Austin schools hosting Gifted and Talented Symposium

Published 5:55 am Sunday, May 22, 2016

By John Alberts

Executive Director of Educational Services

John F. Kennedy once said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Gifted education can be that rising tide, and Austin Public Schools provides an annual professional development opportunity that helps parents, teachers, and administrators learn the newest practices in the field of gifted education that ultimately can be used to help all students succeed.

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On June 13-16, Austin Public Schools in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Education and the Hormel Foundation will host the eighth annual Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Symposium at Austin High School. Experts in the field of gifted and talented education from across the country and world share the latest research and practices in the field. In the past, there have been 300-plus attendees from as far away and Turkey, Hong Kong, and Kenya. In addition to adult learning, there is also a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) camp experience open to students currently in fifth to seventh grade and lead by the Minnesota Department of Education’s STEM specialist.

Thanks to the generosity of the Hormel Foundation, Austin residents and school staff can attend the symposium at no cost. This year’s keynote presentations include The Science of Happiness, by Eric Karpinski, the Happiness Coach; Igniting Student Agency with Critical Thinking and Creativity in Classrooms, by Maria Asp from the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre Company; and Equity, Culture and the “Achievement Gap,” by Anton Treuer from Bemidji State University. Additionally, the Executive Director of the National Association for Gifted Children, M. Rene Islas, will be giving the keynote at the Wednesday night banquet at the Historic Hormel Home.

For more information on the symposium and to register, visit the Austin Public Schools webpage at and click on the yellow symposium banner.