South Florida Gifted and Talented Symposium

Broward County Public Schools, in partnership with the Broward County Government Cultural Division and Broward Center for the Performing Arts, is pleased to present the South Florida Gifted and Talented Symposium: Passport to Innovation - Personalized Learning for Gifted Students  to be held on October 27th, 2017 at Pompano Beach High School. We are looking forward to providing educators and parents with the opportunity to network and learn in a forum dedicated to strategies and practices that foster self-directed, motivated, and independent learners in real-world learning environments with "no ceilings".

Our Keynote Speaker This Year Is...Gordon Korman

Welcome to the wonderful world of a regular guy who just happened to write 80-something books for kids and teens.

jkc-Gordon-Korman-Portrait-Composite-Retouch-5700fl-682x1024-(2).jpgI was born on October 23, 1963 in Montreal, Canada, and grew up mostly in the Toronto area.

My writing career began virtually by accident when I was in 7th grade. The track and field coach had to teach English. For creative writing, he gave us total freedom to work on whatever we wanted for the rest of the year. It was February. That added up to a class period per day for more than four months. The result was my first novel, THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING AT MACDONALD HALL.

I sent my manuscript to Scholastic because I was the class monitor for Scholastic Book Orders, and figured I was practically an employee. Seriously. (Full disclosure: my mom had to type my book for me.) It was a totally flukey and random way to launch a publishing career, but here’s the thing: It worked.!THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING AT MACDONALD HALL was published by Scholastic when I was a freshman in high school, and I was on my way.

I’ve been writing for more than three-quarters of my life. My books have been translated into 32 languages and have sold over 28 million copies worldwide. I have a BFA degree from New York University with a major in Dramatic Writing and a minor in Film and TV.

I now live on Long Island, outside New York City, with my wife and family. When I’m not writing, you can usually find me driving one of my three kids to some practice or rehearsal or game. Either that, or I’m on the road, appearing at schools, libraries, and bookstores, meeting my readers.



One of our Featured Speakers is...Donna Ford

ford_d.jpgDonna Y. Ford, Ph.D., is Professor of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt University. She teaches in the Department of Special Education and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Teaching and Learning. Dr. Ford has been a Professor of Special Education at the Ohio State University, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Virginia, and a researcher with the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. She also taught at the University of Kentucky.

Professor Ford earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban Education (educational psychology) (1991), Masters of Education degree (counseling) (1988), and Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and Spanish (1984) from Cleveland State University.

Professor Ford conducts research primarily in gifted education and multicultural/urban education. Specifically, her work focuses on: (1) recruiting and retaining culturally different students in gifted education; (2) multicultural and urban education; (3) achievement gaps; (4) minority student achievement and underachievement; and (5) family involvement. She consults with school districts, educational, and legal organizations in the areas of gifted education, Advanced Placement, and multicultural/urban education. Professor Ford’s courses focus on these topics.

She is the author/co-author of several books, including Recruiting and Retaining Culturally Different Students in Gifted Education (2013), Reversing Underachievement Among Gifted Black Students (1996, 2010) Multicultural Gifted Education (1999, 2011), In Search of the Dream: Designing Schools and Classrooms that Work for High Potential Students from Diverse Cultural backgrounds (2004), Diverse learners with exceptionalities: Culturally responsive teaching in the inclusive classroom (2008), and Teaching Culturally Diverse Gifted Students (2005). Several other books are in progress.

Professor Ford has written at least 200 articles and book chapters; she has made more than 1,000 presentations at professional conferences, organizations, and in school districts. She is the co-founder of the Scholar Identity Institute for Black Malesat Vanderbilt.




Session Synopsis

Gifted Strategies 

Recruiting and Retaining Culturally Different Students: Leaders Identifying, Serving and Supporting With Equity Donna Ford – Vanderbilt University - Administrator/All levels
Many times the referral process, tests and policies and procedures are barriers. The presentation discusses the twin goal of recruiting and retaining Hispanic and Black students in gifted education, with an emphasis on equity. Culturally responsive practices and measures will be shared. (Session 1 - 2, Auditorium)

Igniting a Passion for Writing - Gordon Korman
All content areas/All levels
Many of our gifted students are already veracious readers, but stumble when it comes to writing. Forget formulaic writing templates and tap into their creativity. Come learn how to encourage your students to become published authors by learning the in-depth book writing and publishing process. (Session 1, Media Center)

