WAETAG Conference Report (continued)
WAETAG Part 2 – The Connections
Let’s start with the most important, shall we? One of our PATH parents (you know who you are–thank you!) offered to pay the registration for a decision maker from Tahoma School District (TSD) to attend the WAETAG conference, provided TSD would match it and send a second person. TSD accepted the offer, and then they sent an additional educator, for a total of 3 attending from TSD: Chris Everett (administrator over the elementary highly capable program in the district), Patty Kiffer (elementary level instructional coach), and Bridget Vannice (middle level instructional coach). I got together with the three of them for lunch one day at the conference, and their enthusiasm for what they’d been learning was contagious! I was able to share some of PATH’s goals, and we talked about how we could work together to meet them.
SENG Model Parent Group (SMPG) facilitator
A couple of PATH parents have asked about the possibility of starting up a SMPG in our area. These are support and sharing groups, typically meeting weekly for ten weeks, which focus on the emotional needs of the gifted. You can find more information here. Previously, the closest group was in Bellevue. However, I met up with April Drake, in Enumclaw, who is a newly certified SMPG facilitator. She will be starting up a group in the near future, which any of our PATH parents would be welcome to attend.
Northwest Gifted Child Association (NWGCA)
I was able to meet up with the president of NWGCA, Austina de Bonte, and talk with her about our efforts with PATH. First, I learned the distinction between the 3 major gifted education groups in WA state: WAETAG is for educators. Washington Coalition for Gifted Education is to help bring legislative change. And NWGCA is for parents. I was able to get some advice from Austina about how to organize PATH. In addition, though, Austina was a valuable resource for another reason. She founded her district’s parent group (similar to PATH) ten years ago, so her perspective is spot-on.
2E (Twice Exceptional) Seattle
I had lunch with Christine Tang, one of the co-presidents of 2e Seattle, another parent group. They focus on the needs of twice exceptional children (ie. those who are gifted and who also have some kind of learning challenge). It was great to trade ideas with someone who is in a similar situation to me.
I spoke with and learned from a number of other people, as well, but the ones I already discussed are likely the most interesting to you. As I mentioned previously, this conference was hugely beneficial to both me personally as well as to PATH. I’m already excited to attend next year!