Register to access event portal and session recordings through February 28, 2021!

2021 Conference Testimonials

I always come away from the conference with renewed inspiration and a desire to do what I can to help strengthen our gifted program at our schools as well as the education of all our students

Thank you for adapting and making the annual conference still happen! 🙂

The speakers and presenters were exceptional. Now to go forth and do something with all that I learned!

The range of topics discussed was impressive and I look forward to watching the on demand sessions and the recordings of the sessions I missed.

Registration Fees


Registration for the event portal and access to recordings will remain open until February 28, 2021.
  • AAGT Member All Access Pass

  • $250
  • Your registration includes:

    • access to event web or mobile app through July 31, 2021
    • access to all breakout sessions recordings
    • up to 41 hours of gifted endorsement/profession development
  • Non-Member All Access Pass

  • $325
  • Your registration includes:

    • access to event web or mobile app through July 31, 2021
    • access to all breakout sessions recordings
    • up to 41 hours of gifted endorsement/profession development
Thank You Silver Event Sponsors
Thank You Gold Event Sponsors
Thank You Bronze Event Sponsors
Keynote Speaker

Dr. Jann Leppien

Climbing the Ladder: Strategies for Ascending Intellectual Demand

At the forefront of gifted education is the narrow ridge of maintaining a standard of academic excellence while simultaneously increasing equity in access. As we expand the access of gifted programming to be more equitable, we must provide our diverse students with opportunities to learn that better prepare them for the increasing intellectual demand. In this session we will discuss practical methods and strategies for supporting students as they tackle challenges and curriculum of increasing intellectual demand.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Susan Baum

Cognitive Diversity and Gifted Education: The dilemma of the gifted child with a uniquely wired brain.

Unfortunately, the common view of who is gifted and how those students should be served is myopic and limits the ways we identify and nurture giftedness. Through case studies, we will come to understand the gifts and talents of those bright students with ADHD, Dyslexia, ASD. We will explore hurdles to their identification and appropriate program development. Finally, we will see what happens when these youngsters are given opportunities for talent development.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

The Promise of Equity for ALL!

During this keynote, speaker will share the global benefits of developing equitable gifted & advanced learner programs for all populations and how these benefits can help shape and reach broader diversity, equity & inclusion goals in all school districts. Keynote message will focus on the importance of setting high expectations for all students, regardless of culture, language, race, and income backgrounds; enabling educators to become better prepared to search for & nurture talent in all communities; and how more equitable programs will improve overall outcomes for public schools across the state, nation and around the world.

Informative and Engaging

Breakout Sessions

LIVE Sessions are scheduled for Friday, February 5 with opportunity to engage with presenters. Recorded sessions will be uploaded the week of February 9. ON DEMAND Sessions will be pre-recorded and available in the event portal on February 1st. ALL Session recordings will be available in the portal through July 31.

  • The 4rs: Culturally Responsive Curriculum Framework for Gifted Learners

    Dr. Joy Lawson Davis

    Davis’ framework for rigorous culturally responsive curriculum will be discussed during this session with practical strategies that educators can adapt to meet the framework’s goals of addressing relationships, rigor, representation & relevancy in the teaching & learning process for all gifted & advanced learner programs.

  • Gifted but won’t Produce: Strategies to Ignite the Reluctant Writer

    Dr. Susan Baum

    Many bright students who are twice exceptional have difficulty putting their ideas in writing. In this session we will identify the reasons why writing can be problematic and offer practical strategies to for 2e students to become authors and producers.


  • Learning to Think, Thinking to Learn: Strategies to Promote Deeper Thinking, Inquiry, and Reasoning

    Dr. Jann Leppien

    A focus on developing thinking skills allows students to take charge of their own learning, deepen their understandings, and become more engaged. To cultivate student thinking and alertness to cognition requires tools and strategies for educators to use in their classrooms. This session will focus on the varied practices/strategies/and routines that can be used to deepen understanding and foster the desire for students to make their thinking visible as they interact with peers. Participants will work on developing learning prompts that escalate the level of critical thinking and enhance student discourse as they interact with meaningful content and engage in deeper learning.

