Close Menu

Upcoming Gifted Education Institutes

Experience on-campus institutes that will help you grow as a professional and learn to address contemporary issues in gifted education. 

We are currently planning our next Gifted Education Institutes. Registration has not yet opened. Please check back later for more details. If you have questions about the registration process, please contact the Center for Gifted Education at 509.777.3226 or

Breaking Barriers: Understanding and Responding to Diversity in Student Potential

  • Date: Feb. 8, 2020
  • Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Location: Whitworth University, 300 W. Hawthorne Road, Spokane, WA 99251

Students do not express their potential in the same way. The talent and potential of students can go unnoticed by parents, teachers and counselors, as the expression of this potential is often non-traditional. With help from experts, we can begin to identify and support the growth of the diverse spectrum of student potential. This one-day institute will prepare educators and parents to identify, understand and support diverse expressions of potential, including underachievement, perfectionism, twice-exceptionality and social-emotional intensity.

Mind the Gap: Strategies for Adapting Curriculum to Deepen Student Learning

  • Dates: June 24-26, 2020
  • Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Location: Whitworth University, 300 W. Hawthorne Road, Spokane, WA 99251

Curriculum is a critical factor in student success, particularly for students who have high potential or who have been identified as highly capable. Teachers, administrators and instructional specialists are required to meet the diverse needs of all students, but oftentimes the curriculum alone is unable to accomplish this task. This three-day institute will equip educators with curricular strategies and instructional practices to adapt curriculum in a way that effectively differentiates students with academic potential, including those from underrepresented populations, and deepens student learning.


To see what our last institute was like, please see below.

After attending Whitworth's Institute on Differentiation last summer, I decided almost immediately that Whitworth was the best place to continue my education. The depth of knowledge, professionalism, and caring communication I saw from everyone I met there made Whitworth my clear decision.

Nick Castilleja, M.A.T., Gifted & Talented

Schools Are Places for Talent Development: Unleashing Potential, Passion and Creative Talents

Join us as we engage with featured speakers Joseph Renzulli, Ed.D., and Sally Reis, Ph.D., along with other national presenters, and explore curricular innovations that build achievement by discovering and nurturing students' creative talents and passions. For years researchers have worked to answer complex questions about the development of human potential. This year's institute will highlight The Schoolwide Enrichment Model, which was developed to encourage and promote creative productivity in young people.


  • Dates: June 19-21, 2019
  • Time: 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • Location: Whitworth University, 300 W. Hawthorne Road, Spokane, WA 99251
  • Cost: $350 per person (includes lunch)


8:30-10 a.m. Keynote Presentations

Wednesday, June 19
The Other Goal of Gifted Education: Promoting Emotional Development and Social Responsibility Through the Use of Co-Cognitive Skills – Joseph Renzulli, Ed.D.

Thursday, June 20
Talent Denied and Talent Lost: Challenges and Compromises of Gifted Girls and Women – Sally Reis, Ph.D.

Friday, June 21
Panel Discussion: Lessons Learned in Developing Comprehensive Gifted Education Programs - Featured Speakers
10:15-11:30 a.m.   Special Sessions

Wednesday, June 19
The Schoolwide Enrichment Model – Joseph Renzulli, Ed.D. and Sally Reis, Ph.D.

Thursday, June 20
Enrichment Clusters: A Practical Plan for Real World, Student Driven Learning – Sally Reis, Ph.D. and Joseph Renzulli, Ed.D.

Friday, June 21
Using Elements of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model to Provide for Developing Potential – Jann Leppien, Ph.D.
11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.  Lunch
12:15-1:45 p.m. Strand Sessions (choose one to attend all three days)
  1. The Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted, and the Psychosocial Strategies for Developing One's Potential- Margo Long
  2. Action Fractions and Beyond – Dr. Rachel McAnallen
  3. Developing a Defensible Student Identification Process for Highly Capable Students – Dr. Karen Westberg
  4. Planning for High Quality Differentiation – Dr. Marcia Imbeau
  5. An Innovative Way to Serve Highly Capable Students: The Total School Clustering Model – Teddy Benson
  6. The Joy of Critical and Creative Thinking in the Active Pursuit of Creative Productivity – Mike Cantlon
2-3:30 p.m. Strand Sessions (choose one to attend all three days)
  1. The Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted, and the Psychosocial Strategies for Developing One's Potential- Margo Long
  2. Action Fractions and Beyond – Dr. Rachel McAnallen
  3. Supporting Students' Independent Investigations – Dr. Karen Westberg
  4. Implementing Differentiated Instruction: Tips for Mentoring Teachers – Dr. Marcia Imbeau
  5. Attending to the Advanced Needs of Mathematically Talented Students – Teddy Benson
  6. Barriers to Underserved Students' Participation in Highly Capable Programs and Possible Solutions – Dr. Jann Leppien and Nicholas Castilleja

Additional Information

  • Check-in for the institute will begin at 8 a.m. on June 19, 2019. All registered participants will receive an email at least one week before the event with detailed check-in and event information.
  • We recommend you bring a laptop computer or tablet. Free wireless will be provided.
  • There is no dress code for this institute; however, we recommend that you dress in layers to maintain your comfort.

