From Where I Sit
My Colorado Rocky Mountain High


I am experiencing a Colorado Rocky Mountain high from the 59th Annual NAGC Convention!!!

There were so many wonderful components and aspects to the Convention, they are almost too numerous to mention. The local arrangements team of Colorado volunteers gave us the most amazing entertainment that showcased the varied talents of many Colorado students. The party at the Colorado Museum of History, especially the virtual ski jump, the two wonderful bands, and the John Denver sing along (yes I participated because I am a HUGE John Denver fan) gave Convention participants a wonderfully relaxing evening with friends and colleagues. Additionally, I heard time and time again from Convention participants that they felt welcomed by our Colorado volunteers who also helped attendees to navigate the convention center and the local Denver area.

The content of the Convention program was rich, deep and varied. Checker Finn, president of the Fordham Foundation, and recipient of the 2012 President's Award, kicked off our time in the Mile High City by giving us his ideas about why gifted education is critical. Many keynote speakers intrigued us by blending their personal stories with important and compelling ideas. Ridley Pearson spoke about nurturing creativity, particularly in the area of writing, and illustrated the creative process with his own personal account of writing his novels. Temple Grandin shared her story about growing up with autism and advised us how to support gifted children who are twice exceptional. Jonathon Moody spoke about recognizing and responding to the different ways in which some students learn by related his personal journey from dropping out of school in grade 6 to graduating from an Ivy League university. Joe Renzulli, Robert Sternberg, and Howard Gardner informed attendees about their various perspectives on intelligence, talent, and creativity while revealing how their personal histories intersected and influenced the development and evolution of their ideas and research. While all this was going on for Convention participants, state directors of gifted education, leaders of state advocacy gifted organizations, NAGC Networks and committees, and the board of directors were meeting to deal with issues ranging from advocacy priorities, the development of new products and informational resources for NAGC members, fundraising for NAGC initiatives and programs, and so many other things. Add to that the NCSSSMST Conference, where leaders from our nation's science and technology schools met to further their role in nurturing talented student.

I was also very proud to be able to speak to all NAGC constituent groups about the new resources we rolled out at the conference: Unlocking Emergent Talent, the white paper that resulted from a summit on high-ability, low income learners held in Washington DC in late May, as well as two new books on the common core state standards and gifted education (Language Arts and Mathematics), which resulted from the work of our Standards Committee. A third new resource is our Administrators' Toolbox, a set of online informational products aimed at principals and superintendents that will be available in January.

The venue was beautiful and the small but mighty NAGC staff are experts in managing the logistics of our comprehensive and multi-faceted conference. We were even graced with beautiful weather!!!!!

And that sums up what the Convention did for me and for all attendees—enriched our professional and personal lives. At this time of year, we have much to be thankful for, including everyone who made it possible.