Follow Us

Log in

Chicago Gifted Community Center

Creating connections - Creating community

In Chicago and the suburbs            

Log in


Welcome to our blog.   Please note that this page is open to the public, so any comments made by members will be visible to the general public also.  At this time, only members can make comments to the posts. 

  • January 25, 2021 9:35 AM | Katherine Peterson (Administrator)

    The secret to mindfulness is making it your own.  While breath work, meditation or other ideas may not resonate for you there are a plethora of other ways to bring more spaciousness into gifted parenting.  This little piece is a short and sweet approach to the power of mindfulness.  During this time of epic challenge when nearly everything touching our lives is complicated by worry and change we can incorporate mindfulness to bring more beauty and purpose into our family lives.  Living mindfully also models the behavior that our children mirror, and allows us all to feel the full circle benefit of our best parenting selves. 

    As parents we find ourselves overwhelmed by the demands and the intensity of raising gifted children.  Integrating self care into that picture can be a challenge while tending young people who are intellectually energetic, asynchronous, perennially inquisitive, and perfectionistic.  Meeting the needs of gifted children takes time.  It may feel like we’re always “on.”  Our bodies and minds can feel the strain and demand even when we don’t consciously allow ourselves to connect with that fact.  Always being “on” creates disequilibrium, with effects that slow us down and create imbalance in our bodies and minds.

    Many of us parent to give our children the benefit of our knowledge and life experience, though we often overlook our own self care.  In short, this doesn’t help anyone, least of all ourselves.   We know this, yet we may still find ourselves in a spiral of disfunction.  Resentment can creep in when we’re overwhelmed with the demands and intensity of guiding gifted children.  Resentment was often the sign that my life was out of balance when my children were young.  It is helpful to remember that equilibrium is not a permanent condition, and the first step to achieving balance is to acknowledge that we’ve gone awry.  LESS is an acronym for light, easy, soft, and slow.  When we have things to do and problems to solve how can less be helpful?  As counterintuitive as it sounds LESS is really the answer to finding our sweet spot again. Let me elaborate.

    When we discover that chaos has infiltrated our lives we may respond feeling panicky, stressed and blame ourselves.  Consider taking the opposite approach.   Consider being easy with yourself taking a kinder more understanding approach—think light.  No one likes or plans on being overwrought.  Hold that uncomfortable moment in a container of lightness by inviting self compassion and forgiveness.  Lightening our lives with tenderness creates space, clears the air and in time allows you to remember your best intentions.  An intentional moment of lightness lifts the burden of self blame, and reorganizes us to be present in kindness, and in greater service to our family.

    The path to ease can seem like a mirage when we’re surrounded by challenges and disorder.  Resisting the pressure of “too muchness” that feels like the theme of the day is a path to freedom.  Taking a moment, even just standing at the kitchen counter to close your eyes and exhale the perceived obligations can literally ease the tension out of our body.  Better yet, quietly sitting with eyes closed can offer great relief.  Vision takes the vast majority of our sensory energy, and taking a moment to remove yourself visually, will punctuate the day with peace.  Use the minds eye to observe the subtle qualities of your breath, and take in this moment, allowing your body to relax into breathing.  Suspend judgment and in time the breath will respond by flowing easily, evenly, and kindly.  Take as much time as you can to discover the sense of ease.  It is always there with the element of time that will bring it forth. 

    When we’ve realized a lighter more easeful approach it is a natural progression to renew our ability to be soft.  Yielding to what is may sound like an avoidant approach, but is really about being with what is in a more accepting, loving way.  The long list of things that require attention will not be shorter, but our approach can be made easier.  Finding ease in the demands of the day reminds us to prioritize and create an approach that encourages rather than disheartens.  A softer approach can really remind us of the power of what’s in our heart.  The heart yields naturally to softening (and it’s central to cardiovascular health!), and responds with warmth and intentional energy.  Feel the difference of softening throughout the day.