Payment Information and Cancellation/Refund Policy

Payments with credit cards can be made via the online registration form. We also accept checks and purchase orders. Please email purchase orders to or mail them to:

Whitworth University
Center for Gifted Education
300 W. Hawthorne Road
Spokane, WA 99251

All monies will be refunded if paid registrations are canceled by 4 p.m. PST on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Requests for refunds received after this date will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Contact the Center for Gifted Education at or 509.777.3226 to cancel your registration and request a refund.

Academic Credit/Clock Hours

You may elect to receive one graduate-level credit from Whitworth University for an additional fee of $150. There will be additional course assignments for those receiving graduate-level credit. This credit can be used to meet the elective requirement for the state-recognized Gifted Education Specialty Endorsement. One graduate-level semester credit equals 15 clock hours. Registration for credit will occur during the institute. 

Clock hours will be available free of charge courtesy of the Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Gifted (WAETAG).


Lunch is included in the registration fee. On the registration form, you will have the opportunity to inform us of any dietary needs.


The institute will be held on campus at Whitworth University.  Click here for a campus map and driving directions. 

For a list of local accommodations, click here. We have not reserved a block of rooms at a hotel. However, several hotels on our accommodations list offer special Whitworth University rates. To receive the special rate, use the provided online code or inform the hotel you are attending an event at Whitworth when making your reservation.

Session Descriptions

Keynote Presentations

The Other Goal of Gifted Education: Promoting Emotional Development and Social Responsibility Through the Use of Co-Cognitive Skills – Joseph Renzulli, Ph.D.

The overall goal of gifted education is to increase the world's reservoir of creative and productive people; however, we also want to prepare young people to be committed to making the world a better place. This presentation will briefly review the conception of giftedness and the pedagogical approaches underlying the Schoolwide Enrichment Model, with an emphasis on a broadened view of human potential. The major focus will be on the ways we can prepare young people to develop an empathic value system and commitment to using their talents to make beneficial changes in society. The relationship between creativity and task commitment, combined with the primary executive functions necessary for carrying out socially active projects, will be illustrated through case studies that highlight the co-cognitive characteristics necessary for social change and creative productivity.

Talent Denied and Talent Lost: Challenges and Compromises of Gifted Girls and Women – Sally Reis, Ph.D.

This keynote will focus on the loss of talents of girls and women across the country and the globe, and the implications of that phenomenon on diminished creativity, leadership, innovation and creative productivity. The keynote will conclude with a positive call to action on how educators and researchers can make a difference in helping girls and women to develop their talents.

Panel Discussion: Lessons Learned in Developing Comprehensive Gifted Education Programs – Featured Speakers

Program planning, design, development, implementation and evaluation all work in concert and become the basis for high-quality programs designed to address the academic and social/emotional needs of students identified for highly capable programs. In this keynote, speakers will discuss what factors distinguish high-quality practices that bring about change for students who need advancement.

Special Sessions

The Schoolwide Enrichment Model – Joseph Renzulli, Ed.D., and Sally Reis, Ph.D.

This session will provide an overview of The Schoolwide Enrichment Model and specific strategies for implementing the model in a variety of schools with students of different ages and demographic backgrounds. The model, based on more than 40 years of research and development, is a comprehensive system for infusing "high-end learning" and talent development opportunities into schools and enrichment programs. This session will provide an overview of specific strategies for implementing the SEM, including the development of Total Talent Portfolios, Curriculum Modification Techniques, and Enrichment Teaching and Learning Opportunities, such as Enrichment Clusters and Type III Investigations.

Enrichment Clusters: A Practical Plan for Real-World, Student-Driven Learning – Sally Reis, Ph.D. and Joseph Renzulli, Ph.D.

Enrichment Clusters are groups of students who share common interests and who come together during specially designed time blocks to pursue these interests. Enrichment Clusters engage students and facilitators in student-driven, real-world learning experiences. Grouped by interest, students work like practicing professionals and apply advanced content and methods to develop products and services for authentic audiences. Descriptions of various Enrichment Clusters will be shared with the participants as well as implementation strategies.

