NDAGC Quarterly Newsletter

July 2022, Issue 7

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Please join us at our upcoming parent forum! To RSVP for the event, follow the link below:

North Dakota Association for Gifted Children - NDAGC Parenting Forum

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National and International Scholarships: Developing Expertise among Gifted and Talented Young Adults

People often view gifted education as belonging solely within the domain of K12 educators and researchers. Focus on these formative years can lull parents into thinking that their gifted and talented children will not face any more challenges after the end of high school. Any parent with an adult gifted and talented child knows otherwise.

The personality traits associated with giftedness persist well into adulthood. Excitable, sensitive, and perceptive children become excitable, sensitive, and perceptive adults. Parents seeking resources to help their children transition successfully into college life face the same challenges they have always faced: how do we help our gifted and talented children be confident and happy individuals who approach their future with a strong sense of purpose.

In fact, the need to find that purpose feels even more urgent in early adulthood. For adults, successful achievement requires a clearly formed identity, a commitment within a field, and a capacity to make meaningful personal and social connections with others. This difficult stage particularly taxes gifted young adults, as they must develop expertise and find like-minded, equally ambitious peers in the context of making all the other changes associated with adulthood.

Parents looking for resources to share with their children on the cusp of adulthood should encourage them to look at national and international scholarship opportunities. These types of scholarships should not be confused with financial aid or similar scholarships designed to help students pay for their education. National and international scholarships focus on giving students the opportunity to enrich their learning beyond the general expectations for completing a college degree. These merit-based, often fully-funded scholarships allow talented students to develop the knowledge and skills toward expertise in a competitive environment. Here are three examples of University of North Dakota (UND) students who have used scholarships to broaden and enrich their education.

  • Elisabeth Kolb, a 2022 UND graduate from West Fargo, ND was named a 2022 Fulbright ETA Germany Scholar. Elisabeth will be a teacher’s assistant in a Munich, Germany classroom next year. She hopes to attend medical school upon her return to the United States. Fulbright awardees are signaled as future leaders in their field of interest.

  • Merrick McMahon, a 2022 UND graduate from Minot, ND was named a 2021 Udall, 2021 Indian Health Services, and 2021 Cobell Scholar. Merrick hopes to attend dental school and better the oral health of Native Americans residing in North Dakota. The scholarships he won offer financial awards to assist with current and future academic studies. The Udall Scholarship offers important social networking opportunities for individuals who aspire to become advocates for Indian Health Care reform.

  • Taylor Roehl, a 2022 UND graduate from New Leipzig, ND was named a 2022 Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) Young Professional Scholar. She earned a fully-funded opportunity to study and intern in Germany for one year in preparation for her application to become a medical doctor.

Robert Sternberg, a well-known psychologist and contributor to gifted education research, distinguishes between academic success and life success. His theory of successful intelligence says that success in the real world requires students to transform academic decision-making into critical life stage decision-making. Sternberg and Grigorenko (2004) examined the traits of successful scholarship winners. These winners not only had the capacity to do well on academic exams, but also demonstrated wisdom, intelligence, and creativity. Wisdom is being concerned about the problems of society. Intelligence is being adaptable. Creativity is showing a capacity to redefine problems.

As your parenting journey continues and your role becomes a guide on the side for your gifted and talented emerging adults, encourage your children to apply for national and international scholarship opportunities. They offer much-needed fiscal, social, and experiential support that helps your children realize their potential. Some final words of guidance:

  • Passion. Help your children discover their passion point early, well before they begin looking for universities.

  • University. Find a university that will allow your children to develop their passion.
  • National and International Scholarships. Contact the national scholarship coordinator at your child’s university to identify merit-based national and international scholarships that cultivate your children’s passion.

National and International Scholarships as Pathways to Expertise


Have you thought about what you would like your undergrad experience to look like?

Interested In

International, Language Study

Boren, CLS/CLS-SPARK, DAAD Undergrad, Gilman, UK Fulbright Summer Institutes

Public Service

Student Conservation Association


University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities-UND SMHS & Arts and Sciences (UND Students); Summer Research Early Identification Program “SREIP”


What type of internship and research experiences will move you in the direction of your academic or career goals?

