NDAGC Quarterly Newsletter

October 2021, Issue 4

A Letter from the President

This past August of 2021 NDAGC celebrated the 3rd birthday of its non-profit status and formal affiliation with our parent organization, the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). While our organization may be small, it is without question active and vibrant. The life that NDAGC has is in no small part due to the commitment of the Board and Officers that come together every month, twice per month, to plan how we will put feet to our mission -- to support the growth and development of gifted and talented children through education, advocacy, community building, and research within North Dakota.

I am grateful to them for being willing to embrace this mission together for the sake of gifted students across our state – from the gifted students in our larger school systems, to the gifted students in the smallest of school settings and from every culture and economic strata. In these first three years, our President Yee Han Chu, Ph.D., kept our organization laser-focused on the goal of advocating for their growth through webinars, forums, research, and the development of statewide best practices.

Now I have been given the opportunity to continue the mission, too.

As the next President of NDAGC, I share the same commitment to gifted education as Dr. Chu and each of our officers. Like them, my devotion to gifted children and gifted education is steadfast. It has to be. Historically, gifted education has received very little support when compared to other educational arenas. Still, ever since I made the decision to shift my course from classroom teacher to teacher of the gifted, I have always found educators in the field to be extraordinarily passionate about advocating for gifted children—it is the kind of contagious passion that continues to fuel my own even on the toughest of days.

Gifted education has been the most wonderful place to spend my career, and I remain incredibly grateful to not only be able to continue to lead a gifted program in my city, but to be a part of an organization dedicated to advocacy and education of our students in the state of North Dakota – NDAGC. I am really looking forward to watching our organization continue to grow in the fulfillment of its mission and vision for gifted education.


Ann Duchscher

NDAGC President

September Webinar Recap - Getting to Know Your Gifted Students' Learning Preferences

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Visit https://ndagc.org/webinars to watch a recording of September's webinar, as well as access all of NDAGC's past webinars.
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October Webinar - Strategic Planning for Gifted Programs

Join us October 27th at 7:00 CST for a webinar presented by Alicia Schroeder-Schock. Visit https://ndagc.org/events to register and receive the zoom link.

If you are interested in presenting a future webinar, or would like to submit a suggestion for a future webinar topic, please follow this link to fill out the google form.

Book Study for Parenting Gifted Children

NDAGC is pleased to announce a learning event especially for our parent community of gifted children. Past NDAGC President, Yee Han Chu, Ph.D., will lead an 8-week book study entitled: Success Strategies for Parenting Gifted Kids published by NAGC.

This synchronous Zoom event promises to serve as a support system for parents with gifted children. You will have an opportunity to learn about best practices in raising gifted children from the experts, as well as, dialogue with other parents about the joys and challenges.

One professional development graduate credit through NDSU is pending approval.

You may register for the book study at our website and purchase a copy of the book through NAGC or your favorite bookseller.

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Gifted Education Essentials: NDAGC continues its commitment to quality professional development

This summer NDAGC continued its commitment to providing professional development for educators throughout the state by offering the course Gifted Education Essentials through NDSU’s Distance and Continuing Education. This course was open to classroom teachers, Gifted Education specialists, and administrators. The course was designed to allow participants to gain fundamental understandings about the field of gifted education, and to develop an action plan which could be implemented using new ideas gained from the course. NDAGC intends to make this course a regular summer opportunity for its members. As the testimonials below attest, Gifted Education Essentials provides a quality opportunity for learning about gifted students and what they need:

I would recommend the Gifted Education Essentials course for any classroom teacher. We often differentiate for struggling students to catch them up, but the higher learners deserve attention too - not just busywork. I learned so much about how these kids think, process, and what they need to reach their full potential. Practical, honest, insightful, and eye-opening content is what you will find in this program. It will make you a better teacher, parent, or support staff.

-Kim Garrison

In completion of the NDAGC Education Essentials course, I was able to reflect and review key components in gifted education and ponder new ideas and possibilities in reaching high-ability students. Even after over 25 years in the gifted education field, I would recommend this opportunity.

-Kim Sandvig

This course was helpful to me because I was able to work at my own pace, choose my content, and the tasks were manageable. In addition to a better understanding of what GT is and who the students are, what I took away from this course was a three-part action plan, which I will be able to implement in this coming year. Thank you for the opportunity to expand my understanding of GT kids, and the process as a whole.

-Anna Adrover

National Updates

NAGC Annual Convention - Denver, CO - November 11-14

We have waited a while to be able to gather as educators and friends of gifted education, but 2021 is the year, and Denver, Colorado is the place. NAGC could not have chosen a more perfect location to bring us back together again than the Mile High City where our learning and networking could only maybe be outmatched by the breathtaking Rockies. And quite frankly, we deserve the beauty of both.

Browsing the selection of sessions that will be offered this year is invigorating; and the topics to choose from are vast. Thinking, equity, curriculum, advocacy, needs of rural schools, policy, twice-exceptionalities, are just the beginning of the topical offerings. Also of important note, North Dakota gifted educator, Alicia Schroeder-Shock along with colleague Brian Housand of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, will co-present their session on Friday, November 12 at 8 AM: How Did You Think Today? Putting Students and Their Thinking in the Driver's Seat.