Using Elements of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model to Provide Services for Developing Potential – Jann Leppien, Ph.D.

This session is designed to deepen your understanding for the Schoolwide Enrichment Model and share strategies on how to implement the various components as ways to develop student potential. We will also consider implementation strategies for students who are being served in highly capable programs as well as infusion into the general education classroom curricula.

Strand Sessions

Strand #1/#7 - The Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted and the Psychosocial Strategies for Developing One's Potential – Margo Long

This session addresses the social and emotional needs of talented youth and the psychosocial skills necessary to continually develop one's talent. You cannot assume that students who are highly capable already have the skills, dispositions and strategies necessary to meet their goals and fulfill their potential. If we want our students to engage in difficult tasks that develop their talent, what are the underlying behaviors and skills necessary to attack and accomplish difficult assignments? Psychosocial skills address how individuals engage with their environment (including other people), their aspirations and their problems. These skills, such as mental toughness or dealing with stress or adversity, are not a substitute for talent or hard work but are just as important and are malleable. This session will focus on the type of environments that foster positive and productive learning outcomes and examines strategies that help students become more proactive as they grow their talent. 

Strand #2/#8 – Action Fractions and Beyond – Rachel McAnallen, Ph.D.

Action Fractions is a "hands-on" workshop that begins by introducing the learners to the language of "fractioneze."  This language can be taught as early as kindergarten, but it must be taught to all students if they are to grasp the basic concepts of fractions. Then through the use of pattern blocks, fraction strips and polyhedral dice, the participants learn how to add and subtract fractions mentally without having to find a common denominator. Multiplication and division of fractions can even be understood using the candy bar fraction activity and games. Fractions will lead us into ratio, proportions and problem solving. Included in this strand are loads of fun, laughter and humor. 

Strand #3 – Developing a Defensible Student Identification Process for Highly Capable Students –  Karen Westberg, Ph.D.

Identifying students for highly capable programs should be based on best practices in the field of gifted education and assessment as well as on the Washington State WACs. This strand focuses on how to: design defensible identification systems; provide training for teachers and members of multidisciplinary selection committees; and increase an understanding of assessment issues. Specific topics include universal screening, local norms and how to assess the psychometric properties of instruments. In addition, information will be discussed about the screening and identification of students from underrepresented groups, such as students of color, English learners and students living in poverty. 

Strand #4 – Planning for High Quality Differentiation – Marcia Imbeau, Ph.D.

There may be no greater need in today's classrooms than teachers who are comfortable with and confident in addressing a range of learner needs, including those who are identified for highly capable services. Academic diversity is the hallmark of contemporary classrooms, yet many teachers still plan and teach as though one lesson, taught in one way, using the same materials, over the same time span, will be successful for all students. This strand is designed to help participants develop a sound framework for thinking about and planning for differentiation and apply what they are learning in guided, differentiated, hands-on workshops. Participants will investigate and analyze key principles and practices of differentiation, analyze examples of differentiation based on quality indicators, and develop differentiated plans for their own classrooms or those of colleagues.

Strand #5 – An Innovative Way to Serve Highly Capable Students: The Total School Clustering Model – Teddy Benson

The Total School Cluster Grouping Model (TSCG) is a research-based, total-school organizational model used to serve highly capable students while also improving the teaching and learning of all students. This session focuses on the philosophy and practical application of cluster grouping in various school settings. Participants will experience a simulation of the steps and procedures for clustering students. Teacher selection and support to develop differentiated learning experiences for these students will be discussed.

Strand #6 – The Joy of Critical and Creative Thinking in the Active Pursuit of Creative – Mike Cantlon

The questions advanced students ask are perplexing, paradoxical and often whimsical, but quite naturally lead back to disciplinary investigations and insights. So how do we keep this sense of inquiry alive in our students and encourage them into investigative ways of knowing? This session will take you on a journey to expand the intellect through the art of higher level questioning. We will collaborate to develop inquiry sessions that enrich the teaching process and challenge the minds of students at all levels of readiness by using questioning strategies that can move students toward the act of creative production.

Strand #9 – Supporting Students' Independent Investigations – Karen Westberg, Ph.D.

Providing highly capable learners with opportunities to engage in independent investigations is one of the most highly recommended practices in the field of gifted education. This strand focuses on practical strategies for supporting students' individual or small group independent investigations, which are called Type III Investigations in the Enrichment Triad Model. Specific suggestions and materials for helping students with interest focusing, problem focusing, product focusing, and audience focusing, as well as how to teach research skills to students will be among the topics of the strand. 

