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.

Fall Parent Orientation: October 11th and 12th

Back to School Day: November 8th and 9th

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

Fall 2014 POGO Series

The Gifted & Talented Spring Parent Orientation Program
Presenter: Rebeccah Newman, Associate Director, Gifted & Talented Program
Saturday, October 11, 2014, 10:15-11:15, University Hall 1040
Sunday, October 12, 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 fall program, meet the weekend coordinator, counselors, and learn about parent weekend. A question and answer period will follow.

Parenting a gifted child and teen: Issues of race and ethnicity

Presenter: Margaret O’Donoghue, Ph.D. LCSW

Saturday, October 18, 2014, 10:15-11:15University Hall 1040

Literature related to parenting the gifted child is almost exclusively focused on diagnosis of giftedness and academic support. Much less is writing about ethnicity, culture and race and the world of gifted and talented children. In this presentation we will explore:

  • Research on ethnic and racial identity and socialization in families

  • Effect of ethnic identity on peer relationships in gifted child

  • Effect of racial & ethnic stereotypes on life choices and performance

  • Gifted children and immigrant families

American society is a composite of many cultural and ethnic groups and being culturally competent is necessary to prosper in this country. This presentation, therefore, is of value to all POGO families, not just those who already identify with a cultural affiliation. Come with your questions and contributions!

Speaker Bio:  Margaret O'Donoghue, Ph.D. LCSW, is returning to speak in the program after several years. Dr. O'Donoghue was a regular speaker in the POGO sessions from 2000-2010. Her involvment in the program included a presentation at the Montclair State University Institute for Gifted's 17th Annual Educators Conference. 

Margaret O'Donoghue is a behavioral and academic consultant. She provides trainings to school personnel across the district, and in-class consultations on issues affecting students and families in grades Pre-K through 12. Dr. O'Donoghue is an adjunct professor at NYU. Her publications include the Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, and Journal of Women and Social Work. 

Her research interests include racial and ethnic identity, interracial families, parenting, and school social work.

Dr. O'Donoghue earned a B.Soc.Sc. from University College Dublin, Ireland, her MSW from Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work (concentration in community organizing) and her PhD in clinical social work from New York University (2000).

Empowering gifted and talented children through a motor-based intervention program.

Presenter: Paul Stadler, MS OTR/L NDT (INPP)

Sunday, November 2, 2014, 10:15-11:15University Hall 1040

There are many instances where children are bright and gifted but have difficulty demonstrating their abilities across a variety of environments.  These include the social environment, school environment, and home environment.  While a child may have an above average IQ, their ability to show how smart they are may be limited due to a neuro-motor immaturity (NMI).  This may be expressed in symptoms of ADD & Dyslexia, reading problems, written expression difficulties, an experience in motor coordination problems, academic underachievement, pose difficulty with behavioral regulation, spatial problems, and attention difficulties.

The INPP method which was developed over 35 years ago now spans the globe, and has significantly improved the lives of thousands of children by identifying the source of these issues by providing a drug free motor based program requiring at most 3-8 minutes a day. 

Parents attending this seminar will be able to:

  • Understand how to identify neuro-motor immaturity (NMI)

  • Identify contributing causes of the above difficulties

  • Be provided with current research of the INPP method

  • Identify strategies for the classroom

  • Identify how NMI can impact academic achievement

  • Identify how NMI can impact social development

Speaker Bio:  Paul Stadler, MS, OTR/L, N.D.T. (INPP) is an occupational therapist with over 15 years of clinical experience, who practices and teaches the INPP method all over the United States. He is certified in sensory integration, trained in applied behavioral analysis, a guest lecturer at Brooklyn College speech therapy program on early childhood development, and a licensed practitioner of the INPP method. He is a presenter at the American Occupational Therapy Association conference on neuro-motor immaturity, and an adjunct professor at Daemen College.

Back to School Day

No POGO Session

Saturday, November 8, 2014, during your child's regularly scheduled class
Sunday, November 9, 2014, during your child's regularly scheduled class

Who Is Invited: G&T Parent or Guest of a fall 2014 student

This is your opportunity to experience a gifted class with your student, meet their instructor, and see why they go home excited each day they leave class. As in past years, only one parent/guardian per student is allowed to attend the class. All parents who are participating must check in with the Gifted & Talented team in Partridge Hall to come and get their wrist bands. Anyone who has not registered ahead of time to be able to receive a wrist band will not be allowed within the classes.

