Wilson School teachers Attend Summer Seminar for Gifted and Talented

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This past July, 6 Members of The Wilson School faculty attended the 35th annual Confratute, Held on the UConn Campus.

Not only students attend Summer School and enjoy Summer Camp! Six teachers from The Wilson School, 4th grade teacher Peggy Paulson (3rd year), 2nd grade teacher Geri Downey (2nd year) , Laura Roberts (Kindergarten) 2ne year, and first timers Barbara Katz (1st grade teacher), Cathy Varga (Technology Director and Computer teacher), as well as Carolyn Borlo (Head of School and Spanish/French teacher) ,attended a week-long professional conference for teachers of Gifted and Talented Students held at the University of Connecticut, and returned with enthusiasm, ideas and profound understanding of how to develop their students’ talents, creativity and academic skills in new and exciting ways.
The word confratute is a combination of the words conference, fraternity and institute. The fusion of these words holds a lot of power as confratute is much more than just a seminar. It is by all accounts a conference in which there are meetings, keynote speakers, etc. Equally as important, however, is the fraternity in which teachers from all over the country and all over the world get together to share ideas and exchange anecdotes of their times in the classrooms and students that they have had. Lastly, the title incorporates the word institute. The educators who attend confratute don’t just sit and listen. They themselves become the students and learn new skills and ideas through hands-on learning; they learn as their students will learn, by doing.
    Confratute was started in 1978 and for the past 35 years, Storrs, Connecticut has attracted more than 20,000 educators worldwide for a highly acclaimed, enrichment-based program sponsored by the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. The weeklong program is geared toward providing educators with research-based practical strategies for engagement and enrichment learning for all students, as well as meeting the needs of gifted and talented students.
Attended by over 600 educators from across the US and 15 countries around the world, this year’s Confratute was a blending of educators interested in gifted education, differentiation of instruction and curriculum, and creativity and innovation in education. Some of the sessions included Math for Those Who Think They Can’t Do Math; Storytelling, Mime and Movement; CSI: Forensic Science in the Classroom; Books That Inspire and Guide and numerous other topics.
This year, for the first time, Confratute hosted the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) Leaders Forum, an intensive week for principals who are interested in school change using a philosophy of Enrichment Learning and Teaching. While Confratute has always offered workshops for administrators, the SEM Leaders Forum was a conference-within-a-conference, designed specifically for school leaders.
Confratute, founded in July of 1978 by Neag School of Education professor, Joseph Renzulli, is the longest-running summer institute of its kind in gifted education. Through exposure to differentiation, talent development and enriching learning experiences, the community of adult learners is able to share similar interests, as well as foster professional growth.
“A unique part of the Confratute concept is that it is more than a summer course, more than formal instruction, for it is a careful blend of a conference and an institute with a good deal of fraternity in the middle,” said institute director, Dr. Sally M. Reis.
“Confratute is total immersion and involvement in enrichment, teaching and learning,” she said. “It is the excitement of new ideas, the satisfaction of hard work, the joy of creating and producing and the happiness that comes from making new friends, having fun and learning a little bit more about themselves.”
The informal learning environment provided in over 50 hands-on class strands fuels interaction between passionate participants, keynoters and faculty members alike.
Dr. Reis attributes much of the program’s success to the enthusiastic and dedicated participants who collectively have brought thousands of years of diverse experience in education. It is the acknowledgement and celebration of differences that make Confratute so memorable and special.
For more information on the program, visit http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/confratute/.
Founded in 1909, The Wilson School is an independent Pre-K through 8th grade school located in Mountain Lakes, NJ that serves students from Mountain Lakes, Boonton, Boonton Township and surrounding areas including Denville, Parsippany, Rockaway and Montville. The school has held to its core principles for 100 years and developed one of the most technologically advanced academic programs in Morris County. For more information about The Wilson School, visit http://www.thewilsonschool.com or contact Chris Vakulchik, Director of Admissions at 973-334-0181 or CVakulchik(at)thewilsonschool(dot)com.

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Chris Vakulchik
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