Strand #10 – Implementing Differentiated Instruction: Tips for Mentoring Teachers – Marcia Imbeau, Ph.D.

As teachers continually strive to meet the needs of all their learners, they often need both encouragement and assistance in being successful. But where do they get that encouragement or help when resources are scarce and the needs are great? What do good mentors do to foster teachers' growth with differentiated instruction? What do good mentors need to know, understand and be able to do to be effective? What approaches work best with teachers who are at different places in their journey, and how does one determine a good next step? This session will explore specific tips supporters might use in their work to mentor teachers and have an opportunity to generate additional ways that mentors can make a positive difference.

Strand #11 – Attending to the Advanced Needs of Mathematically Talented Students – Teddy Benson

The most challenging part of teaching mathematics to advanced learners is making sure that students have opportunities to engage in mathematical discussion and problem solving activities appropriate to their level. In this session, participants will discover ways to develop creative and critical thinking opportunities while supporting reasoning and problem solving in the classroom. Participants will explore ways to engage students with investigations, projects and simulations to promote higher level thinking skills that also motivate, challenge and engage mathematically talented students.

Strand #12 – Barriers to Underserved Students' Participation in Highly Capable Programs and Possible Solutions – Jann Leppien, Ph.D. and Nicholas Castilleja

Highly Capable Programs in the state of Washington aim to promote, enhance, and extend the talents and abilities of students. Prior to such interventions, students' potential talents must be recognized; however, for many of our students, barriers exist for serving students who may be underserved including twice-exceptional students, English learners (EL), rural students, and culturally and economically diverse students. Participants will examine barriers to the identification of these students and possible solutions that provide more equitable access and services to enhanced and advanced learning.


Joseph S. Renzulli, Ed.D., is a leader and pioneer in gifted education and applying the pedagogy of gifted education teaching strategies to all students. The American Psychological Association named him among the 25 most influential psychologists in the world. He received the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Award for Innovation in Education, considered by many to be "the Nobel" for educators, and was a consultant to the White House Task Force on Education of the Gifted and Talented. 

Sally Reis, Ph.D., is currently the Letitia Neag Chair and a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Neag School of Education at UConn. Her research interests are related to special populations of gifted and talented students, including students with learning disabilities, gifted females and diverse groups of talented students. She is also interested in extensions of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model as a way to expand offerings and provide general enrichment to identify talents and potentials in students who have not been previously identified as gifted.

Jann Leppien 

Jann Leppien, Ph.D., is the Margo Long Endowed Chair in Gifted Education and a professor in the Graduate School of Education at Whitworth University. Whitworth's Center for Gifted Education supports policies that encourage the diverse expressions of gifts and talents and offers a Gifted Education Specialty Endorsement and Master of Arts in Teaching: Emphasis in Gifted and Talented programs. She is the co-author of The Multiple Menu Model: A Practical Guide for Developing Differentiated Curriculum, and The Parallel Curriculum: A Design to Develop High Potential and Challenge High-Ability Students. She has served on the board of the National Association for Gifted Children and currently serves on the Gifted Advisory Board for Washington, the 2e Center for Research and Professional Development for 2e students. She is president of Edufest, a summer teaching and learning institute in gifted education ( She also provides professional development in the areas of identification, program services and advanced curriculum design.


Associate Professor Emerita Margo Long served as an associate professor of education and supervisor of secondary-level education students for the School of Education at Whitworth University until her retirement. She founded and directed the Center for Gifted Education & Professional Development. Margo's specialty areas are issues of gifted education and principles of instruction. She also emphasizes teaching creative problem solving, enhancing communication and recognizing learning preferences to guide instructional decisions. As an educational consultant and training instructor in the Pacific Northwest, Margo's repertoire includes keynote addresses to school districts, education groups and gifted education organizations, as well as workshops and training sessions for the teaching and health professions and the business sector. Some of her recent classes and presentations include Teaching the Underachiever, Strategies for Teaching Bright Children in the Regular Classroom, dealing productively with changes and choices, pathways to excellence, time/stress management, and coping with the future.


