Parent Programs

Parents of Gifted Offspring - POGO

The Gifted & Talented program recognizes that academically gifted young people face a unique set of challenges because of their gifts. These challenges can range from perfectionism, concerns about political or global issues, high expectations for themselves, the stresses of challenging academic work, or feelings of being marginalized because they don’t share the interests or abilities of most of their peers. POGO (Parents of Gifted Offspring) was established more than a decade ago by a group of concerned parents to provide opportunities to meet and discuss these and related issues. Led by experts in the field of gifted education and child and adolescent psychology, POGO seminars take place while students are in classes on the Montclair State University campus and generally last an hour. All parents of gifted students – not just those whose children are enrolled in the program – are invited to participate. Admission to all POGO seminars is free and open to the public. Gifted & Talented also offers specialty workshops throughout the year which span a variety of topics and provide educational opportunities for Gifted & Talented parents, educators, university students, and the general public.

Spring Parent Orientation: March 1st and March 2nd

One Step Ahead - Understanding and Raising a Gifted Child: April 5 and April 6

10 Things Not to Say to your Gifted Child: April 12

Please check our workshops page regularly for other upcoming events from the Gifted & Talented Program.

Spring 2014 POGO Series

The Gifted & Talented Spring Parent Orientation Program
Presenter: Rebeccah Newman, Associate Director, Gifted & Talented Program
Saturday, March 1, 2014, 10:15-11:15, Richardson Hall 120
Sunday, March 2, 2014, 10:15-11:15, Richardson Hall 120

A parent orientation (students are welcome to attend if not in class). Parents will have the opportunity to hear about the spring program, meet the weekend coordinator and counselors and learn about the parent weekend. A question and answer period will follow.

ONE STEP AHEAD – Understanding and Raising a Gifted Child
Presenter: Australian Psychologist, Dr. Alison Brown, Peak Consulting, LLC

Saturday, April 5, 2014, 10:15-11:15, Richardson Hall 120
Sunday, April 6, 2014, 10:15-11:15, Richardson Hall 120

Raising gifted children can be both delightful and challenging. Whilst we want to nurture and encourage their bright, enthusiastic and creative minds, we also want to provide them with a sense of boundaries, respect for others, and a feeling of security.  The very nature of gifted children; their heightened intensities, and their unique perspectives on the world set them apart from many of their peers. Discipline need not be another area in which these children are singled out. Although they will always have a “better idea” or a “valid reason” for what they do, we as parents need to stay that “One Step Ahead” to ensure that we anticipate, prepare for, understand and explain the many challenges and frustrations that regularly occur. “One Step Ahead” is an information seminar for parents of gifted children, looking at ways in which we can fulfil our role as parents, guiding and supporting gifted children in a positive, respectful and dignified manner.

Alison Brown is a registered Australian psychologist, an experienced teacher and a parent. She was a committee member and Vice President of the Victorian Association for Gifted and Talented Children over six years, has presented at a number of state, national and international conferences in the areas of technology, gifted education, and psychology, and has provided extensive consultation and training programs to schools in Australia, Switzerland and Germany.

‌Ten Things Not to Say to Your Gifted Child
Presenter: Nancy N. Heilbronner, Ph.D.
Saturday, April 12, 2014, 10:15-11:15, Richardson Hall 120

Nancy N. Heilbronner, Ph.D., is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Mercy College, New York, where she will also serve as the Program Coordinator of the proposed Ed.D. in Educational Leadership Program. 

Dr. Heilbronner earned a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Virginia.  However, prior to entering education, she founded a computer consulting company in Washington, DC, where she consulted with the Departments of State and Defense, as well as numerous corporations while using one of the first relational project management databases.  Her expertise in instructional technology is founded on her long experience in the computer industry.

Dr. Heilbronner transitioned back into education in 1996. After completing her M.S. degree in Gifted Education at the University of South Florida, Dr. Heilbronner taught elementary gifted classes and later middle-school gifted science classes.  There, she worked to meet the academic needs of advanced learners, providing differentiated instruction and frequent enrichment opportunities.  For example, her elementary classes looked forward to performing annual plays by Shakespeare, creating medieval feasts and green screen videos.  She developed grants to fund some of these activities. 

She completed her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 2009 at the University of Connecticut, where she was fortunate to work with leaders in the field of gifted education, including Drs. Joseph Renzulli and Sally Reis. While a student there, she was the recipient of a Belin Blank grant for her research in understanding the academic and social-emotional needs of gifted young women who enter college after eighth grade

From 2009-2013, Dr. Heilbronner was a faculty member in the Department of Instructional Leadership at Western Connecticut State University, where she coordinated the university’s 092 Connecticut Administrative Building-level Certification Program and taught doctoral level classes in  quantitative and qualitative research methodology, talent development, creativity, instructional technology, and leadership. She also advised doctoral-level candidates during the dissertation process and served as committee Chair for many of these students.  She was active in service to the university, serving on the Faculty Senate and IRB, as well as numerous other committees.

Dr. Heilbronner is the author or co-author of over 25empirical and practitioner-friendly publications in gifted and science education, including three books: Think Data, Think Instruments, Let’s Be Scientists, and Ten Things Not to Say to Your Gifted Child, One Family’s Perspective, which was honored with the Parent’s Choice and Texas Legacy Awards. She serves as a reviewer for five academic journals in the field of education.

She has presented nationally and internationally at over 80 conferences and school districts on topics related to gifted education.  For example, she presents each year on a wide range of topics at the annual National Associate for Gifted Children (NAGC) conference.  She has accompanied students to enable them to present their research as well.

Dr. Heilbronner is active in service in her field.  She serves on the Board of the Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG), and she regularly consults with school districts regarding gifted services offered to students.  She designs program evaluations for gifted programs throughout the region.  She is an active member of Phi Delta Kappa, the National Science Teachers’ Association (NSTA) and the American Psychological Association (APA).