Celebrating 30 Years of Gifted and Talented Education at UCR Extension

Join us June 21 for a one-day conference to commemorate three decades of training exceptional teachers and making powerful connections.

By Suzanne Hartzell

In 1981, the Secretary of Education established the Commission on Excellence, and charged it to examine the quality of education in the U.S. The commission’s report, “A Nation at Risk,” shocked the nation with its dire predictions about the “rising tide of mediocrity” in schools and achievement. The College Board had discovered that scores on the SAT had fallen steadily, and foreign language, science, and math education were in trouble due to declining enrollments and low achievement. It was the wake-up call the nation needed. The 80s quickly became the decade when both schools and teachers were called on to raise their expectations so that all students might learn more.

It was also the decade that Sue Teele became the director of education for UCR Extension. Reform of teacher education was a key item in the 1980s, and it was Teele’s mission to make sure UCR Extension stayed ahead of the curve when it came to teacher training. As California embarked on completely rewriting the state curricular frameworks in science, math, history, reading and health, Teele began designing new and innovative teacher certification programs to help educators keep pace with the latest classroom trends. In 1988, Teele and her staff launched the Professional Certificate in Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), and since then, almost 2,500 teachers have earned the certification.

Teele returns to UCR Extension on Thursday, June 21, as a Keynote Speaker for the one-day conference, “GATE Education: Celebrating 30 Years of Making Powerful Connections.” A noted author, teacher, lecturer, and expert on Multiple Intelligences, Teele will be presenting, “Integrating Multiple Intelligences into the Classroom: Maximizing the Learning Potential of GATE Students.”

Also speaking at the conference is Dana Reupert, former California Association for the Gifted (CAG) President, and longtime UCR Extension instructor. When asked about her time teaching in the GATE program, she said, “For 29 years, I have had the opportunity to teach in this wonderful program that has provided teachers with valuable instructional strategies, resources, contemporary research, and guidelines/standards for meeting the needs of GATE students. I am excited to celebrate the program’s many accomplishments.” Reupert will present, “What’s a Challenge: Instruction Strategies.”

Hosted by Kevin J. Vaughn, dean of UCR Extension, and Annette Webb, director of education and credentials, this conference reunites the original program staff, reflects on the history of the program, recognizes school districts UCR has partnered with and presented GATE trainings for, honors certificate recipients, and presents innovative workshops led by UCR Extension’s GATE instructors.

Krista Landgraf, CAG president-elect, earned her GATE Certificate from UCR Extension in 2009, has been an elementary GATE classroom teacher in Chino Valley for 20 years, was Chino’s Teacher of the Year in 2015, and now teaches in UCR Extension’s program.

“One of the best ways to ensure our gifted students have the necessary classroom experience needed for their optimal learning is to start at the top with teacher training. UCR Extension has been there for the last 30 years providing just such teacher training opportunities,” Landgraf said. “In California, where gifted programs and services are not mandated, UCR has taken action to ensure that our students have the opportunity to learn something new every day in classrooms where trained GATE teachers reside. I am very happy to be a part of this program.”

Erik J. Mickelson, the GATE Coordinator of Palm Springs Unified School District, has taught in UCR’s GATE program since 2007.

“UCR has been a leader providing teachers comprehensive training in how to identify, effectively teach, and support the social and emotional needs of gifted children,” Mickelson said. “For years, UCR Extension has offered teachers the opportunity to learn about this vitally important, but often underserved, population of students. They also continually look toward improving the quality of the program. Educators completing the certificate are skilled and passionate in their teaching of and advocacy for gifted children.”

As a special commemoration of the day, Teele will present each conference participant with a signed copy of her book, “Rainbows of Intelligence: Exploring How Students Learn.” Also on hand will be CAG representatives to share information and talk about what’s trending in today’s GATE classrooms.

Register for the conference.

Learn more about UCR Extension’s GATE Certificate program.

Archived under: Inside UCR, , , , , , ,

Top of Page