SIG eNewsletter: The Gifted Student

October 2014

Sponsored by the Connecticut Association for the Gifted

In this issue:

From the President's Desk

A letter from Barbara Swicord, President of SIG:

Itís October, and if you are a college-bound high school student, you are probably starting to think about the college entrance process. If you are a senior, you are probably already engaged in that process. There is so much to think about for both students and parents. If you are just starting this process, here are a few things to get you started on this journey at this time of year.

First of all, start preparing for the emotional aspects of going to college for the first time. Both parents and students should appreciate the fact that, while parents will be excited and happy for their children, it will also be a time of separation and emptiness at the home front. Parents may also feel a sense of not being needed as much as they have been over the years. Be sure to have discussions about these changing roles and be sensitive to each otherís needs.

Parents, encourage your students to take increasing responsibility in making their own decisions and agree to relinquish some control over those decisions. After all, these young people are on the verge of adulthood, and you want them to be prepared and comfortable with being independent. Mistakes are inevitable, along with the learning that comes from them, and thatís a good thing. Parents, use your newly restored free time to pick up past hobbies and interests as well as develop new ones.

Students, you may have some anxiety about fitting in at college, handling independence, and making new friends. You may be confronted with pressures you are unaccustomed to in making decisions for yourself. Itís important to trust yourself and your feelings, to seek help when you need it, and to be patient with the process of adjusting to college. Once you get there, immerse yourself in experiences that interest you, discover new places and people, and remember to keep your education in the forefront. Have fun and expect that there will be bumps in the road, but nothing you canít handle.

Most of all, stay in touch with each other and share the experience together.

So, what specific things should you be doing now? If you havenít already, narrow down your list of preferred colleges and universities to about a dozen schools. Try to make them all a good fit for you, balanced between likely and reach schools.

Next, start to make a calendar of benchmark dates by which certain tasks need to be completed, and stick to the deadlines. Think about early and regular application dates, when to take standardized tests and when you will receive the results, when scholarship deadlines occur, and when your high school work deadlines also need to be met.

Finally, research and secure whatever types of recommendations you may need for your selected colleges. If you need a teacher or administrator to write a letter for you, do it early in the year as they may be overwhelmed with such requests. Think carefully about who might understand your potential the best when seeking letters of recommendation. Donít forget to thank your recommenders in writing! Itís a great gift of time when someone writes a nice letter for you.

Finally, we recommend that you sign up for a SIG summer program! Our alumni tell us that our residential programs helped to prepare them for college by increasing their independence, enriching their academics, introducing them to new fields of study, and creating self-confidence in their social relationships through the development of lifelong friends. We hope all eligible 9-17 year olds will join us to share in these kinds of experiences at one of our 11 residential program sessions across the country. Check us out at

In this newsletter, please enjoy Kevinís tips on being a good advocate; learn more about our Chicago program; share in the accomplishments of some fantastic high school students; and keep up on current events, both ours and those of the larger G & T world.

Barbara Swicord
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted

Kevin's Korner

Hello again everyone!

I hope that your fall and childrenís school seasons are progressing nicely. Here in Stamford, our SIG Online Learning Program is in full swing, and we are in the midst of planning another great summer of gifted learning and experiences for your children in 2015.

Continuing with our theme from last monthís column, taking an active role in your childís school-year education, it seems appropriate to focus on parent advocacy for gifted students.

If you want your school and teachers to better meet the needs of your gifted child, do some research and let them know what programs and opportunities may best fit. Read as much as you can about gifted educational programs. In addition to learning how other schools and programs approach educating gifted students, parents should understand how these programs work. Due to focus on other areas, many schools and teachers may not be well versed in strategies to meet gifted studentsí needs. Often, for a variety of factors, educator preparation programs provide little training regarding gifted students, leaving many willing but not as able as they might be to meet gifted learning needs. Most teachers and schools can and want to serve gifted students well, but may be less than prepared in ways to do so, and can benefit from some amicable collaboration. Offering ideas and sharing resources can go a long way towards helping in this area. In my experience as a teacher and school administrator, I have noticed that once a teacher starts focusing on differentiating instruction, or meeting classroom needs of gifted students in another way, he or she starts to get the hang of it, likes it, and doesnít want to return to previous methods of rote learning!

