Parent Day

Sunday, October 13

Airport Holiday Inn, 6111 Fleur Drive, Des Moines


Parent Day Registration is Open!

Whether your family is new to the world of Talented and Gifted or not, ITAG Parent Day has something for you. Join us for a gifted resource fair, vendor showcase, keynote speaker, four break-out sessions, awards, door prizes, snacks, and new to ITAG’s Parent Day 2019 are supervised activities for students in grades K-7. Bring your kids to play Spheros, Rubik’s Cubes, and much more.

View the 2019 ITAG Parent Day Flyer.


1-2pm- Event check-in, child registration, and time to visit exhibitors and resource fair

EXHIBITORS include Hickory Grove Press, CountFast, Higher Order Innovation, Iowa Future Program Solving, Buena Vista University, Michaelson Lab at the University of Iowa

RESOURCE FAIR PARTICIPANTS include National History Day, Iowa PTA, Heartland AEA Consultant for Gifted and Talented, WISE Program at Iowa State, Extraordinary Potential Psychological Assessment

1:50pm- Drop kids off at Kid Activity Station

2-3pm- Brief welcome and keynote presentation

Parenting with Emotional Intelligence

Brandi Klepper, Psy.D.

Many parents of gifted children know that gifted kids can be emotionally sensitive and intense. These parents also know that parenting in an appropriately responsive and successful way, without making the situation worse or shaming the child, can be quite the challenge. To support such insight and understanding, this presentation will include an overview of emotional intelligence, examples of behaviors of gifted children and insight into their experiences, and examples of responsive parenting utilizing emotional intelligence.

3:15-3:55pm- Breakout sessions 1

       1a-“Living in the Gifted Family” with Arlene DeVries

       1b-“Mental Health and Gifted Children: When to Seek Help” with Dr. Deb Mishak

4:05-4:45pm- Breakout sessions 2

       2a- “Parenting GT Kids: Perfectionism, ‘Not Enough- ness,’ and Emotional Coaching from Early  Childhood through Adolescence into Adult Life” with Dr. Sally Beisser and Dr. Bengu Tekinalp

       2b- “Improving Executive Functioning” with Dr. Brandi Klepper

4:50-5pm- Closing ceremony and door prize drawings

5pm- Kid Activity Stations close—child pick-up

5:30pm- Talented and Gifted Resource Fair and Vendor Fair Closes

About the keynote presenter

Dr. Brandi L. Klepper is a Missouri licensed, clinical psychologist who specializes in children, adolescents and adults who are gifted, talented and/or high achieving.  She has had a private psychology practice specializing in gifted and talented individuals since 2002. Before that, as a college and graduate student, she worked therapeutically with gifted and high achieving individuals and in her dissertation she researched emotions in gifted adolescents.  Throughout her life, Dr. Klepper has participated in gifted services as a student, camper, RA, teacher, camp counselor, presenter, psychologist, and consultant.  In addition to her private practice, she teaches at Drury University in the Masters of Education, Gifted Certification program. She has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels since 2002, including time teaching at Drury University, Cox College, and The School of Professional Psychology at Forest Institute. She has been a classroom volunteer since 2010.  Dr. Klepper also serves as a Resident Counselor at Drury University’s Center for Gifted Education PreCollege Programs. Further, she has presented at the National Association of Gifted Children’s conference; at statewide and district conferences of the Gifted Association of Missouri, the Iowa Talented and Gifted Association, Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education, and the Kansas Association for the Gifted, Talented and Creative; as well as to various other groups.

Dr. Klepper resides in Springfield, Missouri with her husband and two children. She hopes to continue serving the gifted populations in Springfield and surrounding areas.

About the breakout sessions

Breakout session 1a: “Living in the Gifted Family” with Arlene DeVries

This informal discussion will provide information about handling sibling squabbles, friendship issues for gifted children, how to communicate with your child, and caring for parents’ own needs.

About Arlene:

Arlene DeVries retired as the Community Resource Consultant for the Des Moines Public Schools Gifted Talented Program. After being trained in the Supporting Emotional Needs of Gifted parent discussion groups in 1981 in Dayton, Ohio, she facilitated 70 ten-week discussion groups in the Des Moines area. She then trained facilitators in two-day workshops throughout the United States and at the World Gifted Conferences in The Hague, Netherlands; Toronto, Canada; Seattle, Washington; Hong Kong; Barcelona, Spain, and Adelaide, Australia. She was a member of the original SENG board of directors, became their president, and an Emeritus Board Member.

She has attended and presented at 100 gifted/talented conferences. She is co-author of two
books, Gifted Parent Groups: the SENG Model, 2nd Edition; and A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children.

She served nine years on the National Association for Gifted Children Board of Directors, and was chair of the NAGC Parent/Community Division. As a member of the Iowa Talented and Gifted Board, Arlene organized parent workshops throughout the state. Under her term as president, she was instrumental in passing legislation that instituted the Post Secondary Enrollment Option Act, and ITAG moves from an all volunteer organization to a paid executive director.

