Gifted in Paradise


Welcome Parents of Paradise Valley Gifted Learners!

This is a special edition of this parent newsletter offering resources and support for your family as we transition into the summer break.

>>> Please explore the reading, games, and collaborative enrichment suggestions created by our gifted teachers.

>>> We are also still accepting applications for Journey and our self-contained gifted program. Application links are near the end of this communication.

>>> Enjoy the great news and celebrations located mid-newsletter!

Although our offices remain closed, the Gifted Department staff remain available for questions. Inquiries may be emailed to Phaedria Begay, Administrative Assistant, at or you may leave a voicemail at (602) 449-2113.

Enrichment Extras & Summer Suggestions

Our gifted teachers collaborated & created menus of resources for Preschool, K-3 grades, and 4-6 grade-level learners. Please explore & enjoy this summertime learning with your family.
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Fun-size Practices for Literacy at Home

From Corwin Connect / Author: Gretchen Bernabei

My dad told me once, the mark of a good manager is how well things run when he’s not there. This thought helped guide my teaching life for over 30 years, but it has never been more tested than now, in the time of Covid-19. If you’ve tried to help your own children with assignments at home, you may have grappled with this one truth about teachers: we often overcomplicate things. And although I believe that there is no substitute for a live, up-close teacher, with eye contact and fully-nuanced facial expressions, I also have seen that if we simplify on our end, we can ease stress, frustration, and withdrawal on the other side.

Let’s look at a few ways to lighten the load for everyone. Is it possible to simplify our lessons without sacrificing complexity? Well yes! It is.

Explore the four easy-to-do strategies at this link:

Engaging, Low-Tech Activities To Do At Home With Your Gifted Child

From NAGC:

With everything going on in the world now, school systems are dealing with not being able to gather in person—something they’ve never had to do before. Because of this, you might notice that the needs of your gifted child have changed and the task may fall on you to supplement your child’s education.

It’s important to remember that gifted children don’t necessarily need access to the latest computer or be connected to the internet to be engaged. Many gifted learners are self-starters: They possess an insatiable curiosity and want to go deep in areas of interest. Here are some activities that can be done from home to help engage and challenge your gifted child.

Continue reading:

The 10 Best Games for Gifted Children

Gifted children enjoy many of the same games, like Monopoly, that other children enjoy, but their love of learning and need for challenge means that they will enjoy games where they can learn, show off their knowledge, and be challenged. Whether your gifted child loves dinosaurs or space, language or logic, or anything in between, you can find the perfect game.1 Here are 10 great games for gifted kids that the whole family can play.

The Game That Is Worth 1,000 Worksheets

Have you and your children been struggling to learn the math facts? The game of Math Card War is worth more than a thousand math drill worksheets, letting you build your children’s calculating speed in a no-stress, no-test way.

Join the Happiness Lab for At-Home Mindfulness Practice

Important life skills such as gratitude, mindfulness, and a positive mindset are key to overall child development and well-being. So, we created The Happiness Lab with developing those skills in mind.

These courses are thorough and will provide you with all the materials you need to incorporate more happiness and growth in your K-12 classroom (both virtual and in-person) or into your home.

Let us help you, support you, and encourage you through this uncertain time. - Kim Strobel, Strobel Education

Click the box below to register.


Fireside Self-Contained Gifted Students Showcase Economic Knowledge at ACEE Virtual Competition

Students in Ted Theodorou’s sixth-grade Self Contained Gifted class at Fireside Elementary School showcased their skills at the National History Day State Competition, held virtually on April 3, 2020.

The Arizona Council on Economic Education (ACEE) Mayor's Challenge is a statewide competition reserved for middle and high school students and consists of the National Economics Competition, Personal Finance Case Study, and Economics Critical Thinking (high school only). Fireside Elementary School Results from the ACEE Mayors' Challenge:

The Econ Challenge (consists of a written test and Quiz Bowl)

  • First Place Winners: Joey Allan, Sam Frutkin, and Aavi Shah
  • Fourth Place Winners: Danny Canache, Wyatt Wessels, and Colin Whinnie

The Personal Finance Challenge (consists of an oral presentation to a panel of judges)

  • First Place Winners: Riya Bhakta, Mia Erny, and Emily Milligan

Theodorou explained, “The study of economics was tied into our social studies and math curriculum this year. Students explored various concepts related to both macro and microeconomics, as well as current international events. Instructional methods included project-based learning, blended learning opportunities, and student collaboration on real-world scenarios. Parent volunteers also helped by coaching students during after-school study sessions. Overall, I am very proud of my students’ success this year!”

