SIG eNewsletter: The Gifted Student

September 2015

Sponsored by Revo Academy

In this issue:

SIG is a program of NSGT, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization

From the President's Desk

A letter from Barbara Swicord, President of SIG:

September already! Some of you may be excited about this point in the year and some may be depressed about it. Certainly many students and teachers are excited about going back to school, particularly those who have had the summer off, and many people do love the fall weather. Some people, of course, are happy about neither!

Here at SIG, we live summer all year long as summer programs are our focus. We think a summer feeling is a great one and encourage all our readers to take that summer feeling into fall, winter, and spring. That summer feeling is not just one that reminds us of sunshine, water sports, and shorts. It’s also a feeling of freedom, opportunities, and exploring—new places, ideas, and relationships. It’s being open to spur of the moment activities, to having a relaxed attitude, to reflecting and planning ahead, and to approaching every day with excitement and possibility. It’s a fun feeling that comes from playful minds doing creative activities.

How do you create that summer feeling all year long? Here are some suggestions from a SIG point of view, as we spend all our year planning for summer.

  1. Learn some new content that you won’t come across in school. If you are a student, pursue a topic not in your curriculum that you are interested in and see where that interest takes you. If you are an educator, bring in some new topics or questions for your students or for your own personal learning, perhaps something interesting in the news, or some trend that is current in social media. Think of it as having that summer feeling that you can learn what you want to learn!

  2. Look around your environment for something that you can improve. It might be a problem that needs to be solved, or a process that can be improved, or an item that could work better than it does. Try to test out your idea and see where it takes you. Use mistakes or failures to learn something new or try another route. Embrace the fact that there will be no grades or scores for things gone wonderfully wrong!

  3. Include someone in your circle or friends or activities who wouldn’t normally be there. Contemplate how their contributions to the activity or dialogue might enrich your understandings or expand your thinking. It might be a neighbor or an acquaintance, a relative you don’t normally see, or a person in a different age group who you normally would not think to include. What do you notice?

  4. Give yourself a goal of learning a new task or skill that you haven’t tried before but that interests you. Practice this new ability over time to gain an appreciation for either your facility with it or others’ expertise with it that you admire. Determine whether this new skill is something you want to keep developing in your repertoire or whether you are ready to try a different new skill. Does trying to gain skill in something new lead to changes in other aspects of your life?

  5. Take a topic or field that you already know a lot about and push it to the next level. Become an expert. How can you learn more? Who can you go to for a more advanced level of understanding? Share your knowledge in some way with others who are interested. How far can you go in this field? How does having this level of expertise affect your confidence, emotions, or goals?

You can certainly think of additional ways to maintain that fun, yet productive, feeling of summer at home and school/career. We’ll certainly be working on it here all year long. We’ll be bringing SIG to three new summer day program campuses in California and continuing with all our 2015 residential campuses. We’re already excited to think about the real summer season again when everyone has that great SIG summer feeling that we carry all year long!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also stop to thank everyone who has helped create that 2015 summer feeling that we take with us all year long. I have to start with our students as they are our reason for existing. We thank them for their willingness to try new experiences and for bringing life and energy to our campuses each summer. We thank their parents for seeking out educational opportunities and for supporting their children’s efforts to continue to grow during the summer. Our summer staffs are awesome. They dedicate large chunks of their summers to teach, supervise, nurture, and support our students in a very busy, intense camp setting. They amaze me every year. And, last but not least, I must thank our incredible full-time staff here in Stamford. They put their heart and soul year-round into creating, managing, and directing the best programs possible at all our SIG campuses. They sincerely care about the families they work with and take ownership of the program implementation. My hat goes off to all these groups. It indeed takes a village to make these kinds of summer academic programs come to fruition.

Barbara Swicord
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted

Register for Fall online learning Last Chance to Register for Fall Online Learning

Fall classes begin this Wednesday, September 23, 2015. Enroll today!

SIG's Fall Online Learning Program is a unique 8-week selection of online courses for students, ages 7–12, that offers curriculum beyond what is offered during the typical school day. Participants engage in thought-provoking topics and minds-on learning and connect with peers from around the world, all from the convenience of home.

