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    Illinois Association for Gifted Children

This Summer, join the IAGC Wednesday mornings for professional development to meet the needs of advanced learners...

Are you a teacher looking for summer professional development to help you meet the needs of Advanced Learners in your classroom? Are you new to gifted education? Find a comfortable summer spot and join the Illinois Association for Gifted Children for virtual classes focusing on six important topics in the field of gifted education.

Each session will feature a short reading or resource pertaining to the topic. 

Register for one, two, three, four, five, or all six sessions! While space is available, bundle rates are available for those who register for all six sessions. (In order to register for the bundle rate, please email to sign up for all classes and receive the special bundle pricing.)

Member Rate: $20.00 per session/$100 bundle rate for all 6 sessions

Regular, Non-Member Rate: $25.00 per session/$125 bundle rate for all 6 sessions

Professional Development Credit: Participants are eligible for one PD hour per session if sign in/sign out and evaluation requirements are met.

 Session Descriptions and Registration:

Session 1: Getting to Know Advanced Learners: Attributes and Needs - (Wednesday, June 17, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. ) Who are the advanced learners in your classroom? Gifted and talented learners are found in all racial, ethnic, income levels, and exceptionality groups.  This session provides an introduction to common characteristics of advanced learners and considerations for application to targeted curriculum and instruction. 

The session is facilitated by Jeanine Buishas, IAGC President and educational consultant. Shis currently the Coordinator of Gifted Services for the DuPage Regional Office of Education, and has over 30 years of experience in gifted education.   


Session 2: Building Positive Partnerships to Support Advanced Learners - (Wednesday, June 24, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. ) How can educators help to build and strengthen parent partnerships to support the needs of advanced learners? This session explores ways educators can proactively work with parents to create a trusting, mutually supportive relationship, while keeping the focus on student needs. You’ll walk away with proven communications strategies, tools, and templates to foster strong relationships, channel parent advocacy, and ensure support of your gifted program’s mission.

Kathleen Nilles, the facilitator for this session, is the Parent Services & Communications Manager and editor of Parenting for High Potential magazine for the National Association of Gifted Children. She has spent the past 15 years immersed in understanding for the needs of the gifted, and is well-versed on issues at the national, state, and local levels. Kathleen is the co-editor of the new book Success Strategies for Parenting Gifted Kids: Expert Advice from the National Association for Gifted Children (Prufrock, 2019). 


Session 2: Building Positive Partnerships to Support Advanced Learners - (Wednesday, June 17, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. ) How can educators help to build and strengthen parent partnerships to support the needs of advanced learners? Session 2 explores strategies for building positive partnerships with parents to support Advanced Learners in your classroom through effective communication, trust-building, and collaboration that channels parent advocacy to support student ownership, learning and success. Facilitator TBD

Session 3: Techniques for Supporting Advanced Learners' Social-Emotional Needs in the Classroom - (Wednesday, July 8, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. ) How can educators support the social-emotional needs of advanced learners? Session 3 explores techniques for supporting advanced learners social-emotionally in the classroom. Topics will include addressing challenges related to anxiety, perfectionism, as well as building teacher awareness of potential trauma. This session is geared to middle school and high school, but elementary level teachers are also welcome. 

This session is facilitated by Kevin Kusy, an IAGC Board Member and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Professional School Counselor in Illinois. Kevin currently works as a School Counselor at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) in Aurora, Illinois.


Session 4: The Talent Development Approach to Gifted Education - (Wednesday, July 22, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. )  How can teachers help all of the advanced learners in their classrooms maximize their potential? This session provides an overview of the Talent Development Approach to gifted education, which emphasizes developing potential and a continuum of services for maximizing each child's potential. Strategies for identifying talent in students from culturally, linguistically, and/or economically diverse backgrounds will be explored.

This session will be facilitated by IAGC Past-President Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Director of the Center for Talent Development and professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. Over the past 32 years, she has created programs for diverse groups of gifted learners and written extensively on issues of talent development, particularly on programming for under-represented gifted students and outside-of-school and accelerative models of gifted education.


Session 5: Supporting Advanced Learners from Culturally, Linguistically, and/or Economically Diverse Backgrounds - (Wednesday, August 5, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. ) Looking for ways to maximize the potential and support high level learning for all of the students in your classroom? This session provides techniques and strategies for developing talent and providing equity and access to advanced programming for students from culturally, linguistically, and/or economically diverse backgrounds.

This session will be faciltated by Denise Kuchta and Dr. Adrienne Coleman.

Dr. Coleman, a Diversity & Inclusion speaker/researcher, serves as the Multicultural Education Specialist at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA).  In this role, she is responsible for promoting a culture that appreciates, affirms, and includes students, faculty, and staff from a multiplicity of cultural backgrounds, who have high talent and interest in mathematics and science.

Denise Kuchta  the Coordinator for Gifted, as well as the Mathematics Instructional Coach at Queen Bee School District 16, where she re-established the gifted program in 2015-2016. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with students in grades 3-8, specializing in mathematics, gifted education and acceleration for math and English/Language Arts, and special education and interventions.


Session 6: Brainstorming and Creative Thinking Strategies to Support Advanced Learners (Wednesday, August 12, 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. )

What new brainstorming and creative thinking strategies could you add to your toolbox to challenge, inspire, and engage advanced learners? This session provides a wealth of ideas to get your school year off to a productive and generative start for advanced learners in your classroom.

The facilitator for this session is Dr. Randy Lange, IAGC Board member and Talent Development Coordinator in La Grange District 102. Randy developed the K-8 Talent Development Program in District 102, including curriculum for accelerated mathematics, language arts, and social-emotional learning; identification protocol; building parent support networks; and providing professional development and mentoring for teachers of high ability learners.



Contact Us:

Illinois Association for Gifted Children

1500 Sullivan Road
Aurora, IL 60506

Ph: 630-907-5047
Fax: 630-907-5976

email us:

The Illinois Association for Gifted Children is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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