Interested In

International, Language Study

Boren, Charles Rangel Summer Enrichment, CLS/CLS-SPARK, DAAD Undergrad, Gilman, UK Fulbright Summer Institutes

Public Service

Davis Projects for Peace, Fortis Society, Humanity in Action, Summer Rangel Enrichment, Udall


Summer Research Early Identification Program “SREIP”; Amgen Scholars Program


Goldwater; NOAA Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship Program


How are you preparing for your next steps after graduation?

Interested In

Graduate School (Abroad/US)

Gates, Marshall, Mitchell, Public Policy and International Affairs Program Fellowship, Rhodes, Schwarzman

International, Language Study

Boren, CLS/CLS-SPARK, DAAD Rise in Germany, Gilman, Freeman, Fulbright, Pickering

Public Service

Davis Projects for Peace, Humanity in Action, Public Policy & International Affairs “PIPA,” Summer Rangel Enrichment, Truman, Udall


Amgen Scholars Program, DAAD Rise in Germany, Summer Research Early Identification Program “SREIP”


Goldwater; Homeland Security HS-STEM Summer Internship Program


Fulbright (Creative Arts)


What are your long-term goals beyond college?

Interested In


Fulbright (Creative Arts), Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program (Fine Arts, Humanities, or Social Sciences)

Graduate School

Knight-Hennessy, PD Soros

Graduate School Abroad

Gates, Marshall, Mitchell, Rhodes, Schwarzman

International Opportunities

CLS/CLS-SPARK, DAAD Study Scholarship, Fulbright, German Chancellor Fellowship Program, Humanity in Action

International Relations

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Charles Rangel, Payne

Public Service

Citizen Schools, City Hall Fellows, City Year, Green Corps Environment Fellowship, Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellows Program, RARE AmeriCorps, Samuel Huntington Public Service Award, Schuler Scholar Program Scholar Coaches; Herbert Scoville Peace & Security Fellowship, White House Fellows


Hertz Foundation, Homeland Security HS-STEM Summer Internship Program, NSF-GRFP


Sternberg, R. J. and Grigorenko, E. L. (2004). WISC: A model for selecting students for nationally competitive scholarships. In A. S. Ilchman, W. F. Ilchman, and M. H. Tolar (Eds.), The lucky few and the worthy many (pp. 32-61). Indiana University Press.


Yee Han Chu PhD MSSW is the University of North Dakota (UND) Academic Support and Fellowship Opportunities Coordinator and NDAGC Board Member.

https://und.edu/academics/national-scholarships/; https://clscholarship.org/news/2022/advisor-chat-yee-han-chu
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Parent and Teacher Communication: Fostering a Team Approach

A common precept in education is that families and educators should work together as a team. The word team is defined in many ways, partly because it can be used in many different parts of speech. For example, when used as a noun, Webster’s dictionary defines team as: “a number of persons associated together in work or activity”. However, merely being associated together does not encompass the positive relationship between teachers and parents that allows gifted learners to thrive. Consider instead Webster’s definition of team as a verb, which would infer a team in action: “to form a team or association: join forces or efforts”. Families and teachers need to join forces to create a strong proactive partnership to achieve a worthy goal.

Therefore, the question which looms large for both parties in pursuit of a goal is how to create this active and dynamic team. The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) asserts that the three key components to creating a collaborative team are “trust, respect, and a commitment to teamwork…”(2019). The challenge, thus, is to foster an environment where both parties work together, rather than against each other. To facilitate productive communication, elements of mutual respect and trust need to exist. It is ideal for this relationship to be reciprocal; meaning it is developed on both sides. Hallmarks are parents placing their trust in the professional expertise of the educators who work with their child, and educators who recognize the key role that parents can play in understanding and advocating for their child’s unique needs.

NAGC believes strongly in the important role parents can play in their child’s education, and they maintain:

Parents are key to monitoring their child’s level of challenge at school and whether he or she is growing academically, socially, and emotionally each year. Communication between teachers and parents, focused on sharing important observations and questions about progress and challenges, is critical to supporting how to best maximize the talent and potential of each individual child (2019).


