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TAGT and NAGC Conferences – A Parent’s Perspective

January 8, 2010

Are Texas Association of Gifted and Talented or National Association for Gifted Children conferences for parents?  A few months ago, I wasn’t real sure.  I knew some of the content was applicable to my kids, but I was skeptical on how much of it would be tangible take-home advice.  After attending both conferences back to back, I can definitely say they were both time and money well-spent because I got a myriad of ideas related specifically to my quirky little kids, as well as parenting in general.  And, I even had a few ah-hah moments about myself.

NAGC was amazing and had such a rich selection of sessions that it was difficult to decide which ones to attend and which to skip!  Because of this, if you spoke to fifty people that attended NAGC, they will have had fifty vastly different experiences depending on the sessions they chose.  Personally, I found it to have a wealth of information that was geared towards the whole family.  From Dr. Patricia Gatto-Walden’s talk on Family Well-Being to Drs. Jill Adelson and Hope Wilson’s talk on Perfectionism I gathered tangible tools to use daily for the whole family.  And my favorite at NAGC was Dr. Howard Gardener.   He’s clearly a genious, yet not pretentious in the least.  His ideas about creativity and great people were both inspiring and shocking – it’s amazing how much of it seemed to be almost an accident (which is probably reinforced by the fact that I had just read Outliers).  In short, NAGC was a fantastic conference and a wealth of information.

I’ll admit that I was expecting TAGT to be a bit of a let-down after attending NAGC the month prior.  Boy, was I wrong?!  Not only did I notice a lot of the same speakers and topics that were presented at NAGC, but there was new information and other parents to talk to.  And I don’t just mean to make friends with.  Susan Sweeny of Katy Parents of Gifted & Talented organized a dinner for parents from around Texas where we were able to brainstorm, share ideas, and talk about lobbying efforts.  And, there were several sessions dedicated to parent advocacy and forming parent groups.  I got several ideas from these sessions and walked away incredibly thankful for the accomplishments of CGA in such a short time.  I had no idea that CGA and CISD were so far ahead of the curve!  TAGT had lots of practical information for parents and again tangible ideas that I could take back and implement.  Not so tangible, but by far the highlight of TAGT was Stephanie Tolan.  She gave one of the most inspiring talks that I’ve ever heard.  I won’t give it away here though – you’ll have to read the blog posts about it!!

So, if you are mulling over which to attend, I’d say either is really a good choice.  Perhaps TAGT is stronger on the front that you’ll meet other parents in Texas to collaborate with, but NAGC offers even more programming.  Frankly, they are both great, so I’d make the choice based on geography.  If one is local – go that way (or to both that year).  If they are out of town, pick the better city. 

Don’t take my word for it alone though.  Read blog posts from teachers and other parents that attended NACG and TAGT. 

Now, here’s the bad news:  You’ll have to wait until late 2010 for the professional development conferences of these two organizations.  They’ll both be held the week of November 11th, with  TAGT in Fort Worth and NAGC in Atlanta.  Hmmm…might be a good year to attend both.

But, if you just can’t wait, check out the TAGT parent conference in February in Houston.  I’ve never attended, but have heard good things about it.  Anyone that has attended care to share??

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