When facing challenges, success is often rooted in effective teamwork. Consider banding together with other parents of gifted children to help provide support and encouragement, and strengthen your collective ability to ensure adequate educational opportunity. Such groups might include just a few other parents with whom you can share ideas, learn more about gifted children and curriculum, and collaborate with the school to provide time and energy to supplement their gifted programs. Sadly, gifted programs are often understaffed and under-funded. Volunteers are often welcome and needed, as are demonstrations of the value parents and community members place on gifted education.

Advocacy can be stressful, and stress may spur confrontation. When discussing matters regarding gifted learning with school personnel, try not to adopt a confrontational stance. Remember, this is a matter of your ensuring the best possible education for your child, and confrontation can build a wall between parent and school that may never be fully overcome. Additionally, children who witness confrontations between parents and their teachers or administrators are placed in a difficult position. Approaching schools respectfully demonstrates goodwill, good modeling for your children, and an awareness that schools strive to meet the needs of all children, not solely oneís own. Parents sometimes put this goodwill into practice by volunteering for activities benefiting many or all students.

Another impediment to collaborative home-school relationships occurs when parents try to hide or deny a child's areas of challenge. It can be difficult to be open about a child's challenges as well as strengths, as many parents fear this will undermine advocacy efforts. Honesty in this area is usually the best policy.

You may also wish to develop a tentative, flexible educational plan with learning goals for your child to present to the school. Parents are most often successful in presenting their ideas when expressing willingness to consider alternative educational plans, so make sure to remain flexible and willing to discuss various ways that goals might best be met.

Finally, get involved outside your childís individual situation. Remember that there are many gifted students who do not have family advocates working on their behalf. Join local, state, and national advocacy organizations to be aware of trends, legislation, policies, and happenings that you can be involved in and make your voice heard in a larger venue. If there is no local parent group, consider starting one. There continues to be a lack of understanding concerning the needs of gifted and talented students, so any role you can play in educating the general public is extremely valuable.

As parents of gifted children, you have the right and responsibility to advocate for your children! Know your schools, and be part of a team helping ensure that your children receive the education they deserve.

Kevin Wickersham
Academic Director
Summer Institute for the Gifted

Register for SIG Summer 2015 Today!

The 2015 campus and course information are live on our website, Request your Residential and Day catalogs today!

We are excited to present our 31st year of gifted enrichment to you! Get excited for:

  • New campus locations at the University of Miami and Weiss School.
  • Fee reductions at many residential programs!
  • Lunch at all Full Day programs.
  • Increased relaxation and socialization time at the residential campuses on the weekends.

SIG offers a wide variety of challenging academic courses at many prestigious campuses for gifted and academically talented students.

Apply today for SIG Summer 2015

If you have any questions or would like to talk about SIG, please call us at 866.303.4744.

Campus Spotlight: University of Chicago

Located in the community of Hyde Park on Chicagoís South side, just 15 minutes from the city center, the University of Chicago is uniquely positioned to contribute to, and draw from, the strength and diversity of this world-class metropolis. The University of Chicagoís firm belief in the value of open, rigorous, and intense inquiry makes it a perfect backdrop for a SIG program.

Fun Facts!

  • Ranked #5 among National Universities by U.S. News and World Report for 2014, with the MBA program being ranked #1 by Business Week in 2010.
  • 89 recipients of the Nobel Prize have been students, researchers, or faculty here.
  • SIG has been on campus since 2013!

SIG offers many options for students who wish to attend this program:

  • Residential Program for students ages 9-17
    Students choosing this option will participate in the full curriculum of SIG including the 4-period academic day, evening programs, Saturday Get-Away Day and Weekend Activity Day. Students live on campus in dormitories.

  • Day Commuter Program for students ages 9-17 (8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)
    Commuter students participate in the full 4-period academic day, lunch and recreation period. They do not participate in any weekend or evening activities. Commuter students must be dropped off at 8:30 a.m. and picked up at 5:30 p.m.

  • Extended Commuter Program for students ages 9-17 (8:30 a.m. - 9:15 p.m.)
    Extended commuter students will participate in the full 4-period academic day, lunch, recreation period, dinner and all evening activities, as well as the Saturday Get-Away Day trip. Extended commuters do not reside on campus or take part in Sunday activities.

