Talented, February 2017

Past the holiday exuberance, settled into the new year, and thinking less about transitions and more about getting the job done, we might find ourselves now in the thick of things. Parent-teacher conferences and too-early summer anticipations keep us looking forward, but I bet many of us feel like we’re just keeping up, trying to avoid getting swept away by the force of a school year in full swing.

Ironically, I’ve been reminded how small, unintentional things can impact the lives of young people, and I’m heartened. Decades ago I had a middle school librarian who played viola da gamba outside of school and helped me upgrade my clarinet when my parents knew little about my music study. I own that dear instrument still, as I coach my daughter in similar pursuits. In fourth grade, my teacher loaned me her college literature book. I hauled that tome around with pride, if not great accomplishment. She had no way of knowing I’d maintain a crisp memory of that frayed cloth cover, steel blue, containing intriguing fonts. I’d major in English a young lifetime later. Small presents of time, attention, and passions.

So, in the midst of trying to be the best we can be on behalf of our young people, don’t be afraid to acknowledge we’re not perfect. We don’t have to be. The important part is that we keep making the effort, whether with expertise or informed guesses or just heart. You won’t really know the impact, and the small things count.  

Best wishes,
Kristin Kusmierek
BVGT, co-president

Important Information From BVSD

We are seeking input from parents and guardians of TAG students!

What: TAG programming and services Focus Group
For: Interested parents/guardians of TAG identified students in BVSD
Where: BVSD Education Center, 6500 Arapahoe Road, Boulder. In the Crescent Room of the Professional
Development Center (enter through the east security doors)
When: Tuesday, March 14th, 6:30 - 7:30 PM
Who: Led by a review team from the Colorado Dept. of Education, the focus group is a part of a formal review process of TAG programming and services that is called a “C-GER” (Colorado Gifted Education Review). The C-GER process is meant to provide helpful feedback and recommendations to build capacity among educators and educational systems that support gifted students. Questions? Contact marlys.lietz@bvsd.org 720-561-5149

Gratitude and Giving

If you are one of the many who has enjoyed the recent flurry of BVGT events, please consider becoming a BVGT member--if you've not already. It is your contribution that will help fund BVGT's programming for the balance of this school year and onward. 

BVGT is 100% volunteer-run, so your membership support goes to sustaining quality local programming as well as state-wide advocacy through the Colorado Association of Gifted and Talented (CAGT). In fact, you receive membership in both organizations for one membership fee ($40). For more information and a simple sign-up, please click here. Thank you!

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.
Winter Programming Recap

I am because

Slides now Available: Jenny Hecht Speaker Event

Thank you to everyone who attended our January 25th event—and tremendous thanks to Peak to Peak Charter School for offering a location and hosting us. Social worker Jenny Hecht spoke about how to help gifted children develop a positive understanding of their differences. Often, gifted kids struggle with social conformity issues and sensitivities that set them apart in their peer groups. Helping them to identify their differences allows them much needed support and understanding. Slides from this program are now available at www.bvgt.org.

See you at the next event!
Janine Frank and Jenny Hecht
BVGT Programming Committee

Attend 2017 BVGT events, and bring your friends.

Upcoming BVGT Events

2e: Twice Exceptional Film Viewing and Panel Discussion
Wed., March 8, 2017, 7 p.m., Summit Middle School, 4655 Hanover Avenue, Boulder

Please join us for a viewing of Thomas Ropelewski’s groundbreaking and award-winning documentary 2e: Twice Exceptional (54 minutes). The movie screening will be followed by Q & A with panelists, including special education experts, gifted educators, parents and students. Come learn more about the challenges and successes of this unique type of gifted learner. Find out how teachers and parents can engage these students’ curiosities and help them build meaningful and successful social and academic connections.

Our panel includes:
Marlo Payne-Thurman - Private 2e Consultant and Educator
Lauren Cleary - Psychotherapist and School Counselor at Stargate School for Gifted
Bobbie Gilman - Associate Director, Gifted Development Center
Michelle DuBois - TAG Instructional Specialist at BVSD

The panel will be moderated by Sennen Knauer, Interim Director of Student Success, Instructional Services & Equity Division, Boulder Valley School District.

Anxiety and Stress Symposium, Saturday, April 6, 2017, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Ascent Church, 550 McCaslin Blvd., Louisville

Please join us on Saturday, April 6, in support of the Parent Engagement Network's Anxiety and Stress Symposium, which will feature a variety of opportunities for attendees, including a keynote and a World Cafe facilitated by Rona Wilensky of Passageworks. The World Cafe is a supportive process for leading collaborative dialogue and knowledge-sharing within a larger group format. The symposium will also include mini-experiential breakout sessions led by various facilitators, including BVGT Board Member and Co-Programming Chair, Jenny Hecht, presenting "Take Hold of Your Mind: Effective Techniques for Distress Tolerance."

Anniversary Subcommittee

BVGT is turning 10! We’d like to honor this big anniversary in a fun and special way in the fall. Help us come up with ideas on how to honor our organization, while also bringing awareness to who we are and what we do. This could be a great fundraising and membership opportunity. Trivia night? Gala? Talent Show? We’d love to hear your ideas. Join our subcommittee, so we can start planning an amazing event! Contact Janine Frank at janine@netfrank.net.

