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 Boulder Valley Gifted and Talented - Spring 2018 Newsletter

BVGT 10th Anniv Logo croppedPresident's Welcome 

On one hand, I could have sworn we just started this academic year. On the other, it’s been an adventure getting here. No matter, April/May can be challenging for those connected to schools and young people—with various culminations, capstones, celebrations, and the simple necessaries.

At BVGT we’ve concluded our Speaker Events to help give us all some Springtime space. Please take a moment with us: 

--to savor the rich experiences that might otherwise fly by now

--to reflect on the joyous moments of this school year

--to engage our gifted youth as we inhale, connect, find meaning, and pursue our best actions, passions, and satisfying purposes—despite the swirling activities and obligations.

Please find information on BVGT’s important year-end activities below. Incorporate us if you can, but if not, remember we’re here—and we’ll see you again soon.

Best wishes,
Kristin Kusmierek
BVGT, co-president

Vote CheckboxUpcoming Election for BVGT Board of Directors

BVGT Members will be invited to vote in the 2018-19 Board of Directors Election this Spring. You must be a current member to vote. All current BVGT members will be sent an email with the slate of executive board candidates and instructions on casting a ballot.

Please take a few minutes to anonymously vote in this election when the voting window opens, from April 23 through May 4 at midnight. If you are not currently a BVGT member, you can become a member by visiting our membership page. You must join by April 30 to be eligible to vote in this year's election. New memberships or renewals at this point in the year will extend through our next full membership year, expiring August 2019.

BVGT May Membership Meeting

If you are a current BVGT member, we’d love to have you attend our annual May Membership Meeting. We will be celebrating our accomplishments this school year, bidding a fond farewell to our outgoing board members, and welcoming aboard our newly elected officers as we look forward to the next chapter of BVGT.

BVGT May Membership Meeting
: Thursday, May 10, 2018
Time: 5-7 p.m.
Location: Louisville Alfalfa's Community Room, 785 E. South Boulder Road, Louisville

Join BVGT now if you are not already a member. You can make a difference in gifted education and gifted advocacy by being involved with BVGT.

Nannette McMurtry Event Recap
Submitted by Carol Hughes, BVGT Secretary and Parent Liaison, Coal Creek Elementary

Nannette McMurtry BVGTNannette McMurtry, Instructional Technology Coordinator for St. Vrain Valley School District, spoke to an audience of parents and educators April 4 at Louisville Middle School.

Ms. McMurtry discussed the importance of the parent-teacher-student relationship as it relates to technology. She explained that partnerships can be enriched through the use of classroom applications such as Schoology, Seesaw, and Google Keep, which easily facilitate personalized and more meaningful sharing and conversations between school and home in lieu of blanket emails and weekly folders.

Ms. McMurtry discussed ways that families and teachers can work together on digital ALPs, for example. She stressed the importance of embracing available technologies as more parents are part of the millennial generation, who generally rely more heavily on technology than previous groups of parents.

Beyond Giftedness Conference Recap
Submitted by Michelle Iturrate, BVGT Parent Liaison, Columbine Elementary

BeyondTerryJennysmallThe 25th Annual Beyond Giftedness Conference did not disappoint, but rather quite the opposite. Dedicated to founder Dorothy Knopper who passed away last year, the day was broken into relevant keynote addresses and breakout sessions.

Marlo Payne Thurman, Ph.D., spoke about "Different Brains: The Continuum of Exceptionality" using her wealth of experience, and Dr. Jim Delisle spoke about his new book, Doing Poorly on Purpose: Strategies to Reverse Underachievement and Respect Student Dignity, moving many of the audience to emotion with his passion.

The five breakout sessions were designed in such a way that attendees were given three dynamic options. Whether teacher, gifted expert, or new parent, there was an engaging and suitable presentation to be heard. Topics included, but were not limited to, how to nurture a child's social-emotional development via the Dabrowki lens, how to help 2E kids thrive, how to nurture overexcitabilities using literature, existential questions, and a useful mental health panel taking questions around giftedness.

A worthwhile day of intelligent discussion fueled by the beloved potato bar!

Parent Liaison Information

BVGT Parent Liaisons create linkages between BVGT and school communities. Liaisons meet roughly six times during the academic year to hear about BVGT events, learn about local educational trends and practices, and share info among parents of area schools.

Our final Parent Liaison meeting of this school year will be on Wednesday, May 2, 4:30-6 p.m., at the Meadows Branch Library, Boulder.