Upon Arrival: Please Park in the Red Hawk Deck (fees apply)

Advance reservations are required. Please register by completing the RSVP form prior to November 4, 2014.
(Please note: Only one individual per family may attend.)

Powerful Strategies for Reaching Gifted and Highly Capable Children

Presenter: Nathan Levy, President, NJAGC (New Jersey Association of Gifted Children)

Saturday, November 22, 2014, 10:15-11:15, University Hall 1040
Sunday, November 23, 2014, 10:15-11:15, University Hall 1040

This workshop explores numerous, proven ways to reach gifted learners in challenging ways.  The objective is to have participants leave with a variety of new strategies and specific ideas to help pupils become better creative and critical thinkers.  A variety of successful teaching and parenting techniques will be shared. Bring your thinking caps and your funny bones.

Speaker Bio: Nathan Levy (the author of Stories with Holes, Whose Clues?, and Nathan Levy's 100 Intriguing Questions) is a gifted educator. In his thirty five years as a teacher, principal, and consultant Nathan worked directly with children, teachers and parents. He has developed unique teaching strategies that encouraged the love of learning. Mr. Levy has mentored more than thirty current principals and superintendents, as well as helped to train thousands of teachers and parents in better ways to engage children in learning.

Strengthening Creative Problem Solving Skills & Cultivating a Thinking Mindset: Enriching Ideas, Strategies & Activities!
Presenter: Jeanne Muzi, Elementary Enrichment Specialist/Gifted & Talented Teacher, Lawrence Township Public Schools 

Saturday, December  6, 2014, 10:15-11:15, University Hall 1040
Sunday, December 7, 2014, 10:15-11:15, University Hall 1040

Come be a part of this fun and engaging hands-on session and learn about tools, techniques and projects designed to build student thinking skills. Parents will discover many ways to inspire their children to think creatively, problem solve and make connections. Participants will learn how to create activities at home, develop an inventory of quick brain-boosting techniques and discover many ways students can build creativity skills. Families will leave this session ready to provide a variety of fun, motivating and engaging learning experiences for their children.   

Speaker Bio: Jeanne Muzi is the Elementary Enrichment Specialist/Gifted Education Teacher at Lawrence Township Public Schools in Lawrenceville, NJ. Her focus is on project based learning and helping students develop creative problem solving skills. The 2009 NJ Teacher of the Year, Jeanne has served on committees and panels at the state and local level, and this past year she presented “STEAM Learning” at the NJ Early Elementary Conference at Kean University, “Engineering Explorations” at the NJ Association of Gifted Children Conference, “Challenge-based Projects” at NJ’s Learning Forward Conference and facilitated “Mobile Learning for Young Students” for parent/teacher teams. Jeanne lives in Lawrenceville with her family.

Igniting Motivation: Understanding and reinforcing motivating factors for bright children
Presenter: Australian Psychologist, Dr. Alison Brown, Peak Consulting, LLC

Saturday, December 13, 2014, 10:15-11:15, University Hall 1040
Sunday, December 14, 2014, 10:15-11:15, University Hall 1040

Parents and teachers can often be left feeling bewildered and frustrated when they see bright and capable students who seem to have little or no motivation to learn or to achieve to the high standards of which they are clearly capable. In many instances, bright children who have not been appropriately challenged in the early years of school, can end up disengaging and losing their love of learning. Many other children, although bright, seem to have no intrinsic desire to achieve. Motivation can and usually does improve with maturity. This seminar looks at ways in which we can help and encourage our children to set meaningful goals, to develop successful time management skills, and to work towards assuming an internal locus on control.

This parent information seminar addresses the following issues:

  • Intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation
  • “Currency” of the day
  • Individual goal setting
  • Delayed gratification
  • Organization and time management
  • Internal locus of control
  • Age differences / maturity factors
  • Need for appropriately paced and challenging material
  • Structure / rewards

Speaker Bio: 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.

Spring 2014 POGO Series Topics

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).