See all of our course descriptions here.

2015 SIG Summer Success! – Thank you!

An amazing summer experiences for all those who participated, from students, to parents to instructors. Thank you so much for fantastic enrollments resulting in so many more connections. As a non-profit whose primary mission is to offer enriching experiences for gifted students, we say thank you and want to share just a few of the amazing comments we’ve received:



I wanted to commend SIG for it has changed our family the past three years. This past summer was one of the most memorable for us as SIG Bryn Mawr welcomed our family with open arms. The staff was so professional yet completely personable. As soon as we walked into orientation the Sunday of the start of the program I knew we had encountered something special. But special turned out to be beyond my wildest dreams when my son who is only able to attend SIG with Financial Aid each year was given the opportunity to experience the Residential Program. I can honestly tell you I had tears of joy in my eyes that the SIG Bryn Mawr Program Director and the SIG administration would be that kind to our family. I absolutely LOVE SIG and I know that it has made a positive influence in my son’s life. He shall never forget the time he was able to grow and learn more about himself, others, and the world around him.



My first impression of SIG was that it was better than what I imagined. I had the opportunity to engage with peers from around the world in courses that reinforced my interest in science. It also confirmed for me that when I go to college, I would love to go to an institution like Yale University.


At SIG I was able to interact with peers from around the world and this allowed me to learn about different life styles as well as look at things with different perspectives. I was also able to connect with people who loved learning and enjoyed engaging in academic dialogue. But most importantly, I was able to connect with peers that love science and challenged my thinking. SIG built my self-confidence by showing me that I can accomplish anything I desire as long as I put my mind to making it happen. It also developed my independence because I learned how to care for myself without the help of my parents.


SIG pushed my thinking by engaging me in hands-on activities that were applicable to the topics we were learning. SIG also connected learning to real world experiences-- something that does not really happen in school. Through the Creative Connections class I was able to discover a creative side in me that I didn't know I had. I was able to engage in design with my peers and felt great about inventing/creating a new watch concept. Medical Microbiology was my favorite class, because it enlightened me about different diseases and how to prevent them. It also confirmed that I want to go into the medical field.


What I miss most now that SIG is over is the combination of always learning new things and having fun at the same time.



I am writing you today as I have just finished up my very first three week SIG at Bryn Mawr College Day Program as an instructor. I know it has only been two days since SIG technically came to a close, but I am already eager for more!


I would like to share that SIG Bryn Mawr was the most meaningful, most defining experience I have had since...student teaching an 8th grade physics course. SIG reminded me of that strong learning experience that I had student teaching because it was something completely new to me, some of it even new material, and I found myself excited to come up with fun and meaningful experiences and activities for my students in my three courses. I also found that I was finishing my day at SIG then coming home and working on activities easily until midnight, but I loved it so much, that all of those late nights didn't matter- it was actually a ton of fun! It was great seeing that hard work pay off when my students really got engaged and had fun learning with the activities I had created for them. For this, I thank you for providing me the opportunity to be an instructor this summer with SIG Bryn Mawr, and I can't wait to see what is in store for me next.


Apply Today for SIG Summer 2016! SIG 2016 Details Coming Soon

Soon you will be able to receive our new catalog, view 2016 program details and apply for next summer!

Pre-order your 2016 catalog today!

Campus Spotlight: University of Miami

Campus Spotlight: University of MiamiA private research university with more than 15,000 students from around the world, the University of Miami is a vibrant and diverse academic community focused on teaching and learning and the discovery of new knowledge. The University comprises 11 schools and colleges serving undergraduate and graduate students in more than 180 majors and programs. UM is a major research university engaged in $360 million in research and sponsored program expenditures a year. While the majority of this work is housed at the Miller School of Medicine, investigators conduct dozens of studies in other areas, including marine science, engineering, education, and psychology. The main campus is located in the city of Coral Gables, in Miami-Dade County. The world-famous climate and numerous other attractions make South Florida a unique place to experience, whether it’s the beaches of South Beach, cultural venues such as Lowe Art Museum on campus or the Perez Art Museum Miami on the shores of Biscayne Bay, or visiting the shops and restaurants along Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile or nearby CocoWalk in Coconut Grove. Enthusiasts of sports, arts and the subtropical environment will all find something intriguing in close proximity to the campus.