Educators who show a commitment to honoring the perspective and feedback from families can demonstrate their willingness to establish trust and respect. One way teachers can strive to do this is through establishing two-way communication. “Two-way communication…is correspondence that goes back and forth between the sender and receiver. In this situation, the sender and receiver are equals. Both listen to each other and share their thoughts or questions” (Waterford.org). Ways teachers can facilitate two-way communication include:

  • Discuss contact methods with each parent at the beginning of the school year. Use their preferences to create personal and classroom parent communication plans.

  • Share positive comments you have about your students with their parents. When they have questions later in the school year, they’ll feel more comfortable coming to you.

  • Make parent-teacher conferences a goal-making discussion rather than an assessment or lecture.

  • Be proactive with letting parents know about any concerns you have about their child. That way, you can all work together to find a solution

  • Document your communication efforts to keep track of what works best for each family (Waterford.org).


At the same time, parents can establish positive relationships with teachers through productive communication. J.F. Smutny’s article “Communicating Effectively with Your Gifted Child’s School,” originally published in 2002 with an update in 2015, has stood the test of time due to its valuable advice. The full article is a worthwhile read, however her criteria for a successful conference (and one could argue all family and teacher communications) is worth noting for families:

  • Your child is the main focus, not the opinions or agenda of you or the teacher.

  • Both you and the teacher listen to each other and consider each other’s point of view.

  • You negotiate for solutions that will meet your child’s needs without disregarding the teacher’s responsibilities or your knowledge of your child.

  • You come to an understanding even if you had different opinions.

  • You both agree to work on a solution that will help your child and to continue working together.

  • You both make commitments and scheduled actions.

The charge to both teachers and families for this upcoming school year is to develop an active team which joins efforts and forces to provide the best possible education for the gifted child(ren) in their sphere of influence. The impetus is on both parties to bring forth their best efforts to nurture a relationship which is both positive and productive. These endeavors will take diligence and time. However, they will be rewarded with all stakeholders (including students, families, and teachers) feeling they are effectively achieving their full potential.


“How Two-Way Communication Can Boost Parent Engagement.” Waterford.org. 8 November 2018, https://www.waterford.org/education/two-way-communication-parent-engagement/ Accessed 23 June 2022.

National Association for Gifted Children. “Position Statement: The Importance of Parent, Family, and Community Engagement.” National Association for Gifted Children, 2019, http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/Governance/Parent%20Family%20%20Community%20Position%20Statement-Revised%208-11-19.pdf. Accessed 23 June 2022.

Smutny, J.F. “Communicating Effectively with Your Gifted Child’s School.” Davidson Institute, 9 March 2020, https://www.davidsongifted.org/gifted-blog/communicating-effectively-with-your-gifted-childs-school/. Accessed 23 June 2022.

Author: Beth Ustanko has been an elementary educator for 22 years and is currently a Gifted Services teacher with Fargo Public Schools. Her prior experience includes teaching both as a classroom and GATE teacher with West Fargo Public Schools. Beth earned her BA from Concordia College, her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from St. Catherine University, and completed her coursework for her Gifted and Talented Endorsement from the University of North Dakota. Beth has served as Secretary for NDAGC since 2018. She credits her daughter’s GT teacher for encouraging her to consider the field of Gifted Education. She has both found a true passion for working with gifted students, and a better understanding of the needs of her own child.

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The Administrator Toolbox

The goal of gifted services is to engage students on a daily basis with appropriately challenging curriculum and instruction. Strong and sustainable services for gifted students require time to develop and must be modified over time. Planning and implementation of services designed to meet the needs of gifted students can be a daunting endeavor. So where does one begin?

Fortunately, the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) has a “toolbox” which can help guide you and district administrators to work as a team while building research-based programming and services. A taskforce of administrators created this toolbox of resources, appropriately named Administrator Toolbox, to help districts create or improve their gifted programming.

The digital Administrator Toolbox contains videos and other resources to assist in guiding the process to better serve gifted students. Resources in the toolbox include:

Rationale for Gifted Education

Basics of Gifted Education

Accountability for All Student Learning

Connecting Gifted Ed to Other School Practices

The wealth of information in the Administrator Toolbox is a wonderful starting point for any district as it plans for its gifted students. The toolbox can serve as a “check-up” of a district’s services. It will guide users to determine where their district is proficient in planning for its gifted students and where it is lacking, thus making it a valuable tool for parents and teachers, in addition to administrators.