  • Because, Not Despite: Leveraging Student Assets to Change the Underrepresentation Narrative in Gifted Education

    Colin Seale, Founder ThinkLaw

    Underrepresentation of BIPOC students in gifted education persists nationally, even for concerned leaders who are committed to addressing this disparity. Talent development programs in lower grades is an increasingly common strategy to increase identification rates for these underrepresented populations. However, the deficit framing of this approach may limit its effectiveness by seeing their giftedness as something that must be developed rather than an innate asset. To help educators understand how to unleash these unique qualities to fit into our constructs of who a gifted student is, this powerful, but practical workshop provides three strategies help educators leverage BIPOC gifted children’s “because, not despite” assets.

  • Top 10 Strategies for Successful Communication Between Parents and Educators of 2e Students

    Julie Skolnick, M.A., J.D., Founder of With Understanding Comes Calm, LLC

    Educators and parents often struggle with twice exceptional children. Frustrated teachers and parents experience self-doubt and their self-confidence is often compromised. Emotions and ego can get in the way of collaborative communication and effective strategies. This session provides the top 10 strategies that encourage meaningful interactions for educators and parents of 2e students.

  • Ensuring Equity in ELA: Metacognitive Strategies

    Nicole Belden, Teacher of the Accelerated Learner, Cartwright School District
    Cathy Field, Gifted Resource Teacher, Cartwright School District

    Walk away with metacognitive strategies that you can implement tomorrow! Explore specific ways to engage students as readers and writers in metacognitive practices that ensure equitable instruction for all gifted learners. These versatile strategies can be used in any content area to build strong readers and writers.

  • If You Don't See Me, How Will You Serve Me?

    Karen Brown, Director of Gifted and Accelerated Learning in Scottsdale Unified School District

    Focus on cultivating potential in our underserved populations, promote equity and excellence for learners often left behind! Learn proactive strategies to identify evidence of potential and confront issues that hinder identification of underserved gifted learners. Know your underserved gifted learners AND what they need to reach for the stars!

  • Inquiring Minds: Using Good Questions to Promote Inquiry

    Erik M. Francis, M.Ed., M.S

    What is the difference between inquiry and good questioning? How could good questions be used to prompt and promote inquiry-based learning experiences? Learn how to rephrase the learning intention of academic standards and learning targets into good questions that will engage and encourage to demonstrate different levels of thinking and understand and use their depth of knowledge in different and deeper contexts.

  • Math + Creativity = Equitable Learning for All

    Shirley Fortenbaugh, Kendall Hunt Consultant

    Mathematics is rarely taught as a subject of creativity. What does math instruction look like when it is taught with the idea of promoting creativity? How does creativity foster an equitable learning environment? Workshop participants will investigate these questions and explore ways to promote mathematical creativity in their classrooms.

  • SOCIAL JUSTICE: The Culturally Responsive Teacher


    Equity. Social justice. Diversity. These are three of the most compelling topics being discussed today in congressional rooms, boardrooms, and family rooms across our country. Using the acrostic R.E.S.P.O.N.D., the discussion in this breakout session will cover seven essential components and incorporations necessary in creating culturally responsive gifted students who, in turn. will become culturally responsive global leaders and neighbors.

  • The Arts as Activism: Social Justice in Music and Theater

    David Simmons, Founder and Executive Director of The UBU Project

    During this engaging, interactive arts integration presentation the participants will explore events in local, national, and global culture as they relate to Social Justice/Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Join us and discover how you can engage the arts to be part of the solution by learning to celebrate and embrace our differences and similarities.

  • Empowered to Learn: Providing Equity with Choice and Voice

    Aimee Sulit, Ed.D., District Gifted Coach for Scottsdale Unified School District.

    Research shows that students’ zip codes may be more influential in their gifted identification than scores in reading or math. This interactive session provides educators with specific strategies and online resources for interrupting the cycle of underrepresentation and creating an environment where ALL students are stretched to learn.

