Identifying and Serving Underrepresented Students

in Gifted Education

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Central Rivers AEA, Cedar Falls

Gifted students exist everywhere, in all populations. Do you and your colleagues know how to identify and serve gifted and talented from traditionally underrepresented populations? Join ITAG on April 17, 2019, as we present Tamra Stambaugh, Ph.D., from Vanderbilt University, for a hands-on professional development on identifying and providing curriculum for low-income and potentially gifted learners.

Dr. Stambaugh’s morning workshop is titled “But We Don’t Have Any Gifted Students in Our School”: Strategies for Finding and Serving High Ability Students from Low Income Households.

Afternoon breakout sessions with Dr. Stambaugh and experts from Iowa will focus on gifted students in rural settings and students with twice exceptionalities.


Registration is $150.00 for each attendee. Register here. (Click on the “Tickets” button to register.)

Registration includes continental breakfast, lunch, and conference materials.

Registration is limited to 200 attendees. A small block of hotel rooms has been reserved at Best Western Plus, 1614 Technology Parkway, 319-277-2400. The conference rate is $94 plus tax per night. Call the hotel directly for reservations. Room availability guaranteed through March 17, 2019. The Best Western Plus is across the street from the Central Rivers AEA. Individuals need to cancel 48 hours in advance to avoid charges. All workshop sessions will be held at the Central Rivers AEA, 1521 Technology Pkwy, Cedar Falls, IA 50613.

Tentative Schedule

8:00AM–8:45AM         Registration and continental breakfast

8:45AM–9:00AM         Welcome

9:00AM–12:00PM       Identifying and serving low-income and potentially gifted learners

12:00PM –12:30PM    Lunch provided on site

12:45PM–1:45PM        Breakout session 1

1:45PM–2:00PM         Break

2:00PM–3:00PM       Breakout session 2

3:10PM–4:00PM       Panel discussion with students (with Tamra Stambaugh, moderator)


Workshop Presenter Dr. Tamra Stambaugh

Morning keynote

“But We Don’t Have Any Gifted Students in Our School”: Strategies for Finding and Serving High Ability Students from Low Income Households

Gifted students who are from low income households may not show their potential in traditional ways that are detected in school.  They may also have gaps in their learning due to lack of access to advanced talent development opportunities and these gaps may overshadow their strengths.  Synthesizing research from the past two decades we will discuss variety of evidence supported strategies, programs, and models found successful in finding and developing talents of gifted students from low income households both in and out of the classroom and school setting.

Afternoon breakout session 1

Scaffolding Instruction Using the Jacob’s Ladder Framework Across Multiple Disciplines

In this session we will build upon the conversation from this morning’s keynote about the importance of providing scaffolding as way to support students’  thinking in varying content disciplines.  While many know and use Jacob’s Ladder as a reading comprehension program, the ladder framework can be used to scaffold questions and activities across multiple content areas.  After a review of the ladder framework and examples of ladders activities in a variety of content areas, time will be allotted for hands-on practice writing questions in a variety of content areas.


Afternoon breakout session 2: Panel Discussion with students


About Dr. Tamra Stambaugh

Tamra Stambaugh is a research assistant professor of special education and director of Programs for Talented Youth at Vanderbilt University. She is the co-author of Comprehensive Curriculum for Gifted Learners and co-editor of Overlooked Gems: A National Perspective on Low-Income Promising Students, the Jacob’s Ladder Reading Comprehension Program (both with Joyce VanTassel-Baska) and Leading Change in Gifted Education (with Bronwyn MacFarlane). Stambaugh has also authored or co-authored journal articles and book chapters on a variety of topics focusing on curriculum, instruction and leadership. Her current research interests include the impact of accelerated curriculum on student achievement, teacher effectiveness and talent development factors – especially for students of poverty.

Stambaugh serves as a member of the National Association for Gifted Children professional standards committee, and the Higher Education workgroup. She is the recipient of several awards including the Margaret The Lady Thatcher Medallion for scholarship, service, and character from the College of William and Mary School of Education. Prior to her appointment at Vanderbilt, she was director of grants and special projects at the College of William and Mary, Center for Gifted Education where she also received her Ph.D. in educational planning, policy, and leadership with an emphasis in gifted education and supervision.


Confirmed breakout session presenters

Casey Dunley, Des Moines Public Schools

Cross-Age Peer Mentoring: Cultivating a System of Academic Excellence

How can a district use cross-age peer mentoring to support students from historically underserved populations in gifted and talented? Participants in this session will hear how one Des Moines Public High School piloted a course for credit in collaboration with one of their feeder pattern elementary schools. Hear firsthand from a few of the high school students involved.