Each winning team received $200.

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Sharing something special: Shadow Mountain Digital Academy AP Scholars Capstone Projects

Dear Parents,

Please see the message and invitation below from Mr. Kevin Storey, coordinator for PVSchools' Digital Academy of AP Scholars located at Shadow Mountain High School (DAAPS). Mr. Storey invites you to view the inspiring final year passion projects from the graduating DAAPS Program students and learn more about this wonderful program. - Dr. Brulles


Dear Parents,

I am reaching out to share something special. For students who enter the DAAPS Program as 9th graders and remain in the program for their Senior year, the final year allows them to participate in a Capstone/Passion Project. (We call these DAAPStone Projects.) This project culminates in a presentation/demonstration of the projects. When our April 16th event was canceled due to distance learning, the students scrambled to develop another way to display their work and celebrate the completion of their year-long efforts. They have put together a wonderful website that highlights the progress they made throughout the school year and their final product. The site was finalized and launched for public viewing last Friday. We are incredibly pleased with what was produced and would like to show it off to you.

The 2020 DAAPStone Celebration can be accessed here.

From the "About Us" page, you will find the 13 exceptional students, biographies, abstracts for their projects and links to their personalized pages.

As the instructor for this course, I am so pleased with the outcome of the projects. I am, however, more pleased and impressed by their dedication to overcoming adversity over the past several weeks. These students took a less than ideal situation and turned it into something beautiful. I hope that you are as pleased as I am about the way they have represented Shadow Mountain High School and the Paradise Valley Unified School District.

I'm happy to offer more information and insight if you would like. Thank you for taking time to appreciate and celebrate these wonderful students in the DAAPS Graduating Class of 2020.

Kevin Storey, DAAPS Coordinator

Shadow Mountain High School

DAAPS Website

Thank you to UPC!

PVSchools' Gifted Education Department would like to thank the UPC Gifted Parent Group, and particularly the UPC Gifted Parent Liaison, Melissa Schwartz, for their extensive collaboration throughout the school year. Collaboration with UPC resulted in the sharing of ideas and resources, and the planning of our gifted parent night events. We encourage you to explore and enjoy some of our past parent night seminars, which can be accessed through the UPC site at:

Thank you to Parents!

For honoring and recognizing so many of our gifted teachers.
UPC Teacher Appreciation 2019-2020

Gifted Testing Update:

  • I planned to have my gifted child tested this spring. When will that testing take place?

Due to the current school closures. PVUSD gifted testing has been postponed until closures are lifted at our school sites. We anticipate rescheduling testing this summer. Please continue to check our gifted website for more specifics regarding testing sites, times and schedules in the coming month.

We will contact families that were previously scheduled for gifted testing (at their school sites and/or at the district office) via email as soon as logistics are confirmed.

You may also choose to take your child to a private provider office; you will schedule this with their offices if and when they should open. If you select outside testing, please refer to our list of approved outside testers.

This remains a quickly evolving situation, and we thank you for your patience and understanding. - Deanna Shahverdian, testing technician

Where Will Your Journey Take You? - Journey Midd Schools Program at Mountain Trail Middle Schools

Accepting Applications! - Join the Journey!

The PVSchools Gifted Education Department is proud to unveil its newest program exclusively for middle school students, Journey.

Although campuses may be closed at the moment, our Gifted Department is currently accepting online applications for Journey, and spaces are limited. This new program will be hosted in Mountain Trail Middle School, located just northwest of Cave Creek Road and Deer Valley Drive.

The objective of the Journey program is "to differentiate education based on the needs of the individual gifted learner while keeping the students together in content blocks and immersing them in multiple modes of learning."

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Self-Contained Applications Open!

Parent Resources

Supporting Your Child During COVID-19

As COVID-19 forces us to face new norms like social distancing, remote learning, and shelter-inplace orders, gifted children may exhibit increased anxiety, sadness, intense feelings, and out-of-theordinary behavior.

School is suddenly shut. Routines are disrupted. Family members may be sad, sick, or scared. Media coverage is continuous. Our children's worlds have become anything but normal.

During this world pandemic, gifted children may experience intense emotions or anxiety, especially if they react intensely or are considered twice-exceptional under normal circumstances. Most families are at home—perhaps huddled around their TVs or smartphones—so there is little escape for those with a predisposition for asynchrony, emotional intensity, or anxiety.

Read more:

Article from the National Association for Gifted Children,