Fun Facts!

  • Over 1,430 degree undergraduates participate in the Honors Program. UM has 52 academic honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa.
  • 2015 was our first year at the University of Miami.

SIG at University of Miami is a Residential and a Day Program. A Commuter Program and an Extended Commuter Program are also available.

  • Residential Programs for students ages 9-17
    Students choosing this option will participate in the full curriculum of SIG including a 4-period academic day, evening programs, Saturday Getaway Day and Sunday Activity Days. Students live on campus in dormitories.
  • Day Commuter Program for students ages 9-17 (8:30am – 5:30pm)
    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 8:30am and picked up at 5:30pm.
  • Extended Commuter Program for students ages 9-17 (8:30am – 9:15pm)
    Extended commuter students will participate in the full 4-period academic day, lunch, recreation period, dinner, and all evening activities, as well as a Saturday Getaway Day trip. Extended commuters do not reside on campus or take part in Sunday activities.
  • Day Program for students 5-8
    There is also a day program for students ages 5 through 8 which includes a full 4-period academic day.


Kevin's Korner

Kevin's KornerWhat an amazing summer! From the time our first program opened on June 15 until our last program closed on August 15, it was a great adventure for all of us here at SIG. I was extremely fortunate to be able to spend a good amount of this time this summer in our classrooms, seeing many of our amazing students and dedicated teachers and staff working to make our 31st summer our best yet! For me this was a wonderful opportunity to experience and observe what we work diligently to create during the other three seasons of the year. Little is more gratifying than to see the fruits of one’s labor, and my visits to many of our campuses provided this feeling for me. I was actually recognized at various campuses by students and asked to participate in several class activities by them! It was invaluable for me to gain this type of perspective. As the school year begins, we hope that your children will carry with them the individualized learning they experienced this summer in our programs, and that their thirst for new knowledge will continue to inspire them throughout the year.

I’m sure many of you by now have been able to take a look at our offerings for the summer of 2016, and may have noticed that we have added many new courses. In fact, about one-third of the 73 courses in total we will be offering are newly-designed, conveying a continued emphasis on STEM education, the development of creative, forward-thinking skills, and a growing focus on medical and environmental sciences, in addition to our usual diverse program of language arts, arts and recreation, and multidisciplinary courses. We hope that you will enjoy our new offerings, and that you will find them appropriate for meeting the needs and interests of your gifted children.

We are also at the outset of our fall online program, starting September 23, with more than one-half of our courses newly-developed. As we are experiencing unprecedented growth in the program, we are seeking to further develop what we do in this arena to anticipate and meet the needs of our students and families. Please feel free to provide me with any feedback or suggestions regarding the program if you like.

As the new school year has begun, I thought it might be a good idea to offer a reminder of what we consider a few important practices regarding setting student goals for a new year of learning. Here at SIG we place a premium on students setting their own learning goals. We firmly believe that this practice helps children and young adults develop a sense of personal responsibility for their learning, and embody this philosophy in our programs by guiding our students to set individual learning objectives that allow them to plan their academic explorations in areas that truly interest and engage them.

While perhaps there are not always opportunities during the regular school year for students to chart their course of learning to the degree they can in our summer programs, we encourage our students and families to work within the structure of their school curriculum to set similar personal learning goals. We find that this activity increases motivation and engagement, helps students develop as self-directed individuals, and enables them to better recognize the personal benefits of their efforts.

For some gifted children and young adults, it can be extremely difficult to attain self-created goals without proper guidance. While they are often extraordinarily capable of reaching goals, at times gifted individuals can create lofty and unrealistic goals, particularly when it comes to timelines. For example, young children might aspire to become a doctor by the time they reach their early adulthood, but not yet fully comprehend the role higher education, apprenticeship, experience, and other concerns play in making this goal a reality. Sometimes children expect to reach goals that require a lifetime of preparation in the span of a day, a week, a month, or some other unrealistic length of time.  