  • Technology Infused Learning: Invigorate Your Practice & Empower Student Creativity

    ElizaBeth Warner, M.Ed, NBCT is the Gifted Program Mentor for the Paradise Valley Unified School District
    Eryn Frank, M.Ed, is a district beginning mentor for the Paradise Valley Unified School District

    Recharge your practice with ideas and strategies that guarantee to ignite student engagement. Revive enrichment menus with technology tasks that spark student creativity. Refigure and reorganize your toolbox to include new interactive technology tools that equip gifted scholars to project their voice, encourage productive discourse, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

  • Fostering Creativity In and Outside of the Classroom

    Matthew Zakreski, PsyD

    Creativity is the mark of an engaged learner. But what is creativity? How do we foster it? And how do we allow our students to be creative while also following best practices in education and assessment? This interactive, hands-on webinar is about understanding what creativity is (and what it isn’t) and how to use it effectively in and outside the classroom. We will discuss manifestations of creativity, skills to make space for creativity in assessment, class discussion, and social-emotional learning.

  • A World of Potential: Gifted English Language Learners

    Kate Garis, Gifted Education Specialist, Cartwright School District
    Cathy Field, Gifted Resource Teacher, Cartwright School District

    How can you develop your students’ gifted potential when they are still learning English? Discover how to leverage your students’ gifts to support their language-learning needs. Join us in this engaging workshop and learn language-supportive gifted strategies you can apply in your classroom tomorrow!

  • The Elephant in the Room: Identifying Underrepresented Populations in Gifted Education

    Kimberly Lansdowne, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Herberger Young Scholars Academy
    Dr. Jack A. Naglieri, Ph.D., Research Professor at the University of Virginia and Senior Research Scientist at the Devereux Center for Resilient Children

    It is well documented that students of color are underrepresented in gifted programs. Researchers estimated 700,000 minority students could have been identified but were not. Why not? Despite well-meaning efforts to achieve diversity, the Language demands of some ability tests can block students with limited background knowledge and English skills.

  • Front Loading Enrichment to More Equitably Identify

    Jason S. McIntosh, Ph.D., Gifted Services Coordinator for the Washington Elementary School District

    African American, Native American, and Hispanic students have been underrepresented by up to 40% in gifted programs for decades. The reasons for this will be explored and a proven strategy called front loading outlined. The sequence is simple: front load with enrichment, watch and support, and THEN measure and identify. Don’t get the cart before the horse, especially if the cart is still being built.

  • “They’re All Going to Find Out I’m a Fraud!” Combatting Impostor Syndrome in the Gifted Brain

    Matthew Zakreski, PsyD

    Impostor Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that causes people to doubt their accomplishments and fear being “discovered” as a fraud. It is very common within the gifted population and has seriously negative impacts. This session will explore the maintaining factors of this Syndrome and outline strategies to undo it.

  • Creating Synchronous and Asynchronous Online Learning Experiences for Gifted Students

    Jason S. McIntosh, Ph.D., Gifted Services Coordinator for the Washington Elementary School District

    Due to the pandemic, virtual learning was thrust upon us whether we were ready for it or not. This session will provide an overview of the SAMR model for creating online learning experiences and offer suggestions, tools, and strategies for creating engaging online learning experiences for gifted students.

  • Tech Tools for Gifted Learner Engagement, Assessment, and Accountability

    Stephanie Shamy, Laguna Elementary, K-5 Gifted Specialist
    Laura Boone, SUSD, Technology Coach

    Join us – a gifted teacher and tech coach – learn how we used the COVID19 shutdown to find innovative ways to engage students virtually and f2f. We’ll share what we did, how we did it and you’ll leave with new ideas to take right back to class.

  • Enhancing Transformational Giftedness in Urban Gifted Learners

    Dr. Renu Singh, Program Director of the Gifted & Talented Academy at Maryvale High School

    Empowering equity in gifted education by enhancing transformational giftedness in the most vulnerable urban public school of Arizona. It is a myth that gifted learners do not need support and they should be allotted all advanced placement courses irrespective of their gifts and Talent. The story of PXU Gifted & Talented Academy is to bring appropriate opportunities for diverse gifted learners to succeed in high school and beyond via holistic education with focus on transformational giftedness.

