Press Release: AAGT TAKES THEIR 47TH ANNUAL GIFTED EDUCATION CONFERENCE VIRTUAL

PHOENIX, ARIZONA –  A global pandemic. Social issues. Virtual Classrooms. During a year when many people have felt disconnected, worried and unheard, the Arizona Association for Gifted & Talented (AAGT) is aware of disparities that have become more obvious than ever and we want to “Empower Equity in Gifted Education” during the 2021 Virtual 47th Annual Conference. Attendees will come together Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6 for two days of opportunities for learning, networking, and discovering new products and services. With affordable registration fees, access to 20+ recorded sessions for six months, participating in the AAGT Conference has never been more accessible.

“2020 has become a lens through which both current and historical disparities in gifted education have been more readily viewed. From economic disparities to the inequity of gifted identification across ethinic groups, the field of gifted education has a challenging road ahead in our striving to serve all of Arizona’s gifted students,” said AAGT President Stephanie Newitt. “AAGT is committed to being part of the solution and we can make the journey together. During the time of quarantine AAGT released the new Informs Series to support families and educators. During this time of uncertainty it is easy for gifted students and those who strive to support them to feel alone. That is why, now, more than ever, it is important for Arizona educators of the gifted to connect with each other and with specialists in the field. They need to feel supported and to have the necessary tools to support their students during these challenging times. We hope educators across the state will join us this year for our first ever virtual conference as we strive to ‘Empower Equity in Gifted Education.’” 

Empowering Equity in Gifted Education

The keynote speakers for the 2021 AAGT Virtual Conference were carefully selected for their work and expertise in diversity among our gifted population. 

“Climbing the Ladder: Strategies for Ascending Intellectual Demand”

Dr. Jann Leppein, Keynote Speaker

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.

Dr. Jann Leppien is the Margo Long Endowed Chair in Gifted Education and Professor in the Graduate Studies in Education at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. Whitworth’s Center for Gifted Education supports and develops policies and practices that encourage the diverse expressions of gifts and talents in children and youth from all cultures, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups and offers educators a specialty endorsement and master’s degrees in gifted education. 

“Cognitive Diversity and Gifted Education: The Dilemma of the Gifted Child with the Uniquely Wired Brain”

Dr. Susan Baum, Keynote Speaker

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.

Dr. Susan Baum, Ph. D. is the Director of the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development at Bridges Academy, a school for twice exceptional, and Provost of the Bridges Graduate School of Cognitive Diversity in Education. Professor Emeritus from The College of New Rochelle, Susan is widely published in the areas of differentiated instruction, twice exceptional students, primary-aged gifted students, and social and emotional factors affecting gifted students. Her books include Creativity 1,2,3; Chi Square, Pie Charts and Me; To Be Gifted and Learning Disabled: Strategies for Helping Bright Students with LD, ADHD, and More; Multiple Intelligences in the Elementary Classroom: A Teachers Toolkit; and Staying In Stepp: Nurturing the Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted Adolescents.

“The Promise of Equity for All!”

Dr. Joy Lawson Davis, Keynote Speaker

During this keynote, the 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.

Dr. Davis is an award-winning author, scholar, professional learning trainer, researcher, and practitioner. Her area of expertise is addressing equity and access in Gifted Education programs, she holds two degrees in Gifted Education from the College of William & Mary.  Dr. Davis has provided training (for educators and parents) across the nation and internationally- in South Africa, the Caribbean, Dubai & Turkey.  Dr. Davis is a former Associate Professor & Chair, Dept of Teacher Education at Virginia Union University where she taught undergraduate & graduate coursework in Teacher Education and Urban Education and earlier as an Assistant Professor, The School of Education at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, where she taught undergraduate & graduate coursework in Teacher Education and Gifted Education.

Diverse Breakout Sessions Tackle Critical Issues

Gifted education and the needs of our unique students continue to evolve. Combined with the keynote presentations, registered attendees can earn up to 16 Professional Development/Gifted Endorsements hours during the AAGT Virtual Conference.

Twenty engaging breakout sessions will address Diversity, Technology, Social Emotional, Twice Exceptional, Equity in Identification; and more. 

All sessions will be pre-recorded and loaded into AAGTs Event Portal by February 1st so that attendees may watch at their convenience. All presenters will participate in a live discussion with attendees during the event, allowing attendees the opportunity to ask questions, engage with the speakers and each other.

If attendees miss a live keynote session, they will be able to watch a recording of the presentation at a later date. All recordings of the keynote presentations and breakout sessions will be available on-demand to registered AAGT Virtual Conference attendees until July 31, 2021. 

Virtual Platform … Real Networking and Real Fun

While the 2021 AAGT Conference may be virtual, the networking will be very real. In addition to opportunities to network with colleagues during the breakout sessions, there will be opportunities during each day for attendees to network and socialize with peers from throughout the state in our virtual chat room. AAGT also has fun surprises in store – from trivia and entertainment to a chance to win fabulous prizes during the “Gifts for the Gifted” Giveaway.

Don’t Miss Meeting our Business Partners Virtually

The AAGT Virtual Conference invites you to connect with our Business Partner Sponsors and learn about their newest and most exciting products, services and innovations from around the country. The Sponsors portal will feature interactive virtual booths for attendees to explore at any time; it will be available to registered AAGT Conference attendees through July 31, 2021. 

Participating in Business Partner Sponsor event games and visiting their virtual booth will increase your chances to win prizes!

Registration is Now Open

To receive early bird rates, you must register attendees and pay in full or submit a purchase order by December 15, 2020.

AAGT Members

Full access conference registration

On or before December 15: $200

On or On or after December 16: $250

Nonmembers

Full access conference registration

On or before December 15: $275

On or On or after December 16: $325

This year AAGT is awarding up to 10 full registration scholarships to qualified applicants to attend the conference. Valued at up to $250, the award is open to members only. And will be given to Title 1 School teachers first.

Apply at our website arizonagifted.org/annual-conference/  

The application will remain open until December 1, 2020. Those who already registered for the convention may apply, and recipients will be notified by email. 

About AAGT

Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented (AAGT) is a nonprofit organization of educators, parents and community members working together to better meet the unique needs of our gifted and talented students in Arizona. AAGT is the only organization in Arizona advocating for  educational opportunities commensurate with our gifted students’ abilities and potential.  AAGT is an affiliate of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). 

To learn more about Gifted Education and opportunities for students, parents and teachers please visit www.arizonagifted.org.

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