Some may be skilled at setting goals within realistic time frames, but don't understand how to reach them. Gifted students, for whom learning and other activities may have come more easily than for other students, might believe that they can attain their aspirations without a reasonable plan as to how to get there. In some instances, individuals of this sort can become discouraged about their learning and grow disinterested.

To help them set appropriate goals, work with your children to create specific, personal goals that have (perhaps ambitious, but realistic) deadlines. It is crucial to help them determine if their goals are short or long-term, and to include deadlines that reflect this. Perhaps a student might have a long-term goal of learning everything about the universe, but might start with a two-week goal of becoming familiar with the planets, moons, Sun, and other elements of our solar system before expanding outward. Help them divide long-term goals into a series of short-term components, enabling them to learn in-depth and enjoy their progress along the way. The practice of backward-mapping, or envisioning the final outcome of a goal and then recording the steps needed to reach it, is often a valuable technique in determining and delineating necessary, incremental steps.

Make sure to have your children write down their goals. This process not only requires them to be clear about them, but involves a degree of commitment that may not develop when goals are communicated only verbally. Keeping a record (even if it is in the form of a small note written by the children to themselves) serves as a reminder of the inspiration that led them to arrive at the goal in the first place. This record can be particularly valuable when elements of attaining the goal are not found to be as fun or interesting as the final goal is assumed to be. Helping them write down the reasons why they want to reach their goal can also provide valuable inspiration in times that aren’t as pleasant as other moments might be.

Perhaps most important of all, make sure that the goals are personal. You may need to help make a goal more specific, develop a deadline, or help a child plan the steps needed to reach the goals, but your child should do most of the necessary envisioning and recording to truly take ownership of her or his goal.

It is so inspiring to see how our students’ faces light up with excitement when they are truly enjoying learning about what they love most! This excitement makes our efforts throughout the year very meaningful and worthwhile. We hope this light of inspiration continues throughout the school year, and that we see you all next summer in addition to in our online courses throughout the year!

Kevin Wickersham
Academic Director
Summer Institute for the Gifted

Revo Academy, Revolutionizing Education for Gifted Learners

Revo Academy - Gifted Learners We are thrilled to announce the opening of Revo Academy, a K-8 Gifted Learner School located in Thousand Oaks, California.


In advisement with the CEO of the National Society for the Gifted and Talented and President of Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG), Revo Academy was founded by educators with an expertise in gifted education as well as a personal connection and passion for serving this student population.


As both educational professionals and parents of gifted learners, we came to a crossroads in advocating for appropriately challenging education for our own children. In scouring the country for a better way to serve gifted students, we discovered outstanding programs and became determined to bring these proven practices to our community. With a shared expertise, and in partnership with other renowned gifted education experts across the country, we have joined the mission to further a high standard of education that meets the specific needs for the gifted student population. Collectively, we are meeting this critically important need and revolutionizing education for gifted learners.


Our guiding principle at Revo Academy is a strong belief that like any other student population, gifted learners are entitled to realize their full potential and achieve noticeable gains for a genuine sense of accomplishment. Our goal every day is for students to arrive to school with an enthusiasm to fully engage in lessons that offer limitless exploration and discovery.


At Revo Academy, subject areas are taught using in-depth problem and game based lessons to provide for optimal engagement, appropriate challenge, and self-paced acceleration. The curriculum is based on proven practices from leading gifted program developers around the country; William and Mary College of Gifted Education, University of Connecticut NEAG Center for Gifted and Talented Education, and Singapore Math. Additionally, Revo Academy provides further enrichment classes in Art, Foreign Language, PE, Science Lab, Odyssey of the Mind, Academic Chess, Service Learning, and regular field trips.


With our highly seasoned staff and an advisory team comprised of renowned gifted education leaders from across the country, we are changing the game in gifted education. We welcome you to join us in our mission as we grow the highest quality school for gifted learners to thrive and experience the joy of learning.


We look forward to sharing further details with you. Please contact us at or 805-277-4922.


Puzzle Corner Puzzle Corner

Replace the blanks in the following sentence with two 10 letter words. Both words must contain the same 10 letters. What are the words?

The news came as a BLANK blow for the man who had been trying to BLANK out his life.

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 appear next in this sequence?

4   5   5   7   14   17   51   55   ?

