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Finding Other Treasure Hunters: The Quest to Unlock Gifted Potential

When I offer orientation sessions for families new to our gifted program, I hand out small tubs of playdough labeled ‘Potential’ as an analogy – your child’s potential has been identified and is inside this container.

Your child might take their potential out and model it into something amazing. Your child might leave the lid on, and we’ll think, “What a shame, they have so much potential”. Other children will take the lid off, but leave the potential inside to dry into a hard ball. The goal of this token gift is to personify the new journey you have as a family.

Getting the news that your child has been identified as gifted can trigger a rush of feelings. Sometimes you feel pride, enjoying the confirmation that your child is intelligent. Sometimes a gifted identification can raise confusion or worry – you might ask yourself what this means or worry about what you need to do. You might even feel lonely and wonder who else you can talk to about this. One of the most meaningful reasons to join a parent group or attend a gifted conference is to find other parents who have found themselves in the same boat as you.

When a gifted student experiences a class with similar ability peers, teachers often report seeing relief on their faces as if they are thinking, “I have finally found my people.” Parents and family members supporting gifted students deserve to find their people too! Raising any child has its ups and downs, but adding giftedness to the equation can be an obstacle a parent might not intuitively know how to navigate. This year’s Arizona Association for the Gifted and Talented Parent Institute theme is “Revealing the Treasure within our Gifted Children.” Our goal for Parent Institute 2023 is to find ways to support our kids in taking their potential playdough out to make the most amazing thing possible.

We will provide some resources, strategies, and tips to help parents and families explore the gifts their child possesses, but also the opportunity to connect with other families searching for the treasure. There is nothing more powerful than speaking with a parent of a gifted child who is living a similar struggle as you or who might be able to suggest a solution that works for their child. The sharing of stories, resources, emails, and just a reassuring smile works wonders.

This year’s AAGT Parent Institute will feature a panel of students who will share their experiences as gifted students, a panel of parents of gifted students, presentations on topics related to supporting your gifted child, and breakout sessions to choose from based on your interests. We hope you will join us in supporting our gifted learners and take the opportunity to connect with other families like yours. See you on September 9, 2023, from 10 am-2 pm at the Phoenix Coding Academy.

Rowe has over 20 years teaching experience and she is currently the Gifted Coordinator at Washington Elementary School District

Originally, Rowe is from Cleveland, Ohio and she has lived in Arizona since 1995. My bachelor’s degree is in Journalism from Arizona State University and my masters degree is in Elementary Education from Cambridge College (Boston). Rowe completed my doctorate in organizational leadership with an emphasis on K-12 education. Her dissertation topic was how teachers meet gifted students’ academic needs in regular classrooms.

In my free time, Rowe loves to spend time with her husband and two sons. As a family they love to camp and ride ATVs during the fall and winter and visit San Diego in the summer. In addition, Rowe enjoys reading skiing and traveling to exotic places.

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