SIG eNewsletter: The Gifted Student

May 2015

Sponsored by Hoagies

In this issue:

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

Registration Deadline For This Summer Is TODAY!

The registration deadline of May 15th is here for the SIG summer 2015 programs! With Residential, Commuter, and Day Programs across the country for gifted students ages 5-17, SIG has the perfect program for you! The different program options are available to meet your needs. Our commuter and extended commuter programs have been created to allow students to benefit from our exciting programs while sleeping at home.

Any Questions? Please call today at 866.303.4744 to reserve your child's spot or visit

From the President's Desk

A letter from Barbara Swicord, President of SIG:

In this month, as we appreciate all the unsung hero teachers of the world, and as most school years are winding down, we at SIG also are focused on teacher appreciation as we hire teachers for our many summer programs across the country. In addition to looking for all the characteristics that great teachers exhibit (e.g., passion for and expertise in teaching, ability to connect and engage with students, high level of organization), we search for characteristics that gifted and talented students tell us they want in a teacher.

We start with the basics. We look for teachers who have experience and expertise teaching gifted students, have in-depth knowledge of the content of the courses they will teach, and have experience and enjoyment of teaching students in the age range of the classes they might teach. When we interview them, we try to get a sense of the qualities that gifted students desire in their wish list as well.

From my experience, it's important to have teachers of the gifted who are intelligent, love learning, and consider themselves lifelong learners. Students need to feel that they have a co-traveler with them on their intellectual journey and that their teachers can keep up with them. They need to feel as though their teachers have a lot of knowledge about areas for which they have passion.

Students look for a sense of fairness, which can exhibit itself in several ways. First, a fair teacher will treat all students with equal appreciation, respect, and engagement. A fair teacher will also know that it is unfair to ask gifted students to do work that is too easy, repetitive, or menial. Therefore, a fair teacher will allow the gifted student to be a part of directing an individualized program of learning that is engaging, challenging, and personally relevant.

These students also appreciate constructive and accurate feedback. A teacher may be tempted to provide generic and overly abundant praise for the work of gifted students, as their work may far exceed most of the class or even their own expectations. But, a gifted student really needs specific feedback on what could be done differently to improve the product or idea, what aspect deserves further interpretation or questioning, and how the product could be more creative or applicable in certain real life situations. General, non-specific praise is not helpful or useful to the student.

Finally, my favorite quality for a teacher of the gifted is to have a great sense of humor. Teachers with a sense of humor create a light, easygoing atmosphere in a classroom, which establishes a productive environment for engaging students, lightening the load of perfectionism, and being flexible–all important qualities for meeting gifted students' emotional as well as intellectual needs. This kind of environment is accepting, fun, and exciting. This kind of environment says it's ok to make mistakes and learn from them. It also says that the teacher cares about the students and wants them to be happy.

If you are an educator, I hope you will keep these qualities in mind as you work with your highly capable students and engage them in letting you know what else is important for them in the classroom setting. If you are a parent, I hope you will be able to find teachers like the ones described here and that you will encourage your gifted children to be forthcoming with their teachers in what works best for them in the classroom. Meanwhile, may we all continue to appreciate the dedication, self-sacrifice, and talents of so many incredible women and men who have chosen the field of education in which to leave their mark upon gifted students, as well as all students.

Barbara Swicord
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted

CAMPUS SPOTLIGHT: University of Miamii

The University of Miami, located in Coral Gables, Florida, is a private research university with more than 15,000 students from around the world. The University is a vibrant and diverse academic community focused on teaching, learning, and the discovery of new knowledge. 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 is our first year at the University of Miami. A SIG Day program is also available for students ages 5 through 8.

SIG at the University of Miami is a Residential and a Day Program. A Commuter Program and an Extended Commuter Program are also available for students ages 9-17.

  • 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.
  • 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 Saturday Getaway Day trip. Extended commuters do not reside on campus or take part in Sunday activities.
  • 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.
  • Day Program for students 5-8
    The day program includes a full 4-period academic day.

Please call 866.303.4744 today for more information or visit our website at

Summer Online Program Registration Open

SIG Online is an engaging eight-week online program for Gifted and Academically Talented students. These courses offer students curriculum beyond what is offered during the school day, are wide-ranging in potential interest areas for individualized learning, and engage students in authentic learning while applying school content through speaking, writing, researching, analyzing, reasoning, and questioning.

  • Time spent on course assignments will vary by class and instructor; average course time is between 3-5 hours per week, and is self-paced.
  • Participation in online discussions and group projects are key components of our learning community.
  • Instructor office hours ensure communications for your convenience.
  • Students are given access to their own personal Student Portal where they can access their online class, upload a photo and meet their Online Program Director.
  • Each course begins with a "getting to know SIG online" scavenger hunt, as well as a pre-assessment so that instructors can get to know more about each student and their course needs.
  • At the end of the course, the instructor will complete a comprehensive Student Performance Review which will be based on individualized objectives and goals.

Register today. Classes begin on June 17, 2015. The registration deadline is June 3, 2015.

Kevin's Korner

In honor of recently-recognized Teacher Appreciation Week, we would like to express our gratitude for all the teachers across the world who work so diligently to ensure that our young people are prepared to lead an exciting future full of limitless possibilities and opportunity. As we are currently meeting with and training our cadre of academic leaders for our site-based programs, the topic of teacher excellence and appreciation has a particularly timely and relevant aspect for us.

The primary objective of SIG, and ultimately what all schools and educational programs seek to do, is to inspire student learning. Without this, all the planning, administrative work, facilities, maintenance, operations procedures, and other things that take place in and in support of such environments are pointless. Without strong connections between student and teacher, and a commitment to creating meaningful student learning, opportunity for our young people and healthy growth for society are hampered significantly.