Visual Thinking - Understanding, Truth, Fairness and Creativity - Jacob Aronin  - Innovative Learning
All content areas/All levels
A focus on developing ‘thinking skills’ allows all students to take charge of their own learning, deepen understanding and become more engaged. Using the Visible Thinking techniques developed by Harvard University, this workshop will combine textual analysis with strategies and routines that foster independent thinking and self actualization. (Session 1, OSPA Small)

A Conversation with Gordon Korman - Gordon Korman
Parents/All levels
You developed a passionate reader, but how do you develop an accomplished writer? Come learn tips of the trade on how to help your children become authors from the New York Times best-selling author Gordon Korman. (Session 2, Media Center)

Optimism Brings Opportunity: Growth Mindset for the Classroom - Virgina Walz - Secondary Learning 
All content areas/Middle & High levels
Developing optimism is a critical element for success and a sense of achievement. Optimism leads to creative endeavors that guide innovation through recognizing the opportunities that exist in every challenge. This workshop explores optimism and its role in student achievement, providing activities for growth in this key discipline of the mind. (Session 2, JROTC)

Mind Tools for School and Life - Marie Garrido - Secondary Learning
All content areas/Middle & High levels
Gifted learners often suffer from overthinking that interferes with their productivity and decision-making. This analysis paralysis can be vanquished by learning how the brain works and leveraging the right kind of thinking for the task at hand using various strategies. In this interactive session, participants will engage in activities like The Six Thinking Hats, and The Ladder of Inference and experiment with new ideas in a mini Tinker Lab. (Session 4, OSPA Large)

Culturally Responsive Education: Personalizing Learning for Gifted Students of Color – Dr. Donna Ford – Vanderbilt University
All content areas/All levels
Our gifted education teachers are required to be endorsed, however less often does formal training focus on working with culturally different students. This session fills this shortcoming. The presentation focuses on six dimensions of culturally responsive education for gifted students of color. A special emphasis is placed on how to make instruction responsive to the interests and culturally styles of Black and Hispanic students.(Session 3, Auditorium)

Parent/Teacher Support & Guidance

Just the Facts: Gifted Education and Advocacy - Kimberly Thomas-Cain - Duke TIP
All content areas & Parents/All levels
Utilizing research-based approaches in education enables us to differentiate truth from anecdote, promotes more effective education techniques, makes better use of funding, and better informs gifted policy-makers. Using research-based facts to make informed decisions leads to greater outcomes for gifted students. Leave this session equipped to advocate for your child, student, or gifted program. (Session 4, Theater Room)

Rubric for Integrating SEL Skill Building Into Academics - Kathleen Casper - FLAG
All content areas & Parents/All levels
The new CASES rubric connects the “whole gifted child” to academic and personal goals. The rubric and resource links provided gauge a child’s potential to grow in multiple social-emotional categories, including: leadership, self-awareness, group interactions, emotional awareness/reflection, problem solving, personal skills, creativity, and more! (Session 1, Band Room) 

Social/Emotional Learning of Gifted Students - Dr. Daniel Shapiro - School Counseling and B.R.A.C.E. Advisement 
All content areas & Parents/All levels
In this session, Dr. Shapiro will discuss Social and Emotional Learning and classroom strategies that teachers can implement to help gifted students develop self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. (Session 1, Media Production)

If You Believe: Parenting for Potential - Naomi Church - Exceptional Student Learning Support 
Parents/All levels
This session will focus on how parents can build a Growth Mindset for their children, and even develop one themselves. When children and young adults believe in themselves, they understand their effort makes a difference in achieving their full potential. Come learn how simple changes in the way you praise your child can make them into more successful students and young adults. (Session 3, JROTC Room)

Traveling With Our Youngest Innovators - Dr. Lori Canning & Veronica Sclafani  - Early Learning & Language Acquisition 
All content areas/Early Childhood & Elementary levels
Play and hands on learning activities can help develop social/emotional maturity, academic competency, critical thinking skills and resiliency in all students. This is especially important for gifted and talented students that can easily get bored and build a negative attitude about school. This will be a fun and informative session about gifted students in Prekindergarten and Kindergarten. We will participate in learning centers appropriate for our youngest gifted students. (Session 2, Theater Room) 