Program fees for this location have been reduced! Please call 866.303.4744 today for more information or visit our website.

24 Incredibly Impressive Kids Graduating from High School This Year

We love to highlight the accomplishments of amazing young people here at NSGT and SIG and thought our October theme of preparing for college was a good time to direct you to this story about 24 of this yearís high school graduates. These remarkable students include an Olympic athlete, a cancer survivor, a researcher, a Thiel Fellow, a self-published novelist, and a musical prodigy.

Read the Article: 24 Incredibly Impressive Kids Graduating From High School This Year

We also welcome stories of other outstanding young people who would like to share their experiences with us. Just contact us at or call us at 866-303-4744.

Puzzle Corner

In which direction should the missing arrow point?

Submit your answer online at The first student who submits the correct answer will receive recognition in the next issue of The Gifted Student!


Last Month's Puzzle

What number should replace the question mark?


A: 7. In each column, the sum of the first two numbers is divided by two to give the third number.

Congratulations to Elizabeth from Glendale, CA, for being the first to respond with the correct answer to last month's puzzle!

Connect with SIG on Social Media!

Social media is a driving force in many of our lives. Here at the Summer Institute for the Gifted, we see it as a great way to connect with those who are just as passionate about gifted education as we are!

We often hear from parents of alumni that SIG summers were some of the best their children ever had! If you are a SIG parent, we encourage you to pass this along to your current or former student(s) so that they can stay up-to-date on SIG happenings.

Through social media outlets, SIG provides updates on everything from gifted education resources to details about our various programs, from puzzles and learning strategies to event announcements across the country. Stay connected with us throughout the entire year by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

SIG on Facebook:
SIG on Twitter:
SIG on LinkedIn:

The Summer Institute for the Gifted is a program of the National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT), a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

We look forward to connecting with you!

Upcoming Conferences & Events


Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented (CAGT)
October 20 - 21, 2014
"The Many Faces of Gifted," Keynotes: Dan Siegel, Lisa Van Gemert, Kai Kloepfer, Rosina Gallagher and Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez
Marriott Denver Tech Center
Denver, CO

NAGC Webinars on Wednesdays
October 22, 2014, 12 - 1 p.m. EST
"The Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Students," presentation by George Betts and Tracy C. Missett, free for NAGC members, online

Orange County Council for Gifted and Talented Education (OCC GATE)
October 25, 2014
"Growing Successful Students"
University of California, Irvine Student Center
Irvine, CA

Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG), Minds in Motion
October 25, 2014
Join SIG for an exciting day of interactive workshops for every child with every interest, Kindergarten – 8th grade.
Madison, CT

NAGC Webinars on Wednesdays
October 29, 2014, 12 - 1 p.m. EST
"The Handbook of Secondary Gifted Education: New Curricular Strategies for Educators," presentation by Felicia A Ball, Branson D. Lawrence and Ken Stuart, free for NAGC members, online


Los Angeles City/County Gifted Conference
November 1, 2014
"A Master Class on Gifted Education (Ask the Experts)," Sponsor: GLA Gifted Children's Assoc. & Los Angeles USD, Keynote: Pedro Nubuera; Featured Speakers include Sandra Kaplan, Diane Heacox, Karen Rogers, Bertie Kingore, Susan Baum, Jim Webb, Joy Davis, and many other expert
Pasadena, CA

Maine Educators of the Gifted and Talented (MEGAT) Fall Conference
November 7, 2014
Black Bear Inn
Orono, ME

Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented (MCGT) Annual Conference
November 8, 2014
Keynote: Lori Comallie-Caplan
University of St. Thomas
S t. Paul, MN

National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Annual Convention
November 13 - 16, 2014
"Making InRoads for Gifted Learners," Keynotes: Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, Jack Andraka, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Scott Barry Kaufman
Baltimore, MD

Ignited Conference
November 14-15, 2014
"Gifted Education in Action," Keynotes: Roger Moltzen, June Maker, Two Bit Circus; Hosted by giftEDnz and the Ministry of Inspiration
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
Nelson, New Zealand

Spread the News!

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