Having been fortunate enough to have benefited from great teachers throughout my elementary, middle, and high school years, as well during later university studies, and having worked with wonderful teachers in a variety of settings, I can confidently say that they make a huge difference in the lives of our young people. During my elementary school years, however, I did experience one circumstance in which I just couldn't learn from a specific teacher (who shall remain nameless). No matter how many times I asked questions and met with the teacher after school and during break, I just couldn't pick up several crucial math concepts, and frankly I was scared. She seemed very committed to teaching, and nice and all, but we just didn't connect. Prior to this point I had always been able to learn and do well in my classes, but this was a new and strange experience. I even asked my mother to join me in a conference with the teacher to try to help me sort things out, which she did, but for some reason the teacher and I never "clicked."

Finally, I asked my parents if I could change schools, as the teacher I was having difficulty learning from was the only option in my grade at my school. I visited a different school the next day, and enrolled a few days later. The first morning I met my new teacher, I asked her to help me understand what I couldn't grasp at the previous school. In about five minutes I got it. She used examples that were relevant to me, determined what I knew, and made sure that I applied what she was instructing me to do right then and there, providing guidance as I practiced applying what she taught me. As a result, I became excited about school again, which led to my having a great experience for the next four years there, developing close friendships that I still have today, and ultimately deciding to teach. While I have had a great deal of important milestone moments in my life, I struggle to find one more transformative than when my new teacher taught me in five minutes what I couldn't learn in five months elsewhere. Thank you so much!

Kevin Wickersham
Academic Director
Summer Institute for the Gifted

Nominate Your Favorite SIG Teacher

Officially, Teacher Appreciation Week occurs during the month of May. We celebrate and appreciate educators all year long. Please nominate your favorite SIG teacher and tell us why. All submissions should be sent to by June 15th. Our instructors are extremely dedicated and multiply talented, so please share with us how they have touched your life while at a SIG program.

Puzzle Corner

What number should appear next in this sequence?

4   5   5   7   14   17   51   55   ?

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

Rearrange the letters of "POLL ANGERED GROUP" to give three colors. What are they?


Congratulations to Lea from Lakeville, Massachusetts, for being the first to respond with the correct answer to last month's puzzle!

Upcoming Conferences & Events


Sixth Annual Student-to-Student GATE Conference
May 16, 2015
Offers students grades 3-12 an opportunity to shine, to share their interests, talents and passions in a 15-minute workshop that will be attended by other students.
Cowell College, UCSC, Santa Cruz, California

Whitworth's Gifted Education Institute
May 19, 2015
"Personalizing Learning Through Differentiation and Technology,"
Contact Sharon Page at 509.777.3226, for more information


Victorian Association for Gifted and Talented Children (VAGTC) Conference
May 21 & 22, 2015
CQ Function Centre, Melbourne, Australia



Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG) Programs
June 15 , 2015, Out-of-Door Academy, Sarasota, Florida (day program)
June 20, 2015, UC Berkeley I, Berkeley, California (residential/commuter program)
June 21, 2015, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia (residential/commuter program)
June 22, 2015, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia (day program)
June 27, 2015, Yale University I, New Haven, Connecticut (residential/commuter program)
June 29, 2015, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York (day program)
June 29, 2015, Overlake School, Redmond, Washington (day program)
June 29, 2015, Woods Academy, Bethesda, Maryland (day program)

Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Education Symposium
June 8 - 11, 2015
Riverland Community College, Austin, Minnesota
Pre-Conference: June 7, Administrators Day: June 8

Challenging Advanced Learners Academy (CALA) III
June, 2015
University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, Wisconsin


Professional Summer Institute
June 29 - 30, 2015
Center for Gifted Education (CFGE), The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia



Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG) Programs
July 5, 2015, UCLA, Los Angeles, California (residential/commuter program)
July 5, 2015, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (residential/commuter program)
July 6 , 2015, Boston University Academy, Boston Massachusetts (day program)
July 6, 2015, Bryn Mawr, College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (day program)
July 6, 2015, Hudson School, Hoboken, New Jersey (day program)
July 6, 2015, Oak Hill Academy, Lincroft, New Jersey (day program)
July 6, 2015, Rippowam Cisqua School, Mount Kisco, New York (day program)
July 12, 2015, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida (residential/commuter program)
July 12, 2015, UC Berkeley II, Berkeley, California (residential/commuter program)
July 12, 2015, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York (residential/commuter program)
July 13, 2015, Sierra Canyon School, Chatsworth, California (day program)
July 13, 2015, Stuart Country Day School, Princeton, New Jersey (day program)
July 13, 2015, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida (day program)
July 19, 2015, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (residential/commuter program)
July 19, 2015, Yale University II, New Haven, Connecticut (residential/commuter program)
July 20, 2015, Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut (day program)
July 26, 2015, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (residential/commuter program)

The New Zealand Association for Gifted Children Conference
July 3-5, 2015
"The Many Faces of Giftedness," Speakers: Maureen Niehart, Saad Alamer, Melinda Webber, and more
Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand

University of Connecticut's Confratute
July 12 - 17, 2015
Keynotes: Joseph Renzulli, Sally Reis, Del Siegle, Gilman Whiting, Sandra Kaplan, James Kaufman, Ron Beghetto, and more
The Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut


SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) Conference Recommended  SIG’s president, Dr. Barbara Swicord, will be presenting.
July 24 - 26, 2015
"SOAR with SENG: Seeking Opportunities And Resources"
Denver, Colorado

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