Advanced Placement Options - Bob McKinney – Secondary Learning; Hope Targoff – Innovative Programs
All content areas & Parents/Middle & High levels
This presentation will examine the differences between Advanced Placement - AP, Cambridge - AICE, International Baccalaureate - IB and Dual Enrollment as opportunities for students to earn college credit while in high school.(Session 4, ROTC)

Using Naviance to Navigate the World of College and Career - Carol Lopez - School Counseling & B.R.A.C.E. Advisement 
All content areas  & Parents/Middle & High levels
This presentation will be geared to parents and students who are interested in knowing the benefits of using Naviance to find out about their own learning styles, as well as how they can research careers and colleges. Students and parents can realistically see what it takes to get into the college of their choice, how to earn scholarships, and what resources there are for career bound students. Presenter will go over all the aspects of Naviance from a student’s view. (Session 4, Media Production)

Literacy & Arts 

The Mandala Project – Libby Hodges - Tropical Elementary
All content areas /Elementary & Middle levels
Mandala means ‘circle’ and represents wholeness. Mandala art has been used throughout the world as a process of self-expression. “The Mandala Project” will explore the symbolism of these symmetrical designs from Tibet to Greece to Navajo sand painters. This workshop will bring these geometric artistic creations, cultures and philosophies together. (Sessions 1 & 4 Arty Van Gogh Bus)

Innovate-Instruct-Inspire Through the Arts! - Tammy Holder - Broward Center for the Performing Arts
All content areas/All levels
After reviewing the specific needs of gifted learners, participants will combine drama and music with language arts and social studies to uncover how best practice in arts integration can affect teaching and learning. Experience how your curriculum can come to life through the arts! Innovation through integration! (Session 2, Band Room)

Student Engagement Through Academic Discussion & Blended Learning – Lisa Mcquade - Secondary Learning 
All content areas/Middle & High levels
Walk into a modeled Blended Learning Cycle as a student and learn how to use multiple platforms such as Canvas, Socratic Seminar, and Online Blog to maximize student engagement through academic discussion in order to increase student achievement. Participants will explore the latest research to make connections with analysis, academic discussion and standards. (Session 2, Media Production)

Passage to Ndebele – Libby Hodges-Tropical Elementary
ELA, Math, Visual Arts/Elementary & Middle levels
South Africa is full of vibrant diversity with many people calling this beautiful land home. Few are more colorful and more iconic than the famous Ndebele tribe. Participants will discover African folktales, create a puppet fashioned after the Ndebele dolls of South Africa and explore the artistic history, geometry and color of Ndebele mural painting created by women and their daughters. The style is instantly recognizable, and as such has become a dominant marker of a people’s identity with bold pattern and symmetry. (Sessions 2 & 3 Arty Van Gogh Bus)

Immigration and Our Economy - Dr. William Bosshardt – Florida Atlantic University 
Economics,Geography, History/Middle & High levels
Immigration continues to be a controversial topic. Does immigration help or hurt our economy? Two activities – one role playing, the other a group activity - will be demonstrated. The activities help students understand the impacts of immigration from various economic and social viewpoints. (Session 3, OSPA Large)

Breakout EDU. -Keith Peters & Lynn Mitchell - Gator Run Elementary
All content areas/All levels
Put your sleuthing skills to the test and experience an innovative way to turn ownership of their learning over to your students and children! Join us for an interactive game of BreakoutEDU (a classroom twist on escape rooms) and learn how to sharpen critical thinking and collaboration skills, while incorporating any and all academic subjects and areas. (Session 4, Auditorium)

Fighting Fake News with Facts, Digital Literary - Lynne Oakvik & Neena Grosvenor - Innovative Learning
All content areas/Middle & High levels
Help your students survive the invasion of “Fake News.”  Learn how to use web resources like and to help your students separate fact from fiction and become informed, empowered citizens. Discover District resources and innovative instructional strategies to support critical thinking skills that will help students analyze and evaluate information effectively in today’s digital landscape. (Session 3, Media Center)

Immersive Story Telling - Nerissa Street – Bethune Elementary
All content areas/All levels
In this interactive and hands-on session, participants will use techniques pioneered in filmmaking with “transmedia” and immersive storytelling. The participant will learn the basic techniques of audience immersion to deepen your lesson’s rigor, and allow each student to personally synthesize abstract subject matter into applicable knowledge by activating your learner’s imagination. Give each gifted learner a passport into their own subject area world! Please bring your wifi-connected device. (Session 4, OSPA Small)

