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Professional Development

Professional Summer Institute

By Paige Hendricks

 The Center for Education at The College of William and Mary is offering a Summer Institute focused on curriculum, instruction, and assessment for high-ability learners on June 21-22, 2012.  We invite gifted program coordinators, other district and building-level administrators, teachers of the gifted, and all teachers to attend this special event! If you want to enhance your ability to differentiate appropriately for their high-ability learners, don’t miss this year’s Summer Institute! During the Summer Institute, the Center for Gifted Education materials will be highlighted as models of best practices in research-based curriculum in the field of gifted education. 

Institute participants will choose one of multiple sessions that relate to the framework and models used in the William and Mary curricular units.  These units are nationally acclaimed and draw on existing research and evidence of effective practices in gifted education.  Elements that permeate all sessions of the Institute are:

  •  Promoting standards of excellence. 
  •  Integrating 21st Century skills into curriculum, instruction, and assessment, including problem solving, critical thinking and reasoning, creative thinking, metacognition, and content-based thinking and process skills.
  •  Utilizing interdisciplinary concepts.
  •  Integrating high level content applications (activities and questions).
  •  Utilizing models to measure gifted students growth that reflects their aptitudes and achievement levels.

 For more information and to register for this event, please visit our website. We welcome you to Williamsburg, Virginia for a summer of learning and fun!

Pre-AP and AP Summer Institutes

By Paige Hendricks

Calling all Pre-AP and AP teachers!  The College of William and Mary is offering Pre-AP and AP Summer Institutes for you to attend!  These institutes will provide a unique professional development opportunity for future and new teachers of AP courses.  Hundreds of AP teachers from around the country come together for five days to hone their teaching techniques and skills, update their content area knowledge, and learn from experts and other teachers from across the country. 

The Pre-AP Institute (July 23-July 26, 2012) will offer resources and services designed to equip all middle and high school teachers with the strategies and tools they need to engage their students in active, high-level learning, thereby ensuring that every middle and high school student develops the skills, habits of mind, and concepts they need to succeed in college.  The courses offered are: English, History and Social Sciences, Mathematics, Science, and World Languages and Cultures.

The AP Institute (July 30-August 3, 2012) is designed to help new and beginning teachers plan and implement more effective AP programs in their schools.  Teachers who have no experience or who have 1-3 years of experience can benefit from a variety of courses including: Biology, Calculus AB, Chemistry, English Literature and Composition, English Language and Composition, Spanish, French, Macro Economics, Psychology, Statistics, Physics B&C, U.S. Government & Politics, U.S. History, European History, and World History.  New exams in World History, Biology, and French for 2012 will be discussed at the AP Institute.

At the Pre-AP and AP Summer Institutes, teachers will be able to deepen their knowledge of AP subject content while learning about effective teaching strategies from CollegeBoard® certified consultants who are master teachers.  These institutes allow participants to collaborate with others who are teaching the same courses at different schools from across the country.  Don’t miss the opportunity to become certified, increase your knowledge of AP subject areas, and network with other teachers in your field.  The College of William and Mary is a certified CollegeBoard® institution.  For additional information, see our website at

National Curriculum Network Conference (NCNC) 2012

By Paige Hendricks

On March 8th and 9th, 2012, The College of William and Mary, Center for Gifted Education hosted the 17th annual National Curriculum Network Conference: Supporting Gifted Learners from Potential to Success.  This year focused on an exciting variety of sessions about the “hot topic” of talent development and what it means for the evolution of the field of gifted education.  Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, director of the Center for Talent Development of Northwestern University, current President of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) presented her recent Presidential Speech at the NCN Conference.

Thinking about a “Hot Topic” in Gifted Education:  Talent Development

The gifted child model, the current paradigm in gifted education, stresses the importance of special services geared toward the student’s current and identified potential.  This paradigm focuses on the identification of the child in an academic setting and providing enriching environments for academic success.  According to Subotnik, Olszewski-Kubilius, and Worrell (2011), “gifted individuals are presumed to possess reasoning abilities that allow them to be successful across all academic domains and are presumed to remain gifted throughout their lives, whether or not they actually achieve” (p. 5).  In contrast with this model, the talent development model focuses on giftedness as a domain-specific developmental process from youth to adulthood, ultimately resulting in eminence.  The talent development model tailors identification processes and procedures to a specific domain (not necessarily academic) in relation to domain learning trajectories.  This allows individuals to receive “high levels of training and achievement,” eliciting “optimal performance” over the course of a lifetime (Subotnik, et al., p. 6).  This perspective differs from the gifted child model as the focus on superior exceptionality assumed is highlighted rather than in a general context within a particular domain.  While the talent development model utilizes an approach to services and opportunities over the course of a child’s lifetime, the gifted child model focuses its efforts on identification, services, and opportunities directly related to the identification process. .

Presentations from Internationally and Nationally Renowned Speakers

Following Dr. Olszewski-Kubilius’s presentation of her NAGC presidential speech on the Talent Development Model, a panel including several of our National Advisory Board (NAB) members, Dr. James Gallagher, University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, Dr. Larry Coleman, University of Toledo, Dr. Nicholas Colangelo, University of Iowa, Dr. Tracy L. Cross, The College of William and Mary, and Dr. Linda Brody, Johns Hopkins University explored this potential new direction with Dr. Olszewski-Kubilius and Dr. Rena Subotnik of the American Psychological Association.  This panel continued the conversation with their own individual thoughts about the talent development model, its implications and practical applications.  Additional presenters throughout the conference included Dr. Karen Rogers, University of St. Thomas (MN); Dr. Julie Dingle Swanson, College of Charleston; Dr. Joy Lawson Davis, University of Louisiana; and Dr. Carol Horn, Fairfax County Public Schools (VA).

