Gifted Education, STEM, and Creativity Symposium

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August 22, 2018
9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Rider University
Lawrenceville Campus
Daly's Dining Hall, Mercer Room

Register Now!

For more information or to register over the phone, contact:
Chris Laquidara-Kolvek
[email protected]

Symposium Description

Rider University's College of Education and Human Services is very pleased to offer our annual Gifted Education, STEM, and Creativity Symposium. This one-day Symposium is offered at no cost to attendees and made possible by the generous contributions of the Martinson Family Foundation.

This year, the Symposium will be offering participants the opportunity to present brief overviews of free tech apps/sites that can be used in the classroom. Presentations will be limited to no more than 3 minutes and must select the option to present during registration as well as indicate which app/site they would like to present. 10 people will be selected to present over the lunch hour and will be notified in advance if their topic has been selected.

The Symposium will provide a stand-alone workshop for those wanting to understand the nature of gifted education, talent development, and creativity, especially within the STEM disciplines. Participants who want to gain more in-depth expertise with these topics may participate in the Symposium, and engage in a follow-up 3-credit online graduate course (CURR-650 Understanding Gifted Learners) through readings and assignments. Course assignments will be due September 2, 2018.

Those registered in advance will be given a head start on readings and course assignments prior to the one-day symposium to avoid excessive workload at the end of the month.

Six Professional Development (PD) Hours are available for attending the Symposium.

We will explore the following questions, among others:

  • What is giftedness?
  • What is creativity?
  • What is talent development?
  • What teaching and learning strategies are best for gifted learners?
  • Can an interest in the STEM disciplines be cultivated in the gifted student and how do we identify STEM talent?
  • How can the gifted and talented match their abilities with turbulent 21st-century conditions?
  • How can we best prepare these students for a future in which technologies will emerge and evolve in unpredictable ways?
  • How can we engage all students, but particularly gifted students, in interesting and challenging learning activities?

Undergraduate students wishing to take the 3-credit course option must have completed 90 credits and maintained a 3.0 GPA.




Time Description
9:00-9:20 Welcome and Symposium Preview
Dr. Sharon Sherman, Dean, College of Education & Human Service
– Introduction of presenters and facilitators; overview of the agenda
9:20-9:50 What is giftedness? How does it connect with STEM/STEAM?
– Intro: Chris Laquidara-Kolvek
– Presenter: Dr. Don Ambrose
Gifted Education in New Jersey: What’s happening now? What’s coming in the near future?
– Intro: Dr. Don Ambrose
– Presenters: Michele Falanga & Roberta Braverman - Mercer Room
Using Escape the Rooms in the Classroom to Enhance Student Engagement
– Intro: Chris Laquidara-Kolvek
– Presenters: Eric Guise & Nick Johnson - Daly’s Classroom
10:30-10:45 BREAK
10:45-11:20 Watch some gifted students inventing
– Intro: Chris Laquidara-Kolvek
11:20-11:50 Powerful strategies to enhance the learning of gifted students, especially in STEM
– Intro: Roberta Braverman
– Presenter: Nathan Levy
11:50-1:00 Lunch (provided) along with Tech & Take TeachMeet (speakers giving brief overviews of free tech applications/sites that you can use in your classrooms)
– Roberta Braverman facilitator
1:00-1:40 There’s no such thing as “creativity”
– Intro: Dr. Don Ambrose
– Presenter: Dr. John Baer
Contexts – accountability, school "reform", poverty...: How do they influence the gifted and gifted education?
– Intro: Roberta Braverman
– Presenters: René Islas, Dr. Don Ambrose, & Roberta Braverman
Creative Connections: STEM & ELA
– Intro: Chris Laquidara-Kolvek
– Presenter: NJAGC president, Lynne Henwood - Daly’s Classroom
– Have you been looking for a way to combine language arts standards with STEM learning? Join us for this unique hands-on session in which you will learn how to creatively infuse STEM activities into your ELA curriculum. Walk away with engaging, rigorous activities that you'll be excited to implement this fall!
2:20-2:30 BREAK
2:30-3:10 Social­-Emotional Development: perfectionism, relationships, hypersensitivity, 2e, executive functioning, and life coaching
– Intro: Chris Laquidara-Kolvek
– Panel: Trevor Buser, Roberta Braverman, Dr. Don Ambrose & Michele Falanga
3:10-3:30 Symposium wrap up and feedback interactive sharing. (Those attending the symposium only and not CURR 650 students are finished for the day.)
– Facilitators: Roberta Braverman and Chris Laquidara-Kolvek
3:30-4:15 Orientation meeting for those taking CURR 650 (overview of course content, procedures, assignments, etc.)
– Dr. Don Ambrose
Presenters and Workshop Facilitators

Researchers, College Faculty

  • Don Ambrose – Editor of the Roeper Review, an international journal on gifted education; internationally prominent scholar of giftedness and creative intelligence; Professor of Graduate Education, Rider University (Don will run the college class that continues beyond the 1­day conference.)
  • John Baer – internationally prominent scholar of creativity and giftedness; Professor of Teacher Education, Rider University
  • Trevor Buser – Associate Professor of Counseling and Coaching, Rider University
  • Sharon Sherman – Dean of the School of Education, Rider University; president of NJ Association of Colleges for Teacher Education

Practitioners: Teachers, Administrators, Consultants

  • Roberta Braverman – Advocacy Vice President NJAGC, educational consultant, professional development provider, private enrichment tutor and advocate.
  • Michele Falanga – Gifted Education Coordinator, Millstone Township, NJAGC past president.
  • Eric Guise – Tech Specialist at Hopewell Valley Central High School, Doctoral Student in Digital Transformation in Education, 2016 Biology Teacher Association of New Jersey (BTANJ) Outstanding Teacher of the Year, and Co­Founder of GotTechED the Podcast.
  • Lynne Henwood – NJAGC president, New Jersey Gifted Teacher of the Year Elementary Teacher/Coordinator: Gifted and Talented Grades K-5 at Washington Township Board of Education.
  • M. René Islas – Executive Director of the National Association for Gifted Children; has led numerous federal, state, and local initiatives for school improvement; has represented the U.S. Department of Education and served as advisor for White House projects on educational excellence.
  • Nick Johnson ­– Chemistry Teacher at Hopewell Valley Central High School, Educational Research Consultant, 2018­2019 Mercer County Teacher of the Year, and EdTech Podcaster.
  • Chris Laquidara – project manager for innovative grant­supported Martinson Foundation initiatives; former Assistant Superintendent ­ Hopewell Valley Regional School District
  • Nathan Levy – author; educator of the gifted; has developed creative teaching strategies that promote learning; has trained thousands of educators and other professionals throughout the nation.

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