Math & Science 

Design Thinking and Maker Challenges - Dr. Lisa Milenkovic, Annmargareth Marousky, Debra Kelly Thomas - Applied Learning; Erik Leitner, Rebecca Morales – Elementary Learning
Science & S.T.E.M./All levels
Passport to the future of innovative learning through design thinking and maker challenges. Participate in hands-on, minds-on challenges as you travel through different stations to explore and experience the latest innovation in learning. (Sessions 1 & 2 OSPA Large)

What Are the Chances? - Tanya Hutkowski, Heidi Clay & Kathryn Tobon - Elementary Learning
Math/Elementary Level
Remember throwing a quarter and calling out heads or tails? Or rolling dice to see who goes first? Come roll, flip, and spin with us to learn about theoretical and experimental probability in grades K-5 and the connections to higher level mathematics. This hands-on event will lead to great outcomes! (Session 1, Theater Room)

Learning Is Not a Spectator Sport – Sandi Reyes - Elementary Learning
Science/Elementary level
In this interactive presentation, eight research-based engagement strategies will be discussed and demonstrated. Attendees will participate in multiple activities from a student-based perspective. They will reflect on the activities and strategies as teachers and parents, align the activities to the engagement strategies, and synthesize the information into ideas for future implementation in school or at home. (Session 2, OSPA Small)

Turning the Corner – Creative Ways to Explore Mathematics - Richard Bobinchuck, Celia Jimenez, Laura Penafiel - Secondary Learning
Mathematics/All levels
Through a procedure as simple as folding a strip of paper, mathematical ideas such as symmetry, sequences, and patterns can be explored. By making simple changes to the process of folding/unfolding a strip of paper, fascinating figures can be generated and examined both visually and mathematically. Participants will engage in paper folding activities designed to generate “figures” which at first glance do not appear to have much mathematical relevance but during this interactive workshop the mathematics will be revealed. (Session 3, Band Room)


Make Learning Personal Through Skype - Camille Edwards - Innovative Learning; Vitra Boodoosingh & Patricia Brownlee - Margate Middle School; Lynn Louis – Silver Trail Middle School
All content areas/All levels
It’s nothing like seeing and hearing the real thing. Think about making a Science, Art, Social Studies, Language Arts lesson come alive by communicating with experts, having live chats with other students and visiting places of educational interest. In this session for K-12 educators, you will be introduced to a quick start to using Skype to make learning personal. (Session 1, JROTC)

Canvas Basics & Homepage - Rachel Lee - Canvas; Sharlene Kellier – Innovative Learning
All content areas/All levels
The Canvas basics and homepage session is designed to provide an overview ‘Why Canvas?’ , introduce blended learning, describe the many functions Canvas can provide a classroom, and demonstrate how easy it is to build course content in Canvas. (Session 1, Computer Lab 320)

Microsoft Integration Tool - Dana Rubenstein & Paula Jasser - Innovative Learning
All content areas/All levels
Office 365 Education provides teachers and students everything they need to communicate, collaborate, and create products that aid learning and demonstrate that learning objectives have been met. In this session participants will learn to: View, access, and edit personal Microsoft Office 365 documents within Canvas; Embed Microsoft Office 365 documents using the rich content editor and Canvas modules; leverage Microsoft Cloud Assignment for authentic learning. (Session 1, Computer Lab 321)

Using LTI’s in Canvas - Rachel Lee - Canvas; Paula Jasser - Innovative Learning
All content areas/All levels
Broward County is working hard to connect 3rd Party Technology tools with Canvas to enhance the technology experience for both teachers and students. LTI is a term meaning “Learning Tool Interoperability” and in Canvas, we refer to these as External Tools. These LTI’s (or external tools) are comprised of content from education related websites and are configured in such a way that they can be easily integrated into your Canvas Course. Canvas LTI’s are configured for you by the Broward Admin Team and are ready for you to easily incorporate into your website. In this session, participants will learn about free resources as well as Broward purchased resources for creating engaging learning materials and assessments. (Session 2, Computer Lab 320)