If you’d like more information—or to sign on as your school’s liaison—contact Kristin Kusmierek and Tricia Carpenter at

GT Events Around Town

Apply to join the Gifted Education State Advisory Committee

The Gifted Education State Advisory Committee (GE-SAC) seeks applicants who are interested in providing input about issues and strengths in gifted education. The GE-SAC also discusses timely topics with Colorado Department of Education staff to determine the impact on gifted students and families and to make recommendations.

GE-SAC is a council of citizens appointed by the State Board of Education and provides the board recommendations and information about ongoing and emergent needs related to the education of gifted learners.

Place of residence determines the applicant’s Congressional District for representation on GE-SAC.

Vacancies for the term 2018-21 are in the following Congressional Districts. The Boulder Valley School District is in District 2. Currently there is an opening in District 2 for a:

•             District 2 - Community member opening 

Applications are due Friday, April 20. Visit the Gifted Education Office's committees and networks webpage for more information and application details.

Please contact Kirsten Carlile at if you have any further questions. 

Kirsten Carlile
Program and Online Systems Consultant
Exceptional Student Services

Nominate amazing Colorado teachers and students for CAGT awards

This is a reminder of two opportunities you don't want to miss for CAGT Conference 2018!

2018 Colorado Scholars: 

The primary purpose of the Colorado Scholarship for Diverse Talent Development is to increase and support culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students' access to talent development opportunities through teacher training.
Find out more here.

2018 Distinguished Student Awards:

This awards program is designed to recognize distinguished achievement in academics, leadership, or the arts, in children ages 7-18.  Three children from the state of Colorado will be named CAGT Distinguished Students: one student for the Junior Division (ages 7-9), and one student for the Senior Division (ages 10-12), and one student for the Masters Division (ages 13-18).  All three students that are selected will receive a CAGT Certificate of Excellence and a $500 cash scholarship.
Find out more here.

Please submit your nominations for Colorado Scholars and Distinguished Students soon as deadlines are approaching!

Book Reviews
BVGT book reviews are lovingly submitted by Jocelyn Gebhardt. Jocelyn is a founding board member of BVGT and outgoing BVGT Co-President 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 a.m. at the Colfax Ave. location. Please feel free to stop by!

hello-hello     They Say Blue     You Hold Me Up

Hello Hello, Written and Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel, 2018

Simple words and concepts are satisfyingly paired with elegant drawings of birds and animals of all kinds in Hello Hello. The reader is carried along by the gloriously rhyming text, matching such great illustrations—a treat for the youngest audience, but truly enjoyed by the older crowd, too. Children see animals and body parts they can identify, as well as perhaps a few new to them.

We can all get behind the message summed up in the final pages:

"A world to see
A world to know
Where to begin?
Hello Hello"

This really is a wonderful book to read, re-read, and re-read again.
See something new each time!
So, so, so good!

They Say Blue, Written and Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, 2018

Now I know what it's like to see the world though the eyes of an artist.

Amazing, eye-opening, all-encompassing—I need better words to describe these watercolor illustrations that are lavish and, at the same time, minimal. Brush strokes sweep over the pages, as a young girl speaks in color, feelings, emotion, imagination, seasons.

I willingly dove into this book and unwillingly pulled myself out at the end—only to dive right back in again.
If you're lucky, you'll have a young one to share it with—but it will fill you up, regardless.
Nab a copy, and see what I'm talking about. It has so much to share with you!

You Hold Me Up, Written by Monique Gray Smith, Illustrated by Danielle Daniel, 2017

Starting with the dedication, You Hold Me Up is a very special book. Here is the dedication:
 "This book is written in the spirit of reconciliation and is dedicated to the children, families and staff of Aboriginal Head Start Programs,"
thus setting the tone for this direct, sincere and loving call out to the world.

Stylized illustrations and warm, genuine statements made on each page affirm positive relationships. I see these statements as springboards for discussions with children of all ages.

"You hold me up when you are kind to me" is the first statement, matched with a gentle picture of a mother in the kitchen, stirring a bowlful with two child helpers. That leads to pages involving siblings, multi-generational scenes, and friend-to-friend interactions. Then there is the ending, which is perfect. Just perfect.

I wish every child in the world had this book read to them by a loving reader. It gets me every. single. time. Can't recommend highly enough.

BVGT friends

I chose these three books especially for the emotional connections they made with me—but I give full credit to the art work, too. The children's books I like best have the magic combination of rich, meaningful words (even if they are silly!) and illustrations that are a perfect match. A rare bird—but these three nailed it!

I surely hope everyone has a relaxing, interesting, and satisfying summer—ideally filled with good books!

With gratitude,
Co-President, BVGT
Special thanks to fabulous Co-President Kristin Kusmierek 
and the incomparable BVGT Board

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