Past Programs

Previous Events By Topic

Enrichment Opportunities and Resources | Social/Emotional Needs | Traits of Giftedness | WDMCS Planning

College Planning/Testing/Above-Level Testing Information

Topic: Student Alumni Panel
Date: Jan. 2, 2018
Presenters: ELP alumni

We hosted VHS Alumni while they are home on winter break from college. They shared their reflections about the following:

  • their academic pathways at VHS, including extra-curricular activities; advantages & challenges
  • college transition process
  • college rigor preparedness
  • college admission process

The students on the alumni panel took a variety of academic pathways through VHS. Honors, Scholars, ELP Seminar, AP & Dual Enrollment Courses.

  • If your students are preparing to enter high school soon, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn about what pathways are available to high-ability students.
  • If your children are already in high school, it will be a great way for them to hear about the college admission process and what level of preparedness VHS offered these students.
  • If your children are elementary, it will offer them a window to view how high-ability students maximized their educational experiences with WDMCS

Time was given for audience questions to allow audience to hear authentic & personal input from former Valley students.

Topic: College Admissions Process
Date: March 21, 2017
Presenter: Emily Selden, college admissions specialist

Topic: Belin-Blank: Above-Level Testing
Date: Sept. 27, 2016
Presenter: AnnLupkowski-Shoplik, Ph.D.

Have you ever wondered what an above-level test was? Why you would have your high-ability student take a test that was meant for older students? And how you could apply the results of the test to meet your child’s academic needs?

West Des Moines ELP Parent Partnership (WELPP) is pleased to welcome Dr. Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik from the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education. Via videoconferencing, Ann will outline the benefits of and why you would have your high-ability elementary/middle school student take an above-level test, introduce Belin-Blank’s new test.


Enrichment Opportunities and Resources

Topic: Worthwhile Enrichment and Gap Year Experiences
Date: Jan. 31, 2017

We hosted a panel discussion with 11 WDMCS students (8th – 12th graders) sharing their many positive enrichment experiences. Experiences included school, local, state, national, and international opportunities. Enrichment covered a broad range from STEM, the arts, creative writing, leadership, debate, and political science.
Dan Kelly, VHS Social Studies teacher, shared several Gap Year experiences some of his former students have chosen.

Social/Emotional Needs

Topic: An Evening with the Gifted Guru: Lisa Van Gemert
Date: Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Presenter: Lisa Van Gemert

While gifted youth need more leeway and independence at earlier ages than do their typical learner peers, that doesn’t mean they need less parenting. Identifying and sustaining appropriate boundaries with peers, adult interaction, and even electronics can challenge the best and most dedicated of parents. Using a metaphor of fences, learn the key ideas parents need to find and maintain suitable guidelines for their children without dampening the child’s spirits or feeling like they’ve surrendered all control to their kids.

Topic: Giftedness & Anxiety: Identification and a Plan
Date: Feb. 19,2019
Presenter: Kyra Wilcox-Conley. Kyra is the Gifted and Talented Program Consultant at Heartland AEA, serving all Heartland AEA districts. Prior to joining the AEA staff, she spent many years in public education as a teacher and administrator. About ten years into her teaching career, her principal asked her if she was interested in being a GT teacher. She took that opportunity and has been learning about and with gifted and talented students ever since.

Topic: Social/Emotional Needs of Gifted Children
Date: April, 23, 2018
Presenter: Dr. Krista Brittian, Psy.D.

Dr. Krista Brittain is a licensed psychologist practicing in West Des Moines, IA. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Dance from the University of Iowa and her Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of Denver. Dr. Brittain’s doctoral paper addressed the social and emotional needs of gifted children, and this is a particular area of interest for Dr. Brittain in her current therapy and assessment practice. Dr. Brittain also works with individuals, couples, and families through the assessment and therapy process for other concerns. She is passionate about advocating for the learning, social, and emotional needs of children. Outside of work Dr. Brittain enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching football, seeing plays, vacationing, and being outdoors. She is also enjoying being a new mom and sharing the adventure of parenting with her spouse.

Dr Brittain began the meeting with a needs assessment (inquiring from the audience what they hope to gain/learn from the evening). The conversation included information about over-excitabilities and how these apply to the social-emotional-developmental needs of the gifted. Dr. Brittain guided parents through creating a supportive & self-care plan for home as well as an advocacy plan for support at school.

Time was given for audience questions and reflection.

Traits of Giftedness

More information to come.

WDMCS School Planning

Topic: Advanced Pathways for grades 7-12
Date: Jan. 29,2019 (canceled due to weather0