The Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented

Kaleidoscope: Summer/Fall 2018

CAGT compass logo

A Message from the Co-Presidents


We are all gearing up for another exciting school year with CAGT!  The conference committee under president-elect Diana Caldeira has been doing a phenomenal job organizing a fantastic event this year, which will again be at the Loveland Embassy Suites on Oct 22 - 23.  See the article elsewhere in this issue for more info on this conference, including diverse guest speakers such as Temple Grandin and Tom Clynes! The committee recently selected from over 170 session proposals, and we were thrilled with both the quality and volume of the submissions.  

Our theme for this year’s conference is Putting the Pieces Together: Understanding Giftedness.  There are so many ‘pieces’ of gifted education that we need to consider -- our students can be high achieving and underachieving, they can be perfectionist or have low executive functioning skills, they can demonstrate asynchronous development, twice exceptionality, a variety of overexcitabilities, be gifted in academics, leadership, arts -- and can often display many of these various, seemingly conflicting, traits.  They come from various backgrounds, ethnic and cultural groups and locations. It is important that we as an organization consider these various pieces, the affective and academic, the interpersonal and intrapersonal, to best meet the needs of all gifted learners. I think the variety of our submissions and speakers at this year’s conference reflects that balance of the various ‘pieces’ of gifted education.

Additionally, we are all ‘pieces’ of CAGT, each with crucial roles to play for gifted ed.  Our organization has a variety of people with strong interests and backgrounds in the field, and we need to leverage this variety of talents to best advocate and serve gifted learners in our region.  Our legislative committee has done great work in ensuring consideration of gifted funding initiatives at the state level; our professional learning committee is seeking to broaden our learning opportunities beyond our conference, and our special populations committee is working to reach gifted learners among all populations.  We have a growing cadre of local and district affiliate groups who are doing meaningful work in educating about and advocating for gifted learners in their areas.

CAGT is a statewide organization, and we need to embrace and serve all of the regions across Colorado, which are all pieces of our puzzle.  We are aware that many view our organization as ‘metro-centric’, focusing around the front range and metro Denver area, and we are working to be more inclusive of the gifted programming needs across Colorado.  We are exploring increasing Executive Board membership to become more representational of our state, and to bring professional learning opportunities to our different regions, building upon the great work CDE has done with the Right 4 Rural Javits grant program.

Finally, CAGT is one of many state affiliates of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), and we are a piece in solving the puzzle of gifted education across the nation.  We are aligning with the work that NAGC is doing in its Giftedness Knows No Boundaries campaign (; #giftedminds).  This “See Me, Understand Me, Teach Me, Challenge Me” campaign helps to raise consciousness and advocate both policy and practice initiatives to recognize the various facets of giftedness and to better meet the needs of gifted learners in all populations.  Thank you for joining all of us across Colorado and the nation so we can put the pieces together to better understand and serve gifted learners!

Roger Dowd & Jennifer Barr

CAGT Co-presidents

CAGT’s 41st  Annual Conference Highlights

Please plan on joining us at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, Colorado on October 22 and 23, 2018 for over 70 learning and collaborating opportunities to help us in “Putting the Pieces Together: Understanding Giftedness”. We are honored to share amazing people and sessions with you all.

This year, we are very proud to welcome Temple Grandin as our Monday morning keynote presenter. Dr. Grandin will be opening our conference with her unique way of engaging her audience.  She became a prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. Today she is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She also has a successful career consulting on both livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare.  She has been featured on NPR (National Public Radio) and a BBC Special – "The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow". She has also appeared on National TV shows such as Larry King Live, 20/20, Sixty Minutes, Fox and Friends, and she has a 2010 TED talk.  Articles about Dr. Grandin have appeared in Time Magazine, New York Times, Discover Magazine, Forbes and USA Today. HBO made an Emmy Award winning movie about her life and she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.

Monday afternoon, we celebrate our amazing state with Travis Branam and the Vocal COalition. VoCO pairs Colorado students with Colorado artists in unique, community-cultivating vocal music experiences. When Colorado artists of all genres collaborate with youth across the state using their own original songs as the tool for connection, generations and communities are brought together in profound and unexpected ways. Check out our 2017 TEDx MileHigh presentation to see the concept in action, and why we think it matters.  