Known simply as Ms. Math to children across the country, Rachel McAnallen, Ph.D., has devoted her life to sharing the joy and beauty of mathematics with learners of all ages. A professional educator for more than 60 years, she travels the globe teaching her subject at every grade level. In addition to her experience in the classroom, Rachel has served as a department chair, a school board member and a high school administrator. She claims the latter position is responsible for the majority of her grey hairs. She has a passion for teaching, reading fictional mystery novels, and mathematical modular origami, though not always in that order. Recently Rachel has co-authored, with Carol Williams, children's math books and teaching manuals that accompany the books. A life-long learner, Rachel approaches the world around her with a boundless curiosity and a playful sense of humor that is reflected in her teaching style. She believes that mathematics is a language to be spoken, a music to be heard, an art to be seen and a dance to be performed.


Karen L. Westberg, Ph.D. is a professor emerita from The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota where she taught coursework in gifted education and educational research. Before joining the faculty there, she spent ten years as a faculty member at the University of Connecticut where she was a faculty member and principal investigator at the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT). She began her career as a classroom teacher and gifted education specialist in Minnesota. She served on the executive committee and board of directors of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and is a member of the Gifted Child Quarterly Editorial Board. Currently, she is principal investigator for the Javits Project Collaborative Planning: Utilizing a Technical Assistance Collaborative to Upscale the Identification Process and Programming for Gifted At Risk Learners, which has five program goals. (1) To collaborate in the development, implementation and field testing of a valid identification protocol for finding ‘at risk' (AR) learners who are either twice exceptional, culturally diverse and/or economically disadvantaged; (2) to collaborate in scaling up appropriate differentiation in all academic core areas for both AR and regular GT learners; (3) to collaborate in the development, implementation and evaluation of professional development for cluster teachers, advanced class teachers (middle school and high school) and school principals; (4) to collaborate in providing parent and community support to AR and GT families; and (5) to design, implement and evaluate a scaled up model of consultation and collaboration.

Marcia B. Imbeau is a professor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where she teaches graduate courses in gifted education and elementary education. She is actively involved with university/public school partnerships and teaches in a local elementary school as a university liaison. The new common core state standards are an embedded feature of her work in differentiation, curriculum development and classroom management. She has been recognized for her teaching and was awarded the College of Education and Health Professions Outstanding Teaching Award in 2000 and 2003. Her professional experience includes serving as a field researcher for the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, elementary teaching in the regular classroom, teaching in programs for the gifted, and coordinating university-based and Saturday programs for advanced learners. Marcia has been a board member for the National Association for Gifted Children and has served as a governor at-large for the Council for Exceptional Children—The Association for the Gifted Division. She is a past president of Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education, a state organization that supports appropriate instructional services for all students. Among her publications are Managing a Differentiated Classroom: K–8; The Parallel Curriculum Model; a chapter on "Designing a Professional Development Program" in Designing Services and Programs for High-Ability Learners: A Guidebook for Gifted Education; and How to Use Differentiated Instruction with Students with Disabilities in the General Education Classroom. Marcia is a member of the ASCD Differentiated Instruction Cadre, which provides support and training to schools interested in improving their efforts to meet the academically diverse learning needs of their students. She has also been a regular presenter at ASCD conferences and institutes.

Mike Cantlon 

Mike Cantlon has dedicated his career to improving the learning environment of gifted and talented students and to helping people better understand the unique needs of highly capable children. He developed and implemented programs for gifted students in Kennewick and Spokane school districts. He created a college campus residential summer camp for gifted students grades 6-12 called Satori, hosted at Eastern Washington University. In Spokane Public Schools, Mike was instrumental in the identification of highly capable students, he taught in the Tessera Program, and was also the chair of a gifted education task force resulting in the Odyssey Program. He has been an adjunct instructor at Eastern Washington University and works collaboratively with the Center for Gifted Education at Whitworth University. He has presented at many institutes and symposiums for local colleges and school districts, as well as internationally, helping educators develop and better understand the importance of higher level questioning strategies when teaching gifted students.

Nicholas Castilleja 

Through his experience teaching multiple levels, subjects and populations, Nick Castilleja has become a strong advocate for elevating instructional best practices to give students the dynamic education they deserve. Now in his 10th year of teaching, Nick is challenged and inspired by the intellectual/social/emotional needs of 22 bilingual, highly capable 6th grade students in Pasco, Wash. His passion for teaching gifted students has fueled his educational growth, and Nick has come to specialize in project-based learning, tailoring engaging learning environments, differentiating instruction and curriculum writing for gifted students. Approaching the close of his master's in gifted education, Nick plans to continue sharing his passion for gifted education through professional development and consulting.


Teddy Benson is a reading specialist in Spokane. Though he spends his time working with struggling readers, he holds a master’s degree in gifted education from Whitworth University and has a passion for supporting highly capable students gain equitable access to services. Teddy is also an adjunct faculty member at Whitworth University.