There is not one exact trajectory that navigates a gifted student’s educational journey, but the NAGC Administrator Toolbox is a great resource when planning for the learning needs of gifted students.


National Association for Gifted Children Administrator Toolbox, http://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources-administrators/administrator-toolbox

Accessed 28 June 2022

Author: Andrea Edstrom is a recently retired Gifted Education Specialist. She spent the last 32 years working for Bismarck Public Schools with 30 of those years in gifted education. She holds a Special Education credential in Gifted Education, a combined major in Elementary Education and Mathematics, and a Middle School Endorsement in Mathematics. Andrea has been an advocate for the rights of gifted individuals since early in her career and continues to promote the needs of gifted individuals. Andrea is currently a board member for NDAGC where she serves as treasurer.

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Chess Club

Tuesdays 5:30-8:30

The library’s Chess Club is free and open to all ages and levels of expertise. Registration is not required. Adults must accompany children under 10 years old.

For more information about the Fargo Public Library program, please call Lori West at 701.476.5977.

Oceans of Possibilities!

The Summer Reading Challenge starts Monday, June 1 and runs through August 20. The Summer Reading Challenge is free and open to readers of all ages, from babies to adults. Everyone is encouraged to read, discover, and learn this summer with our Oceans of Possibilities reading program.

Sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge here!

Children and teens in Bismarck and Burleigh County are invited to participate in the 2022 Summer Reading program - Oceans of Possibilities, from June 3-July 31, 2022.

From birth through 12th grade, youth will log minutes of reading either individually or with a caregiver. Prizes can be earned by reaching prescribed levels: a Gifted Bean treat at 1000 minutes; sponsorship of an animal at Dakota Zoo at 3000 minutes. Those who complete the 3000-minute goal in the program are also eligible for a prize drawing at the end of the summer.

All participants who read throughout the 2 months are eligible to receive the Bank of North Dakota College SAVE Summer Reading Champion award. Details will be provided.


Junior Zookeeper Leadership Program

Ages 11-14 or who have completed the 5th grade (whichever comes first), Participants will have the opportunities to assist in animal care, create enrichment, educate the public, inspire conservation action, learn more about our animals, and help clean, prepare and maintain the zoo each day.

UND 2022 Computer Science Summer Camps

Minecraft Morning Camp


  • July 25 - 29, 2022 / Monday - Friday

  • 9:00am - Noon

  • Ages 9 - 14

  • $125.00/camper


MSUM College for Kids & Teens

MultiMedia Literacy $175

8:30 AM - 12:00 PM

10 - 14 Year Olds

Calling all multimedia researchers! We need you in our Multimedia Literacy” TAG course! This course is for the learner who is excited to dig into twenty-first-century texts, including movies and videos, podcasts, audiobooks, novels and short stories, graphic novels and comic books, TV episodes, music, and more. Are you a film critic? An author? A creator of media and art? Then, we need you to help us research the most important issues of today’s kids, through stories and storytelling. TAG Courses through MSUM’s College for Kids Program are designed through a Project- and Problem-Based Approach Which Tag course is right for me? Take our interest quiz https://quiz.tryinteract.com/#/625c3d1530169c0018dfb529

For more information:


NDSU STEM Kids Camp 2022

Students in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 are invited to the NDSU College of Engineering. 2022 Camps will be offered July 11-14 and July 18-21.

Morning sessions will run from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Afternoon sessions will run from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

For more information contact Lauren Singelmann, Outreach Coordinator, at lauren.n.singelmann@ndsu.edu or (701) 231-5798

North Dakota 4-H Camp

4-H membership is not required and scholarships are available. To see the full list of activities visit:

July 17-21: STEM Explorer Camp Ages 10-15

July 31- Aug. 4: Trades Camp Ages 12-18

July 31-Aug. 4: 4-H Forensics Science Camp Ages 10-18


For more information contact the 4-H office: 701-231-7251. For Registration questions, contact Holly Halvorson 701-231-9218

Concordia Language Villages: Language Immersion Programs

From pre-K enrichment, day camps and sleepaway camps to programs the entire family can enjoy together! Concordia language Village offers programs in Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Swiss.

For more information visit: