ITAG Winter 2021 Conference

The State of Gifted: Changing Minds, Policies, and Practices


Make plans now to take part in ITAG’s Winter Conference. Registration opens soon! Choose the attendance option that works better for you:


  • In person*– attend the conference at the Airport Holiday Inn, Des Moines, February 9-10, 2021. Masking and social distancing will be practiced for the duration of the event. Boxed meals will be provided. In-person attendees will have access to all recorded sessions for 90 days. Registrants will receive an access code for the video access closer to the conference date.
  • On demand for professional development at your leisure. If you cannot attend the ITAG conference in person, sign up for on-demand access, which allows you access to the recorded sessions (beginning on February 9) for 90 days. Registrants will receive an access code for the video access closer to the conference date.


*Masking and social distancing will be practiced for the duration of the in-person event. Hand sanitizer stations will be provided throughout the conference area. Boxed meals will be provided. ITAG will continue to monitor COVID and flu conditions, as well as regulations about gathering sizes. If it becomes necessary for ITAG to cancel the in-person component of the conference, attendees will be refunded the $100 difference between in-person conference attendance and on-demand registration.

Make February a Gifted Professional Learning Month

Join Kyra Wilcox-Conley from the Heartland AEA for a webinar on the Gifted and Talented Program Self-Audit & Reflection Tool (SART). Select registration for the workshop when you register for the conference. The webinar will be delivered in 2 2-hour sessions.

The SART is a Google Sheets-based series of rubrics designed to help districts evaluate the current state of their GT programs and create long-term strategic plans to guide their work. Participants will learn about the features of the tool and begin to complete the audit in a guided practice workshop. Participants will leave the workshop with the start of a multi-year action plan to bring back to their district.

The SART is

  • based on best practices and national standards in gifted and talented education.
  • designed for districts to focus conversations and reflections on the seven minimum requirements for a Talented and Gifted program according to Chapter 12 (12.5(12)) of the Iowa Administrative Code.
  • a tool for having district conversations about ways to best meet the needs of gifted children K–12 and to determine what changes need to occur in teaching and programming in order to challenge students.

Attendees will leave the workshop with

  • specification of relative strengths and weaknesses in your GT program in the areas of identification, goals and performance measures, qualitatively differentiated programming, staff qualifications, budget, in-service design, and review and evaluation.
  • insights into equity needs in your gifted programming for English Language Learners, minority students, and twice exceptional students
  • the start of a multi-year action plan to bring back to their district.

Licensure Renewal Credit through ITAG

ITAG is finalizing plans to offer licensure renewal credit in conjunction with the February 2021 conference. More details are coming soon.

Graduate Credit Options

If you are interested in receiving graduate credit or licensure renewal credit through Drake University, see their course syllabus and their flyer.

Exhibitors, Vendors, and Sponsors

Gain valuable exposure for your business or organization and help make ITAG’s Winter 2021 conference a success by becoming a sponsor or exhibitor! Get more details here.

Safety Precautions for In-Person Attendees

Your safety during the conference is our top priority. Our planning is responsive and flexible to changing government regulations and recommendations, local regulations and recommendations, and personal preferences for attending in-person events. We will continue to update our planning as conditions change. We encourage you to follow the safety and health protocols you have in place at your school or place of employment, in addition to following the precautions ITAG is taking. Please avoid in-person attendance if you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19 or the seasonal flu.

Social distancing. All in-person events will be socially distanced with attendees seated 6 feet apart. Because of social distancing, the number of in-person attendees is limited to 200 people this year. If you want to attend in person, be sure to register early to save your spot.

Masks. All ITAG staff and board members will wear masks for the entirety of the event. We ask that all attendees wear a mask at all times. ITAG will have a limited supply of masks available for those who forgot theirs.

Hand sanitizer. The Airport Holiday Inn will have hand sanitizer stations placed around the conference area.

Meals. As in past years, the in-person conference will include breakfast, lunch, and snacks on both days of the conference. The Airport Holiday Inn will provide all meals in boxes for grab-and-go. Hotel staff will wear masks while handing out meal boxes. Coffee and water stations will be available. We encourage you to bring your own water bottle and travel coffee mug.

Hotel arrangements

The Airport Holiday Inn has a block of rooms reserved for the ITAG conference. The deadline for making reservations at the conference rate is January 25, 2021. Call the hotel directly at 515-287-2400 to make reservations at the conference rate of $102 + taxes per night.

Staff at the Airport Holiday wear masks for safety. Unless requested by the guest, sleeping rooms are not entered by hotel staff (such as for cleaning). Only you will be entering and exiting your sleeping room, unless you have made other arrangements with the hotel.

About the conference keynote presenters

F. Richard Olenchak has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut where he studied at the National Research Center on Gifted and Talented. He is currently Professor of Educational Psychology & Research Methodology as well as Professor of Gifted/Creative/Talented Studies at Purdue University. He taught grades 2 through 11, has served as a K-12 Director of Gifted Education, has been a principal at both elementary and middle school levels, has been a research associate at a state department of education, and has operated a private psychological consulting practice focusing on the developmental needs of gifted and talented children. His focus is on gifted students’ affective development and psychological uniqueness. Of particular interest are appropriate identification processes and accommodations for children and adolescents who have the potential for gifted behavior but who are not easily identified and seldom served educationally. Currently, he is working with teachers, counselors, other educators at schools in Los Angeles and Houston focusing on twice-exceptional students and ways educators can best serve such students. He was awarded the National Association for Gifted Children Distinguished Service Award in 2019.

Dr. Olenchak is the author of They Say My Kid’s Gifted: Now What? and a co-author of Social-Emotional Curriculum with Gifted and Talented Students (Critical Issues in Gifted Education) and Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults: ADHD, Bipolar, OCD, Asperger’s, Depression, and Other Disorders.


Rosanne Malek is the Education Program Consultant for K-12 Gifted/Talented Programming at the Iowa Department of Education. Rosanne’s duties at the Iowa Department of Education include supervising K-12 gifted and talented programming, administrating federal grants, and providing professional development opportunities for educators. Rosanne has presented numerous times at the Iowa Talented and Gifted State Conference and the National Association for Gifted Children National Conference. She participates as an advisory board member to the Iowa Talented and Gifted Association and she represents the Iowa Department of Education on the national Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted.  Rosanne served as president and as an executive board member of the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted from 2006-2012. Rosanne has Administration Certification in Educational Leadership from Colorado University, a Master of Music Education degree from Johns Hopkins University/Peabody Conservatory of Music, and Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wyoming. Prior to working in administration, Rosanne taught performing arts at the middle school and high school levels in Iowa, Wyoming, Maryland, and Colorado, the longest tenure at the Air Force Academy School District in Colorado Springs, CO. Her most recent international piano performance was in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2009. Rosanne is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Iowa.