Arlene has received the ITAG Distinguished Service Award, The SENG Outstanding Leadership Award, and the Drake University School of Education Outstanding Alumnae Award. For many years she taught a Drake University on-line class, “Social Emotional Needs of Gifted.” Prior to her gifted/talented career, Arlene was a K-12 public school music teacher. For the past 30 years, she presented the pre-concert talks for the Des Moines Symphony Classical Concerts.

Breakout session 1b: “Mental Health and Gifted Children: When to Seek Help,” Debra Mishak, Ph.D.

How does a parent decide if behaviors their child or teen is exhibiting are associated with the intensities and over- excitabilities of giftedness, or when they may be observing symptoms of paralyzing anxiety, manic-depression, or another debilitating mental illness? This session will be run as a short presentation followed by an interactive discus-sion where you can share your stories and concerns and be supported by other participants who are struggling with similar complex and frightening situations in their own families.

About Deb:

Dr. Debra Mishak earned her B.A. in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy, her M.A. in Counselor Education, and her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Supervision from the University of Iowa. During her forty year career in education Dr. Mishak has served as a K-12 music teacher, K-12 professional school counselor, K-12 gifted coordinator, university professor of school counseling, professional development administrator for the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, and as the Director of Gifted Education and Counseling for the Des Moines Public Schools. She currently serves as program director of Winona State University’s Austin Teacher Preparation Program. Dr. Mishak has presented over 200 workshops, consultancies, and symposia throughout North America, Europe, and Australia in the areas of social and emotional needs of the gifted, child and adolescent mental health, talent development of indigenous populations, and educator compassion fatigue and well- being.

Breakout session 2a: “Parenting GT Kids: Perfectionism, ‘Not Enoughness,’ and Emotional Coaching from Early Childhood through Adolescence into Adult Life,” Sally Beisser, Ph.D. and Bengu E. Tekinalp, Ph.D.

This session is an informal discussion from two Drake University professors who are each parenting two gifted daughters. Both will share their life experiences, insights, and suggestions from parenting their own children. They will share resources and strategies for surviving the role as parents of gifted children from academic and personal perspectives. A question and answer session will conclude the session.

About Sally:

Sally Beisser, Ph.D., is the Ellis and Nelle Distinguished Professor of Education at Drake University in teacher education, doctoral qualitative research methods, and service-learning on campus, in Belize, and South Africa. Recently she conducted pedagogy workshops at University of Gjokova and University of Prizren in Kosovo. She has presented at the Oxford Round Table in the UK on gifted education and studied gifted programs in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia.

She loves the state of Iowa. With a BS, MS, and Ph.D. from Iowa State University and working in three public schools in Iowa, she understands the people and promise in our state. Sally been an elementary school teacher of gifted children for 15 years and taught gifted education in higher education for 20 years. As a Drake University professor, she was named the Teacher of the Year and holds the distinction of being the only female and only School of Education professor to earn the Provost Troyer Research Award.

As a member of NAGC for 17 years, she was awarded the NAGC Doctoral Student Award, has published in Gifted Child Quarterly, Gifted Child Today, co-chaired the NAGC Parent and Community Committee, presented numerous times at the Iowa Talented and Gifted (ITAG) and the NAGC conferences, and now serves on the NAGC Teaching for High Potential Advisory Board. She has received the ITAG Distinguished Service Award.

Since 2007 Dr. Beisser has directed the Drake University award-winning Online Talented and Gifted Endorsement (pk-12 TAG) program, serving students from 29 states and 8 countries. She has authored 73 articles and presented at over 165 state, national, and international conferences.

About Bengu:

Bengü (Ergüner) Tekinalp, PhD, is an associate professor, program coordinator of the Counselor Education program and co-chair of the Leadership and Counseling Department at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. Her research interests are intersections of positive psychology, school counseling, multicultural counseling, and Adlerian and humanistic schools of thought. Dr. Tekinalp has published more than 25 journal articles and book chapters presented at international and national conferences and has written and edited four books, one of which is on Positive Psychology in Education in her native language Turkish. She has served various Boards of professional associa- tions such as Iowa School Counselor Association, Iowa Talented and Gifted Association and serves in the Council of Representative of North American Society for Adlerian Psychology. Dr. Tekinalp also currently serves on the Iowa Department of Education Social Emotional Learning task force advisory committee. She is a licensed school counselor and has a certificate in Adlerian Studies.

Breakout session 2b: “Improving Executive Functioning,” Brandi L. Klepper, Psy.D.

Even gifted kids can struggle with executive functioning skills. Sometimes this is expressed as a gifted child who has trouble making good decisions and acts impulsively. Sometimes it’s a gifted child who struggles with where to start amongst so many thoughts and can’t keep track of what the directions are. Additionally, underdeveloped executive functioning skills are expressed in a gifted child who has no real sense of time and winds up spending way too long on a minor part of a task.
Executive functioning skills are a product of nature and nurture; development of them is biopsychosocial. Thus, there are ways to help guide these kids into developing better executive functioning skills. Those who attend this session will learn about executive functioning in gen- eral as well as techniques to improve these skills in gifted individuals.

About Brandi:

See her bio above in the keynote presenter section