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World Renowned Educator for Gifted Children Visits Yavneh

On Tuesday, July 21, after months of planning, Yavneh Academy welcomed Dr. Jim Delisle for a full day of teacher and administrative training, followed by a parent workshop in the evening. Yavneh connected with Dr. Delisle through a parent who had attended one of his seminars and was awed by his work.

Dr. Delisle recently retired from Kent State University, where he served as director of undergraduate and graduate programs in gifted education for 25 years. He is the author of more than 250 articles and 19 books, and his work has been published in multiple languages worldwide. Dr. Delisle is the guru in the field of gifted education. The Yavneh teachers and administrators spent a day learning from his expertise and vast knowledge as well as his hands-on practical applications.

Teachers who teach gifted students in small groups attended a special training session entitled “How to Best Stretch and Challenge Our Most Advanced Students in a Way That Leaves Them Wanting More.” Dr. Delisle guided the teachers in an Inventory of Excellence, acknowledging the significant work that is already done at Yavneh and thinking how to push that even further. One of Dr. Delisle’s favorite ideas is that “you do not have to be sick to get better.” Teachers learned what teachers across the globe—as far as Finland—are doing to prepare the leaders of tomorrow. Rumblings of “Wow, I want to do that with my students” were heard throughout the session.

Classroom teachers were invited to attend a later session entitled, “Not Another Workshop on Differentiation (be prepared to learn hands on strategies to take all your students to a higher level  by meeting individual needs and levels within the classroom).” With an incredible teacher turnout, the Yavneh teachers delved deeply into thinking about ways to broaden students’ knowledge and challenge them to take a role in their own education—utilizing additional choice in topics learned, expanded methodology used to learn those topics and reconsidering ways for students to demonstrate knowledge, all of which take into account students’ interests and passions. Administrative sessions were also included for administrators to rethink how to continue to best serve some of the most exceptional students.

The day ended with an evening parenting seminar “Parenting a Child Who is Gifted; Tips for Raising a Healthy, Happy and Successful Learner.” The seminar was graciously hosted at the home of Yavneh parents Mr. Keith and Dr. Sara Zakheim. With over 30 parents present, Dr. Delisle shared some of the challenges and misconceptions associated with giftedness as well as tools for parents to use with their children. One parent commented, “The seminar was incredibly validating in terms of some of the challenges we face with our son.  It also gave us ways to rethink some of the areas that are more difficult for him.”

The high energy and enthusiasm on a summer day and evening in July reflect a joint commitment to continue to help facilitate the growth of all students.

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