 Friday, March 9th began with Dr. Nicholas Colangelo from the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and his riveting presentation on acceleration.  A special after-lunch treat was hearing Dr. Elizabeth Harbron, a chemistry professor from The College of William and Mary, present on developing science talent and the career paths of her college students. Participants had the unique opportunity to engage in dialogue with some of the great minds in our field and to network with colleagues and professionals. 

NCNC Traditional Favorites:  Sessions about The William and Mary Curricula         

The day continued with a wide variety of sessions on topics such as working with twice-exceptional learners, high potential students from poverty, creativity, developing talent in culturally and linguistically diverse students, and addressing growth in gifted education.  As always, the conference included a special focus on the William and Mary curricula in language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics. Over 25 sessions focused specifically on curricula for gifted learners.   Michael Clay Thompson, Royal Fireworks Press and Directors in the Center for Gifted Education (CFGE), also presented sessions.  Their presentation topics included the William and Mary curricula within the talent development paradigm by Dr. Kimberley Chandler, professional development as developing teacher talent by Dr. Lori Bland, altering attitudes about gifted education by Dr. Jennifer Cross, and inquiry-based questioning strategies by Dr. Mihyeon Kim.  Attendees were able to learn and explore many aspects of gifted education and link theoretical constructs to practical applications in their programming or teaching practices.

Virginia State Advisory Council

            Every year the CFGE invites all district coordinators in Virginia to participate as members of the CFGE State Advisory Council (SAC).   We provide them with attendance for free and, in return, the SAC provides advice and help with initiatives undertaken by the Center. This year SAC members had a presentation from Dr. Susan Johnsen, Baylor University, on the K-12 Gifted Programming Standards, assessing gifted learner outcomes, and standardized tests currently available. Dr. Lori Bland, Director of Professional Development and Practice in Gifted Education, said, “The State Advisory Council is one of the most important aspects of this conference.  It provides gifted coordinators with an opportunity to learn about research-based practices and share ideas with colleagues in the field.” 

Outstanding Leader Award for Program Development and Support of Gifted Learners

Gail Fischer Hubbard, Supervisor of Gifted Education and Special Programs from Prince William County Public Schools (VA) and SAC member was the 2012 recipient of the Center for Gifted Education Leadership Award.  This award is given by the Center to an individual dedicated to serving gifted students and furthering gifted programming, standards, and leadership within the field.  Gail Hubbard’s gracious and touching speech spoke to all of us in the audience who firmly believe that gifted students need guidance, mentors, and individuals who will fight for their individualized learning and development. 

CFGE National Advisory Board

In addition to regular sessions on Friday afternoon, was a concurrent National Advisory Board (NAB) meeting.  Almost all of the NAB members attended, including a new member, Dr. Colm O’Reilly from Dublin City University, Ireland.  The members were impressed with the conference in general and, specifically, the overall direction of the Center. 

Dr. Tracy L. Cross said, “Every aspect of this year's conference seemed to click and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  I take my hat off to the conference planners and the graduate students who worked so hard to pull it off.  My favorite part of NCNC this year was the supper held in the Great Hall of the Wren Building [Thursday evening].  Among the group were three generations of professional gifted educators from Dr. James Gallagher (grandfather of gifted education), to Dr. Paula Olszewski-Kubilius (current President of NAGC) to eight graduate students in our doctoral program in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership (EPPL) with an emphasis in gifted education.  I was witness to the past, present and future leadership of the field of gifted education.”

Mark your calendars! Next year’s NCN Conference is scheduled for March 21-22, 2013!  Don’t miss it!


Subotnik, R. F., Olszewski-Kubilius, P., & Worrell, F. C. (2011). Rethinking giftedness and gifted education: A proposed direction forward based on psychological science. Psychological Science in the Public Interest 12(1), 3– 54.

The College of William and Mary, Center for Gifted Education Hosts the Korean Nobel Project Recipients

By Paige Hendricks

 The College of William and Mary, Center for Gifted Education hosted 34 visitors from Korea on January 5-11, 2012.  Administrators, educators, and students from Korea came to Williamsburg, Virginia to exchange ideas about teaching and learning through a variety of scientific and mathematic curricular concepts.  This visit to the United States was part of the Korean Nobel Project, a project helping to stimulate the minds and develop the skills of Korea’s future global leaders. 

Visiting students went through a rigorous selection process to participate in the Nobel Project of Korea.  The top 0.01% of all students from the Chungcheongnamdo Province were selected to participate in the visit to The College of William and Mary.  In addition, the teachers and administrators who also participated have built successful mentor relationships with these students over time.

The Korean students engaged in authentic learning experiences through high-level and interactive mathematical and scientific curriculum.  The students learned about spatial reasoning, fractals, genetics, force and acceleration, and the chemistry behind crime scene investigation (CSI) in conjunction with The William and Mary gifted education curricular and instructional models.  The teachers received professional development on best practices to teach high-ability and gifted students using The William and Mary teaching and learning modules. The Korean teachers learned and practiced multiple teaching strategies that combine high-level content with problem-based learning and the development of conceptual understanding.

These topics were presented in conjunction with William and Mary curricular units of study and the Integrated Curriculum Model. Teaching and learning took place at the new School of Education building on the William and Mary campus as well as the science and computer laboratories of Small and Millington Halls.  The groups also interacted with classes of students and teachers at Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies in Richmond, Virginia for an entire day.  Finally, the Korean visitors toured Jamestown Settlement, downtown Richmond, and Colonial Williamsburg and became part of the rich history that Virginia has to offer.

Paige Hendricks is a doctoral student at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA.  Her concentration is in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership (EPPL), gifted administration and higher education.  Paige is also a full-time graduate assistant at the Center for Gifted Education, specializing in professional development, program evaluation, and conference planning.