If you have been holding off to attend NAGC, this is the year -- it is a conference that never disappoints.

Tenth Grade American Indian/Alaska Native Students’ Feelings of School Belonging, Instructional Alignment, and Math Performance

Steven D. LeMire and Yee Han Chu

This study compares tenth grade American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) and non–AI/AN students’ sense of belonging in schools. AI/AN students are then compared with “other race” students (Black and White) regarding whether they feel they can understand a difficult math class, with math performance controlling for student sense of belonging. Data from the Education Longitudinal Study (ELS 2002–2013) are used. Our findings indicate that there was little difference between students’ belonging constructs. The variable “can understand difficult math class” was positively associated with improved math performance among AI/AN and non–AI/AN students. However, AI/AN students showed lower levels of math performance than non–AI/AN students overall. This suggests that, after accounting for the belonging constructs, other important factors influence AI/AN students’ math performance. These findings support the findings of Matthews and López (2019) that teacher expectations are a necessary but not sufficient requisite for mathematics learning. Critical awareness of cultural content integration is also necessary.

Journal of American Indian Education

Vol. 59, No. 2-3 (Summer-Fall 2020), pp. 57-74 (18 pages)

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

Read the rest of the article here:


State Updates

TEACHER FEATURE - Fargo G/T Teacher Anna Adrover Learns With, Alongside Her Students

When Anna Adrover began her education career as a substitute teacher, she had no idea that she would be teaching gifted and talented education a few years later. She also didn’t know how rewarding it would be. Anna’s road to teaching gifted education included subbing, being a one-on-one para, and working as a support teacher in special education before accepting a position as a second-grade teacher, then finally moving into gifted and talented education. Now in her second year as the gifted and talented teacher at Longfellow Elementary School in Fargo, Anna hopes that’s where she’ll stay.

Anna is constantly amazed at the speed at which gifted kids learn. “I've learned to roll with the punches,” she says. “These kids get the stuff that I'm teaching them, and they get it so fast!” Once, while teaching a group of gifted and talented third graders about paraphrasing, Anna’s lessons suddenly morphed into an impromptu research project on shipwrecks, the Titanic, and social class. “Gifted kids really push you as a teacher,” she explains, “to not only keep up but to be engaged with them, in topics that interest them.”

While teaching, Anna is concurrently working on a gifted endorsement through Valley City State University. Of her own learning, she says, “I have learned so much in this past year! It was the education that I missed when I was going through general education and the SPED program. Back then, I learned about kids and their developmental milestones, and things that might slow a student down or students that might need support in the classroom. I learned how to support the kids on the lower end. But I never really understood what to do with kids at the top.”

Anna has become passionate not only about supporting gifted students but also about working with other teachers. “I think that we need to have more education about gifted kids before teachers get into the workforce,” she says. Anna feels fortunate to be in a district where teachers collaborate to support gifted learners. “In Fargo Public Schools, we have a really great team of highly motivated teachers. We’re working on getting everybody who is gifted identified, and we’re doing that in multiple ways. We’re looking for equity across the board; we’re not just looking for the kids with high test scores. We’re also making sure that our demographics are represented properly. I think that we are going to be setting the standard for the whole state.” Anna’s excitement is evident, and as an interviewer, I suddenly find myself wanting to be part of her teaching team. “My job is the coolest thing!” she proclaims. “I get excited just coming to school and seeing the kids grow! This is what teaching is supposed to be, you know?”

Enrichment Opportunities in North Dakota

Putting the Spotlight on North Dakota Best Practices in Gifted Education

This year a group of stakeholders from across North Dakota came together to rewrite the state’s previous guiding document from the early nineties. While that document languished for much too long without updating, the new ND state document brings into focus a much needed had a path of excellence adapted to follow: from the National Standards for Gifted and Talented Education, written by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) which was recently updated in 2019.

NDAGC is excited to announce that each quarter we will focus on a segment of the state’s new Best Practices in Gifted Education document with the purpose of sharing or applying that segment to valuable practices in serving our gifted students. This issue’s purpose emphasizes the extensive and comprehensive foundation of evidence-based practices that frame the document.

It is critically important to note that each of the evidence-based practices in the National Standards offers laser focused outcomes for gifted students which are centered upon a solid foundation of research, literature, and practice-based studies from both within and outside of gifted education. These fields include technology, learning environments, psychosocial skill development, and diversity. Additionally, these standards adhere closely to the language in the NAGC-CEC teacher standards.

These alignments are important as they represent high quality and high standards. North Dakota’s new document closely follows the national document and because it does, it equally represents excellence. While the state’s document in no way serves as a mandate for North Dakota schools, it is a document to guide programming and teacher preparation. Simply, if a school system wants to develop a defensible gifted program, then the best place to begin the planning is with these standards. There is no stronger beginning. They are the high bar to aim for and frankly, it is reassuring to know that we have them to guide our planning and decision making because ultimately we want what is best for our students.

To learn more about the framework underpinning the standards and to see responses to commonly asked questions about them, including how the standards are supported by current research and effective practices, be sure to read Introduction to Gifted Programming Standards. Then follow your review with taking a look at the introduction in our North Dakota document.