On Tuesday morning, Tom Clynes will bring participants along on an adventure in extraordinary parenting, mentoring and educating. Tom shares his photography and story, “Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting and How to Build a Star”. Based on Tom’s book The Boy Who Played With Fusion, this picture-packed presentation (Tom is both a writer and photojournalist) will bring participants along on an adventure in extraordinary parenting, mentoring and educating.Through Taylor’s story, Tom explores the nurturing of genius, and the challenges and opportunities facing gifted children as well as parents and educators. Since prodigies develop and flower via the same developmental processes that all children experience, the lessons of Taylor Wilson’s story are universal—and sure to inspire and inform anyone who cares about children, and the future of science, and humanity.

Tuesday afternoon, two inspiring artists and speakers headline our afternoon. First, Alejandro Jimenez a poet, educator, and long-distance runner from Colima, Mexico. In 2011 he became the first Latino to win the Su Barrio Slam Poetry Competition. The following year he was a member of the SlamNUBA poetry team that placed 5th at the National Poetry Slam Competition in 2012. Alejandro works with youth in Denver and tries to laugh with them as much as possible.What assumptions do we make about others based on their gender or ethnicity? When Alejandro Jimenez first learned about the Hispanic stereotype of machismo, he was shocked. Was he doomed to a life of rage and aggression? In this inspiring talk and poem, he explores what it means to forge your own identity.

Next, Assetou Xango, presents, “Exceptional or Expelled: An honest talk about how racial and socioeconomic disparities are for the gifted and talented". Assetou Xango is a poet, community activist, documentary filmmaker, teacher, and mentor born and raised in Denver. She founded poetry venues in Denver and San Francisco, and, as a member of Deadly Pens and SpeakOut, Assetou has performed worldwide and was featured on HBO.

We look forward to reconnecting with you for The Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented 41st conference at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, Colorado on October 22 and 23, 2018.  Help us celebrate our gifted learners and educators with “Putting the Pieces Together: Understanding Giftedness”.

Diana Caldeira

CAGT President Elect and 2018 Conference Chair



CAGT News & Events...

Leadership Forum registration is open!

This professional event is co-sponsored with the Colorado Department of Education and will be held Tuesday morning, October 23, 2018. Leadership Forum is an extended session inviting leaders in education to engage in conversation on important issues facing gifted education. It is also time for district teams to gather for collegial discussion during the conference. This year's Leadership Forum guest speaker is Bryan Goodwin, CEO of McREL International, presenting "Flip the Switch with Student Curiosity". We encourage administrators, coordinators, directors and GT leaders throughout the state to attend this informative and inspiring event. Click here for more information and registration.                           

CAGT Leaders in Action Scholarship applications are now available!

CAGT in collaboration with the Foundation for Gifted and Talented, is proud to offer the Leaders in Action Scholarship! This scholarship is designed to support current principals in creating a stronger gifted program within their school. If you are a current principal and are interested in this incredible opportunity to attend the 2018 CAGT Conference and Leadership Forum for free, please click here for more information and to apply.

CAGT Leadership Awards are open for nominations!

CAGT in collaboration with CDE's Office of Gifted Education will present the 2018 Leadership Awards in the following categories: the George T. Betts Inspiration Award, Parent of the Year, Educator of the Year, Administrator of the Year, Special Advocate of the Year, and the Lifetime Achievement Award at CAGT's 41st annual conference. This year the award winners will be honored at our inaugural Awards Evening, Monday Oct. 22nd. For more information, awards criteria, and to nominate teachers, parents, administrators and community members please click here.

Parent Institute registration is open!

On Monday evening, October 22, 2018, please join us for the Parent Institute at our 41st  Annual CAGT Conference: "Putting the Pieces Together: Understanding Giftedness". This is a time for parents, guardians and educators interested in gifted children to come together to hear national and local experts share their knowledge and answer some of your questions. For more information please click here.  



2Days of 2E Virtual Conference

With Understanding Comes Calm, LLC. will be hosting a virtual conference on October 26th-27th. The conference will unfold one speaker at a time and will be available to purchase and watch for up to six months. Educators are offered free credit through the University of Connecticut upon registration, and group discounts are available.

In order to make the conference as meaningful and impactful as possible the conference is addressing needs through three avenues: Content, Community and Collaboration. Register here.


CONTENT from Renowned Speakers



Julie Skolnick



Cycle for Success: Parenting and Teaching 2e



Edward Amend



Misdiagnosis and Missed Diagnosis



Stephen Chou






Susan Baum

Robin Schader



Strength-Based and Talent-Focused Approach



Dan Peters



Make Your 2e Worrier a Warrior



Lisa Van Gemert



Addressing Perfectionism



Donna Y. Ford



Understanding, Preventing, and Reversing Underachievement Among 2e Students



Joseph Renzulli

Sally Reis



Schoolwide Enrichment and Talent Development



Bobbie Gilman



Academic Advocacy for 2e Children



Jonathan Mooney



Normal Sucks




Raising and teaching gifted and 2e kids can be lonely. During the conference there are  discussion forums, one per session topic, where our experts will answer questions from time to time and parents/teachers/clinicians can communicate, share ideas, connect and ask questions.