Canvas Tips & Tricks - Deonne Johnson - Canvas; Rhonda Weimann - Innovative Learning
All content areas/All levels
This workshop is designed to help K-12 teachers implement blended learning through sound Instructional Design principles. Ask ten educators what is meant by Instructional Design and you may get more than ten different answers. This session will educate participants on instructional design principles that enhance students learning experience in a blended environment as well as offer tips and tricks to easily “jazz” up the visual elements of a Canvas course. (Session 2, Computer Lab 321)

Plugged in with Podcast - Idel Leibowitz - Secondary Learning
All content areas/Middle & High levels
“Audio is one of the most intimate forms of media because you are constantly building your own images of the story in your mind.” (Rodero, 2015) Podcasts can offer great benefits for student learning and engagement through the integration of listening and speaking standards. In this interactive session, participants will delve into the use of audio texts (Podcasts) in the classroom and make curriculum connections. They will listen to engaging podcasts while infusing close listening strategies and analytical thinking that spark discussions through critical inquiry, explore podcast websites, and collaboratively discuss ideas for classroom implementation. (Session 3, OSPA Small)

Microsoft Sway - Dana Rubenstein & Sharlene Kellier - Innovative Learning
All content areas/All levels
Personalize learning with Sway, an innovative digital storytelling app that helps you create professional, interactive designs in minutes for your images, text, videos, and other media. This hands-on session will teach participants how to create an interactive digital presentation using Sway. (Session 3, Media Production Room)

Canvas Communication & Discussions - Rhonda Weimann & Adam Rizzi - Innovative Learning
All content areas/All levels
When communication is properly utilized, both the student and the teacher benefit. Canvas provides a variety of tools to support communication both between students to strengthen connections and between the teacher and the student to help them reach their learning goals. This session will introduce participants to organizing a course with modules and the calendar, utilizing discussions & rubrics, and staying connected through course announcements and the inbox. (Session 3, Computer Lab 320)

Canvas Quizzes - Martina Blanco & Tina Swanton - Innovative Learning
All content areas/All Levels
Assessments are more than just a method to assign a score and provide students a course grade; they are a powerful tool for measuring and guiding the learning process. Using Canvas quizzes for assessments will provide teachers (and students) many creative ways in which to gather data and analyze student learning. In this session, strategies and best practices for using formative and summative assessments in the classroom will be explored.  (Session 3, Computer Lab 321)

App Smash – Top Web Tools for Teaching - Lynne Oakvik-Innovative Learning 
All content areas/All Levels
Check out the AASL (American Association of School Librarians) Best Websites for teaching and learning for 2017! Discover great digital tools and resources vetted by librarians that will help you to support curriculum, flip your classroom, enhance digital story telling activities , or build a new learning game! (Session 4, Media Center)

Digital Portfolios: Home/School Connection - Jaclyn Sherman - Gator Run  Elementary
All content areas/Elementary levels
This workshop session is primarily focused on home-school connection. Come learn how to create student-driven digital portfolios using the app Seesaw Learning Journal. Seesaw provides simple parent communication and a home-school connection. (Session 4, Band Room)

Drop the Text – Interactive Resources and Evaluation - Ed Knote – Secondary Learning
All content areas/All levels
The goal of this workshop is to equip teachers with ways to find/evaluate tools and resources to make their class more interactive. During this session, teachers will interact with a blend of technology and hands-on tools to investigate mathematical content demonstrating why we need to use more than just a textbook. (Session 3, Theater Room)

Canvas Assignments - Adam Rizzi & Sharlene Kellier – Innovative Learning
All content areas/All levels
Assignments in Canvas include discussions and course work submitted through multiple submissions types (i.e. files, images, text, video, URLs, etc.). Assignments in Canvas are used to challenge students’ understanding and help assess competency by using a variety of media. This session will show you many ways in which assignments can be built and organized so that students will know what is expected of them and when assignments are due. (Session 4, Computer Lab 320)

Canvas Collaborations - Deonne Johnson - Canvas; Martina Blanco - Innovative Learning
All content areas/All levels
With Canvas, collaborative projects have never been easier or more effective. Collaboration provides deeper learning, adds variety to the classroom and creates an engaging environment for students and teachers alike. This session will show participants the basics for group management, peer reviews, and collaborative projects using office 365 tools. (Session 4, Computer Lab 321)

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Contact Us

Zuzel Rodriguez
Curriculum supervisor for Gifted & Talented

600 Southeast 3rd Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301