A: 220. Add one, then multiply by one, add two then multiply by two and so on.

Congratulations to Shirlee from Madison Heights, Michigan., for being the first to respond with the correct answer to last month's puzzle!

Upcoming Conferences & Events


Albuquerque Association for Gifted and Talented Students (AAGTS)

September 19, 2015

"Growing a Gifted Learner (The Magic, Pleasures and Pressures of Parenting and Teaching Gifted Children), " Keynote: Sylvia Rimm

Albuquerque, New Mexico

National Council of Women of Queensland (NCWQ) Parent's and Children's Conference

September 22 - 23, 2015

"Children with Potential*," *For Children Who Love to Learn and Parents who want to Know Why and How and What to Do

The Lakes College, North Lakes, Brisbane, Australia


Florida Association of the Gifted State Conference (FLAG)

SIG President Dr. Barbara Swicord, and SIG Program Director Hillary Jade, will be presenting.

September 25 - 26, 2015

"EmPOWering the Gifted," Keynote: James Delisle

Corbett Preparatory School of IDS, Tampa, Florida

SIG Will Be There

Gifted & Talented 2015

September 30, 2015

"Stretch & Challenge the More Able," Speakers: Ian Warwick, Sean Harford

Radisson Blu Edwardian, Manchester, U.K.



9th Annual ECU Gifted Conference October, 2015

East Carolina University Murphy Center, North Carolina

Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented (CAGT)

October 19 - 20, 2015

"Gifted: The Whole Picture," Keynotes: Lisa Van Gemert, Dan Peters, Jonathan Plucker;

Embassy Suites Loveland - Hotel, Spa and Conference Center, Loveland, Colorado

Kansas Association for Gifted, Talented and Creative (KGTC)

October 4 - 6, 2015

"MTSS The Real Thing," Keynote: Robin Carey, Elizabeth Shaunessy, Blanche Kapushion

Overland Park Marriott, Kansas

Iowa Talented and Gifted Association (ITAG)

October 19 - 20, 2015

"The Core Challenge: Building Options and Breaking Barriers," Keynotes: Jonathan Plucker and Tamra Stambaugh

Airport Holiday Inn, Des Moines, Iowa

Gifted & Talented 2015

October 6, 2015

"Stretch & Challenge the More Able," Speakers: Ian Warwick, Sean Harford

Ibis Hotel Earls Court, London, U.K.

SIG Will Be ThereNew England Conference for Gifted & Talented (NECGT)
SIG will be there! SIG President Dr. Barbara Swicord, will be presenting.

October 22 - 24, 2015

"Great Expectations - Beyond the Standards: Developing Advanced Thinkers,"

Crown Plaza Cromwell Hotel, Cromwell, Connecticut

Michigan Association for Gifted Children (MAGC)

October 10, 2015

"Creating a Joyful Culture for Gifted Learning," Keynotes: Richard Sheridan of Joy Inc., Jim Delisle and Ellen Fiedler

East Lansing, Michigan

Missouri Conference on Gifted Education (GAM)

October 24 - 25, 2015

"The Unique & Unlimited Possibilities of Gifted Learners,"

University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri

Oregon Association for Talented and Gifted (OATAG)

October 10, 2015

"Supporting Success: What Do TAG Students REALLY Need?" Keynote: James Webb

Floyd Light Middle School, Portland, Oregon

Virginia Association for the Gifted Conference

October 26 - 27, 2015

"Bridging Connections for Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships," Keynote: John Almarode

Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa, Richmond, Virginia

Ohio Association for Gifted Children Annual Conference (OAGC)

October 11 - 13, 2015

Keynotes: Stephanie Tolan and Nick Colangelo

Easton Hilton, Columbus, Ohio



Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education (PAGE)

November 5, 2015

"PA Empowered: Expanding the Possibilities," Keynote: Richard Cash

Pittsburgh Marriott North, Cranberry Twp., Pennsylvania

SIG Will Be There

National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Annual Convention

November 12 - 15, 2015

"Everything Gifted Under the Sun,"

Phoenix, Arizona

Parent Day and Parent Day Kids' Program Saturday, November 14, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

SIG Will Be There

Spread the News!

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