  • Building Equity in the Gifted Classroom with Purposeful Discussion

    Rebekah A. West Keur M.Ed, Middle School Gifted Specialist for the Paradise Valley Unified School District
    Pamela Fulk, Middle School Gifted Specialist and Instructional Coach for the Paradise Valley Unified School District

    To promote equity, gifted students need opportunities to develop communication skills to become critical-thinkers and contributing members of a global family. This research-based, constructivist approach to equitable discussions will engage, deepen learning, and build communication skills, helping them develop their intellectual capacity for self awareness and the perspectives of others.

  • Empowering Equity in Gifted Education: Identification must include assessment of the typical social, emotional, physical, cognitive and altruistic development of highly-profoundly gifted students

    Vanessa R. Wood, MA Gifted Education, Co-Founder, The International Gifted Consortium (IGC), Research Center for The Highly-Profoundly Gifted

    Dr. Krystyna C. Laycraft, MA Science, PhD Education, IGC Contributor, Founder of The Center for Chaos Studies in British Columbia

    In this session, we will summarize the social, emotional, physical, cognitive and altruistic characteristics, behaviors and development “typical” of highly-profoundly gifted children and adolescents. And we will examine the correlations of the characteristics, behaviors and development of overexcitabilities from Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration – based on a historical review of the literature. Attendees will be empowered with an inclusive understanding of giftedness and the ability to translate characteristics, behaviors and development into equity in gifted education, identification and support.

  • Brave New Gifted Worlds: Access, Equity and Support in the Time of COVID-19

    Morgan Appel serves as Assistant Dean for Education and Community Outreach at UC San Diego Extension

    Brave New Gifted Worlds presents a synopsis of equity in GATE under COVID-19, offering unique insights, strategies and resources to support students at home. Access/ equity (resources and hybrid/remote instruction); bandwidth (time and processing); mental and physical well-being (including chronic / toxic stress); impostor syndrome/perfectionism are explored in detail.

  • Creating a Positive Classroom Culture for Twice-Exceptional Students

    ElizaBeth Warner, M.Ed, NBCT is the Gifted Program Mentor for the Paradise Valley Unified School District
    Dr. Karen Hudson – Paradise Valley Unified School District

    Social and emotional needs are paramount to the well-being of all students and foundational for achievement. Twice-exceptional children thrive from the intentional social and emotional curriculum and strategies that address peer relationships, perfectionism, asynchronous development and identify situational stressors. Explore how to lead gifted learners to apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to understand and manage emotions, how to set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

  • Bring Equity and Diversity to Literacy with Newbery Medal Winners

    Susan Flores, 4th grade self contained teacher in Paradise Valley Unified School District

    Newbery Medal books teach, enrich, and expand the intellectual curiosity of young scholars. Their themes demonstrate that humans have similar emotions and feelings, regardless of cultural backgrounds. Through read-alouds or novel studies, consider how to integrate cross-curricular content with quality literature that is relatable and equitable for your students.

  • STEM-ulating Activities for People and the Planet

    Sara Jenkins, Retired, 30+ Years Teaching in Arizona
    Laura Short, Education Program Associate at Population Education

    Young people care a great deal about the environment and want to feel empowered to be knowledgeable stewards and problem-solvers. This is especially true for gifted students who thrive on creative problem solving and are able to grasp the complexities of today’s environmental issues. This session combines students’ emerging STEM skills with issues of sustainability that are applicable to science, math, social studies and language arts. In this interactive, virtual session, the presenters will lead participants in a series of hands-on activities – role-playing simulations, small-group problem solving, data analysis, mathematical modeling and representation — and discussion that cover a range of sustainability topics including human population and natural resource use trends, impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, climate and fresh water. They will discuss how to differentiate the presented lessons for different kinds of learners in the middle school classroom, and provide tools for facilitating the lessons both in person and in the virtual classroom.