There are many amazing resources out there for gifted and 2e families, teachers and practitioners. Our virtual Exhibitor Hall is open to the public for free - no conference registration required!



Approaching Diversity Through Literature

 Dr. Bob Seney

Professor Emeritus/Gifted Studies

Mississippi University for Women


There are many ways to enlarge your child’s world.  Love of books is best of all.

Jacqueline Kennedy

We must accept that diversity in our classrooms is no longer the exception but the norm.  This leads us to several questions: How do we build empathy and understanding of our diverse world in all of its elements of diversity?  How do we help our learners walk in someone else’s shoes? How do we help our learners learn the cultures of their classmates who are not like them?   These are only three of the questions that we must address if we are to seriously consider the diversity in our schools, in our cities, in our nation, and in our world.  This is especially important for our gifted learners because of heighten sensitivities. Gifted individuals genuinely feel the inequities and injustices that often exist because of a lack of understanding of diversity.  

One approach to responding to this need is through literature.  Books provides a safe and highly appropriate vehicle for exploring diversity in all of its forms.   By using a strength of most gifted learners, reading, we can bring the world with all its diversity into the classroom through literature.  Through books, we can address the issues of diversity in all its forms.

In responding to this need, teachers have asked me “Just how do we go about addressing diversity and what are some guidelines in selecting appropriate materials and literature.”  This is my response. In my opinion, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has taken the lead in this area. A visit to their website is most helpful [].  NAEYC’s Four Goals of Anti-Bias Education provide an excellent starting place:

Goal 1: Each child will demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities.

Goal 2: Each child will express comfort and joy with human diversity; accurate language for human differences, and deep, caring human connection.

Goal 3: Each child will increasingly recognize unfairness, have language to describe unfairness, and understand that unfairness hurts.

Goal 4: Each child will demonstrate empowerment and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and /or discriminatory actions.

National Association for the Education of Young Children

These Goals provided the basis in creating my Guidelines for Selecting Appropriate Literature and Materials That Address Diversity:

  1. First, ask yourself: Can all children in my classroom find themselves in my classroom book collection?  Do the books support every child’s family, race identity, cultural identity, home language, etc.?

    1. Avoid tokenizing, stereotyping and other tourist curricula errors.

    2. Use criteria in selecting any good literature:

      1. Interesting stories

      2. A delightful use of language and art

      3. Age appropriate

      4. For Gifted Readers: appropriate challenge.

    3. Points in selecting literature addressing diversity, look for:

      1. Books that reflect accurately all the children and staff in your program;

      2. Books that reflect a range of economic groups performing all types of work: working class, professionals, work in the home, and work outside of the home;

      3. Books that reflect children and adults from various racial and ethnic identity groups in your community;

      4. Books that reflect people with disabilities;

      5. Books that reflect diverse family structures;

      6. Books that reflect diversity of gender roles, racial and cultural back grounds, and special needs;

      7. Books that present people, past and present, who have made a difference in social justice and building acceptance of diversity;

      8. Books that are written by authors of the same race/cultural identity, etc. as the subject of the book.

  2. Make sure you have a variety of books that depict each area of diversity. I am creating Lists of books that address diversity.  They are available by emailing me. I would be especially interested in any books that you have found helpful in your classroom.  Again, email me.

In addressing diversity, we must have some serious discussions and one important area that each teacher must address is his/her own biases to insure equitable treatment and understanding of ALL students.  We now acknowledge that diversity includes a broad arrange of factors and dimensions: race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, other ideologies, and family make-up.  Our classroom libraries must address all of these areas of diversity. We owe it to our students.


Alex.TheStoryGuy (April 15, 2017).  Promoting diversity & equity through children’s literature.  [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Daniels, S. & M. Piechowski (Eds.) (2009).  Living with intensity. Scottsdale, AZ: Great Potential Press.

Derman-Sparks, L. & J. O Edwards (2010).  Anti-Bias education for young children and ourselves. Washington D.C.: NAEYC.

Edwards, S. (2018).  Ten tips for selecting multicultural books for reading instruction. Retrieved from

Suvansri, B. (2017). Diverse literature helps students discover social justice.  Retrieved from

University of Oregon Diversity Committee (2017) University of Oregon’s definition of diversity.  Retrieved from




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