Parent Perspectives—Reports, Ideas, and Thoughts from BVGT parent liaisons and others

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. 

Submitted by a TAG parent at Aspen Creek K-8 in Broomfield

Aspen Creek recently hosted a TAG Parent Mixer. Principal Tracy Stegall and TAG Coordinator Lisa McKercher held the event on a weekday evening in the library. Snacks and drinks were served. Parents picked one of six different articles, each about 3-4 pages long, all on TAG topics.

After sitting together with parents who had selected the same article to read, parents then picked a key paragraph and sentence that resonated for them personally. This gave parents a structure to follow which facilitated interactions. As an ice breaker, Tracy suggested parents discuss their own personal (not their child's) experience with the TAG world. This worked well because the event was about parents meeting other parents, and so by having the parents talk about themselves (as opposed to only their children), it created stronger connections. Parents then discussed their selected paragraphs and phrases with their table. Most people had selected different parts of the article, which created a rich tapestry of discussion. Finally, Tracy and Lisa asked each table what their key words were and created a word cloud from those words. That wordle is here:

 wordle (1)

The event was well conceived and executed, and new parent relationships were forged. It also created interesting conversations among parents after the event.

Around Town and Beyond

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.

The following is provided for your information and does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. As always adults are responsible for determining appropriateness of any activity or website for children. Please direct any questions directly to the host organization. 

CU Wizards February Show: "Biochemistry for Kids!" Saturday, February 25, 2017  9:30-10:30 a.m.
(Arrive by 9:15 to get good seats!), 
Cristol Chemistry Rm 140

Presented by CU Professors Deborah Wuttke and Dylan Taatjes.  This show will capture the imaginations and invigorates all senses! Lively, kid-friendly science demonstrations involving dramatic color changes, explosions and mysterious glowing gooey stuff that cannot necessarily be explained by current scientific understanding! Students learn about energy, chemical reactions, and pH while having heaps of fun! For students k-12 and families interested in learning about science!


Jeffco GT Parent Seminar, "Positive Advocacy for your Gifted Child's Needs"
Presented by Dr. Jenny Ritchotte, Monday, February 27, 2017, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

5th Floor Board Room, 1829 Denver West Drive, Building #27, Golden, CO 80401

For more info, see the Jefferson County Association for Gifted Children (JAGC) newsletter: http://www.jeffcogifted.org/index.php/newsletter


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!

In this newsletter, I am highlighting three non-fiction picture books to rave about. Picture books are a great way to introduce new subjects and ideas to kids, and illustrations that excite and captivate are crucial. These three books use three different illustrative techniques to engage the readers. Which will be your favorite?

Chopsticks sm
The Story of Chopsticks

Written by Ying Chang Compestine
Illustrated by YongSheng Xuan
This bilingual picture book tells the story of long ago China, when everyone ate with their hands. The youngest son of the Kang family, Kuai, never got enough to eat-- and he blamed it on the food being too hot to hold! The story unfolds with him grabbing two twigs from the firewood pile to spear his food first--without burning his fingers--and how the use of 'quick ones'-- what the family named the primitive chopsticks-- spread. What will the emperor think? Using cut paper design, which resembles stained glass, the illustrations burst with color and draw your eye to the beautiful details. Glorious!


I Dissent sm
I Dissent
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark
Written by Debbie Levy
Illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
This large, colorful picture book of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life (so far) has wonderfully realistic drawings splashed across the pages.  Showing that disagreeing does not make a person disagreeable, young Ruth perseveres when the odds of societal pressure are stacked against her. By the end I found myself cheering for her strength and fortitude. This book also highlights how one woman can have a loving family and a career if desired-- always a good message to promote. This is a visually--and emotionally--stimulating book. I love it!

Ada's ideas sm
Ada's Ideas
The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World's First Computer Programmer
Written and Illustrated by Fiona Robinson
What does a steam-powered flying horse have in common with an algorithm for an Analytical Engine? Both were dreams of Ada Lovelace. One was just that--a dream--and one came to fruition. Ada Lovelace had an unusual childhood, growing up in the 1800s. Her father was Lord Byron, a famous poet, known for his wild and reckless ways. Her mother was a mathematician and a wealthy, proper lady whose world was made up of "manners and numbers". This gorgeous picture book filled with watercolor illustrations cut out, layered and then photographed--sweeps us along through Ada's childhood, which was one of strict lessons and little play. We read of her bout with the measles that left her weak. We see Ada recover and enter society and meet important people of the time, including Mr. Charles Babbage, who had invented a steam-powered calculator. This is another stunning biography of a woman who broke the bounds of convention. Reading this book might inspire you or your reading buddy to dream big--it is amazing! I see something new each time I read it.

Happy reading!

Co-President, BVGT

 Quick Links: españolPrograms, Membership, Lending Library, Programs, Parent Liaison Network,  Around Town
 Like BVGT on Facebook for regular updates until our next newsletter!  You can also find BVGT on YouTubePinterest and Twitter.



Cvent - Web-based Software Solutions