The State of Gifted: The Power of Parent Groups with Lora Duffy Danker and Susan Wouters (ITAG Parent Webinar Series)

Thursday, October 29 2020 3:25 PM - Saturday, May 01 2021 4:25 AM [CST]

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Thursday, October 29 2020 3:25 PM - Saturday, May 01 2021 4:25 AM [CST]



Helping Your Children Survive and Thrive

 ITAG On-Demand Webinar Series for Parents


Education and “doing school” during COVID-10 has presented parents and gifted and talented students with circumstances that are unique and potentially overwhelming. ITAG’s Webinar Series gives parents time to hear from experts in social-emotional development, learning, and gifted education during COVID-19.  The sessions will provide parents with strategies for helping their gifted learners survive and thrive. Each session will become available for on-demand viewing in November 2020 and will remain available for viewing through May 1, 2020.

This session is:

The State of Gifted: The Power of Parent Groups with Lora Duffy Danker and Susan Wouters-

ITAG President Lora Danker and ITAG Past-President Susan Wouters focus on the power of parent groups to grow partnerships with home, school, and community to bring change for gifted children. Forming a parent group does not have to be overwhelming. This presentation will share how parent groups can be organized and sustained through engagement, communication, and networking.


Other ITAG Parent Webinar sessions that will become available for on-demand viewing beginning in November

Evan Abbey- The Promise and Pitfalls of Online Education for Gifted and Talented Students (available)

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.  For years, online education has posed to gifted-and-talented students promising opportunities for individualized education, acceleration, passion-based learning, and the ability to connect with peers from around the world.  But before those could be fully reached, the COVID crisis has pushed all students back into a one-size-fits-all education, this time online.  Still, there is hope.  This session will focus on how parents can best advocate for their children to receive personalized, challenging learning opportunities in the online space.  We’ll look at what the online environment can offer students and what resources are available for you at home.

Linda Linn, Brea Burrack, and Hollie Weber, Advocacy- A Journey Not a Destination (available)

Healthy and timely school and home communications are so important for children’s academic and social/emotional growth. Reciprocal communications need to be based upon trust and respect.  Especially now, we know communication may be complicated.  This session will provide learning and discussions based upon how to be an advocate for your child in the school setting.  We will also offer strategies to assist you in your child’s self-advocacy journey.

Dr. Debra Mishak, The Shelter of Each Other: COVID-19 and Gifted Families

COVID-19 has infiltrated every facet of global society — including the world’s families.   In the current reality of Covid-19, gifted families face some challenges that are universal to the human experience, and others that are unique to them.  During this presentation the social and emotional needs of gifted children/adolescents and their families will be discussed in light of the pandemic, with remaining time for questions and comments from the audience.  Come share with each other, learn from each other, and support each other through this truly unprecedented and extraordinary time.

Dr. Shaun Vecera, Mindset, Metacognition, and Memory: The Three Ms of Effective Learning and Academic Success

 Education often focuses on learning “what,” or the content or names, dates, and other factual knowledge. In addition to content, students also need support in learning “how,” or the skills required for effective learning. This session will address the question: What is the best way to learn? Psychological science has a wealth of knowledge about cognition, learning, memory, and motivation that can point to best practices to benefit students’ academic success. The session will discuss the psychological science of mindset, metacognition, and memory–the Three Ms–with a focus on empirical findings and practical use of those findings. We will discuss techniques that parents and students can use to support more effective learning, in both face-to-face and on-line contexts.

Iowa Talented and Gifted Association

The Iowa Talented and Gifted Association recognizes, supports, and respects the unique and diverse needs of talented and gifted learners through advocacy, education, and networking. ITAG promotes advocacy at the national, state and local levels, pre-service and in-service training in gifted education, and parent/community awareness, education and involvement. ITAG is comprised of parents, educators, other professionals, and community leaders who share an interest in the growth and development of gifted and talented individuals in Iowa. ITAG is a 501(c)3 organization which was organized more than 40 years ago with a vision that gifted and talented children in the State of Iowa should receive an education commensurate with their abilities and needs. ITAG is an affiliate of the National Association for Gifted Children.

Contact the Organizer

Lora Danker
Iowa Talented and Gifted Association

ITAG President Lora Danker is a newly retired educator of thirty-seven years in education, most of which were focused on serving gifted children and their families in the College Community School District, commonly known as Cedar Rapids Prairie. While at Prairie, Lora helped create and implement annual, district-wide professional development opportunities focused on gifted initiatives in face to face, remote, and blended learning formats; helped form and facilitate the parent Advisory Council on Gifted Education; and facilitated the Student Services team composed of administration, counselors, and several other professionals who, among other initiatives, worked together to build and implement a college and career readiness model of service. Lora holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education from The University of Iowa; a Masters Degree as a Reading Specialist from the former Marycrest College; a Gifted Endorsement through the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa; and a Masters of Science in Education Leadership from Drake University, which includes evaluation of special education programs. Lora is a trained in-person and online facilitator for SMPGs, Seng Model Parent Groups. She serves as an adjunct lecturer for the Gifted Endorsement program through the Belin-Blank Center at The University of Iowa. Lora is in her third term with the Iowa Talented and Gifted Association’s Board of Directors, previously serving as the Newsletter Editor and Finance Committee Chair. Lora is married, and a parent of young, gifted adults. Lora Danker can be reached at

About Lora Danker

Iowa Talented and Gifted Association
Susan Wouters
Iowa Talented and Gifted Association

ITAG Past-president Susan Wouters has been an educator with the Waukee Community School District for 23 years, working with gifted children and their families for the last 20 years as an Extended Learning Program (ELP) teacher. She has taught and facilitated gifted and talented programming at both the elementary and secondary levels, planned and implemented professional development pertaining to gifted education for K-9 staff and has served as ELP Coordinator for the district. Susan co-founded the Waukee ELP Parent Group, has presented at ITAG conferences, is a trained SENG facilitator, and teaches TAG Endorsement courses for Drake University as an adjunct instructor. She has served on the ITAG Board of Directors since 2010, co-chaired the 2012 ITAG conference, and has served on Membership, Awards, and Educator Outreach committees. Susan received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Graceland University, TAG endorsement from University of Iowa, and Masters of Science in Education, Curriculum Leadership, from Drake University.

About Susan Wouters

Iowa Talented and Gifted Association