  • Developing a Concept-Based Instructional Environment

    Dr. Brian Scott

    The process for creating concept-based units will presented through a slide presentation. Participants will get an overview of the steps: 1) mapping the subject area objectives, 2) gaining an understanding of concepts with examples, and 3) how to create Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings. All these ideas are based in the works of H. Lynn Erickson, Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Carol Ann Tomlinson, Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins, Benjamin Bloom, and Norman Webb. Through this experience participants will understand what kinds of elements go into designing a concept-based unit. It is intended to have opportunities for participants to have moments to process the information being shared with others in the group at various points during the presentation. An opportunity for Q and A will be offered at the end.

  • Standard-Based Escape Rooms & Forensic Scenes

    Ben Bache, PBL Project content manager

    Participants in this session will be introduced to the related strategies of Escape Rooms and Forensic Scenes, which help students to develop critical and creative thinking while reviewing standard-based content. Attendees to this virtual session will also be provided with dozens of FREE digital Escape Rooms and Forensic Scenes that they can use throughout the school year.

  • Gifted Enrichment on a Shoestring Budget

    Nicole Belden, Teacher of the Accelerated Learner, Cartwright School District
    Ann Hennig, Gifted Resource Teacher, Cartwright School District

    Are you looking for unique, equitable enrichment opportunities for your gifted learners? Walk away with field-tested activities and a program implementation template to meet the needs of your gifted students beyond the classroom. Build a sense of community with your gifted learners while simultaneously providing engaging learning opportunities for learning.

  • Let's Play!

    ElizaBeth Warner, M.Ed, NBCT is the Gifted Program Mentor for the Paradise Valley Unified School District
    Eryn Frank, M.Ed, is a district beginning mentor for the Paradise Valley Unified School District

    Let’s Play!
    Students and TEACHERS love games…video games, board games, card games …
    Explore how gameplay increases student engagement, reinforces curriculum content, and promotes a positive classroom culture. Gameplay stimulates creativity, builds critical thinking, sparks intellectual curiosity & facilitates learning by doing. A variety of digital games and collaboration strategies will be shared and investigated.

  • Improv-ing Social Skills: Using Improv Games to Develop Social Skills in Gifted Students

    Matthew Zakreski, PsyD

    I need an occupation… a place… and two different types of aquatic mammals. Sound strange? Not in Improv! Improvisational acting (or Improv) games are a fun and effective way to teach and shape social skills. These games rely on quick thinking, verbal skill, creativity, and enthusiasm. Research has indicated that Improv games are effective in teaching prosocial behavior, emotional resilience, cognitive flexibility, failure tolerance, and sustained social engagement.

  • You Don’t Need to be a “Genius” to Understand Gifted Individuals

    Matthew Zakreski, PsyD

    Gifted and twice-exceptional students are an underserved and misunderstood population within clinical and school psychology. Using psycho-educational data to inform diagnosis is a key skill for all practitioners, especially given how psychologists often find themselves in leadership positions. The “gifted brain” has aspects that are quantifiably different than neurotypical brains and those differences can manifest as challenging diagnostic considerations . This presentation will inform discussions on treatment, education, diagnosis, and day-to-day living.

  • Social Emotional Learning Through Arts Integration

    David Simmons: Founder, Creative-Executive Director of The UBU Project

    The UBU Project’s SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL Arts Integration Curriculum is built upon a solid foundation of: HOPE | RESILIENCE | SELF-COMPASSION | EMPATHY. Much like the Saturday morning cartoon Schoolhouse Rock™, UBU Project Residencies utilize performing arts skills and curricula to support and enhance the work already being done within your SEL/PBIS curriculum.

  • Creating Equitable Social Worlds

    Amy McDonald and Katrina Telles, Master Teachers

    This session is for teachers working with gifted children as well as school administrators and thought leaders committed to empowering students to be mindful and caring co-creators of their classroom and school cultures using the CosmoKidz system.