The purpose of the GT Leadership and Mentoring course is to provide leadership opportunities for the GT high school students.  The idea is that by being mentors/role models the GT students help their mentees to foster a positive attitude and enthusiasm for high level academic pursuits as well as increasing their confidence and self-efficacy. The positive outcome for the mentors is to develop confidence and leadership skills, foster empathy and patience for others, cultivate cultural capital, and expand the connection to their community.

The course was created to connect to both NAGC programming standards and to the Iowa Core, using available staff and resources.

Drs. Saba Ali, Duhita Mahatmya, Susan Assouline, Megan Foley Nicpon, Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and the University of Iowa

Linking Talent Domains with Career Exploration among Underrepresented Students in Gifted Education

The Talent Identification and Career Exploration (TICE) program, which is funded through the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program, implements an expanded talent development model and a career intervention program to improve identification and programming for underrepresented talented students. This program directly addresses the critical national and state need to diversify gifted education. We will review the identification model, which focuses on discovering strengths and talent domains to prepare students for college readiness and career success. We will discuss the career intervention curriculum, which consists of nine modules covering identification of career interests, world of work information, matching talents to careers, career influences, understanding strengths, and synthesis/goal setting. We will conclude by reviewing preliminary successes and challenges, and future project directions.

Dr. Lori Ihrig, Belin-Blank Center, University of Iowa

STEM Talent Identification and Development for Students Under-represented in Advanced STEM Careers

Middle school programming to find and develop STEM talent is crucial to support students’ academic and social development. We will discuss effective models for seeking out rural youth with STEM strengths. Examples of programming that creates access to talent development opportunities for under-represented students will be shared. These programs create space for students to socialize with equally capable peers, engage in advanced STEM learning, and develop identities of STEM leaders.

Sherice Ortman, Waterloo Public Schools

Megan Ringen and Stephanie Thompson, Drake University

Addressing the Needs of Gifted and Talented English Learners

Against a backdrop of critical demographic information regarding English learners (ELs), this practical session will focus on areas of giftedness as applied to ELs. Key considerations in identifying gifted ELs will be addressed with reference to Iowa’s Identifying Gifted and Talented English Language Learners document. Next, presenters will highlight needs of gifted ELs in the areas of social and emotional growth and English language development. Then the presentation will address culturally responsive parent communication. Recommendations for teachers of gifted ELs will round out this research-based interactive session.

Dr. Jolene Teske and Stephanie Davis, Des Moines Public Schools

A Unique Program Strategy to Support Gifted Students in Underrepresented Populations

Many districts have worked to improve gifted and talented identification and programming for underserved populations. “Years of distinctly different opportunities, levels of support, and levels of resources – all against the backdrop of racial, socioeconomic, and perhaps gender bias (some unintentional, some not) – create very different educational experiences for talented students” (Plucker & Peters, p. 5). Because of these excellence gaps, efforts beyond simple awareness are imperative. The Des Moines Public School District in Des Moines, Iowa, has taken a progressive step toward the inclusion of underserved populations with a Gifted and Talented Program called Prep Academy. This program identifies underserved students, students qualifying for free and/or reduced lunch (FRL) as well as students identifying as a minority race or ethnicity, at the end of sixth grade for programming beginning in seventh grade. The intention is to provide opportunity to students who might not have had such opportunities before.

Hollie Weber, Central Lee Community School District

Serving Gifted Students through a Rural Lens

Come learn how being RURAL (Resourceful, Unwavering, Resilient, Advocate, Leadership) can be an asset in providing services.


Credit through the University of Iowa

The University of Iowa is offering an opportunity for interested individuals to receive one semester hour of credit for attending the April workshop and completing additional course requirements.

RCE:4124:0WKA Ethnic and Cultural Issues & Giftedness:  Identifying and Serving Underrepresented Students (one semester hour of credit)

 The class will start on April 23, giving interested individuals time to get enrolled; it will end on May 13.

Description:  This section focuses on identifying and serving underrepresented students from culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse backgrounds, including students in rural schools.  Attendance is required at the ITAG Spring Workshop.

This class falls in the Psychology strand for the endorsement.  Tuition for graduate students is currently $544; participants in this class will automatically receive a 50% tuition scholarship.  The total cost, whether registering as a graduate or undergraduate student, will be $272.

Students should contact Dr. Laurie Croft ( for information about registration for this course; registration is restricted to ensure that participants attended the ITAG Workshop.