    The daily demands of gifted children are often conducted in hurry, and pressure.  We lose a great deal in the rush.  Of all the things that happen during demanding times, hurry may be the most challenging.  Hurry blunts our sensory input.   We tend to overlook the cues that tell us our energy is draining, overlook the suggestion that may help us be the parent we intend to be, feel disconnected from those we love, and become detached from the insight of our heart. Even when there’s much to do, and emotions are elevated, slowing down simplifies our lives, and reminds us of the power of our true presence.    Slowing down reminds us of our purpose as a parent, the commitment to model loving behavior, and to feel a more caring path toward our daily work.  Notice when you take a moment to breath you’ll naturally slow down, and the body, mind and senses are once more in sync with our purpose.  Slowing down, even when you don’t have to, is a heart warming, welcoming break from daily demands.

    Want to breath more sighs of relief?  Join co-host Violeta Balan and I on Zoom Thursday, January 28 and Thursday, February 11 with guest speaker Michele Kane, Ed.D., to enjoy in depth conversation, guided imagery and discussion about our current read for gifted parents and mindfulness for all of us.  Details on the CGCC calendar.

    Katherine Peterson

    CGCC Board Member

    Human Potential Coach

  • January 07, 2021 2:06 PM | Newenka DuMont (Administrator)

    Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA) announces Virtual PROMISE, a program to address the unique challenges of culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse students pursuing STEM fields at low or no cost! This program is for 7th and 8th graders, weeks weekly on Saturday mornings starting February 20th, and provides students with the opportunity to work with IMSA faculty, staff, and student mentors while exploring IMSA’s unique learning laboratory. Admission is competitive. Apply before January 15, 2021.

  • January 06, 2021 10:08 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    Information from Argonne . . .

    Argonne’s ​IGED ​gives ​young ​female ​students ​a ​unique ​opportunity ​to ​discover ​engineering ​careers ​alongside ​world-class ​scientists ​and ​engineers. ​Participants ​will ​enjoy ​motivational ​presentations ​by ​female ​Argonne employees, ​tour ​Argonne’s ​cutting-edge ​research ​facilities, ​connect ​with ​a ​mentor, ​engage ​in ​hands-on ​engineering ​experiments, ​and ​compete ​in ​a ​team ​challenge – all designed specifically for 8th grade girls.

    While we continue to maintain everyone's safety and wellness, we will be moving the 2021 IGED to a virtual experience. Students will still be paired with mentors. Throughout the day, the students will be encouraged to participate in large and small group activities that provide them opportunities to learn about a number of STEAM careers.

    While we continue to maintain everyone's safety and wellness, we will be moving the 2021 IGED to a virtual experience. Students will still be paired with mentors. Throughout the day, the students will be encouraged to participate in large and small group activities that provide them opportunities to learn about several STEAM careers.

    Interested students need to register online by January 15, 2021. A lottery process will be used to identify the selected students. All applicants will be notified via email by January 20, 2021.

    For questions or more information about IGED email

    Takes place: February 18, 2021

    Register by: January 15, 2021 11:59 PM

    Click here for complete details and registration.

  • December 10, 2020 7:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We have an update that may be of interest to our members who reside or plan to reside within the city boundaries. 

    If your child is enrolled in a Chicago Public School (CPS) and he/she is in 3rd to 6th grade, we would like you to be aware that CPS has just opened the application process for your child to be accelerated, if qualifying criteria are met. Subject acceleration can occur in Reading, Math or both subjects or you can apply for a whole-grade skip. The first hurdle to pass is for your child to have the last two NWEA scores higher than 95 percent. Due to the pandemic onset in March, a lot of the children got only one NWEA test underway in the previous school year, so the requirement of two tests will mean that scores from the previous two years become relevant for the threshold to be passed. The second requirement is related to the grades your child has in the previous school years. If these two criteria are met, you can apply but the process won’t end there. The school will assess the student on the Iowa Acceleration Scale and if a passing score occurs, then the student will be scheduled for an academic, ability, aptitude and achievement test, in person at the Illinois Institute of Technology, likely at the end of spring 2021. Finally, the principal of the school has ultimately the discretion to accept or not the acceleration recommendation and the acceleration is not automatically transferable if you switch schools. There are application fees of $250 for the whole grade skip and $35 for the subject acceleration, but they can be waived under certain circumstances. The window for application closes on March 1, therefore if you intend to apply, investigate if your child meets the requirements and do it sooner rather than later. The requirements are high and the process is lengthy, but if your child already works above grade level and has qualifying scores, it may be worth it to apply and try to get more academic challenge in the school environment. For more information or if you have questions, visit, call the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060, or email the Policy Program Manager, Ali Fendrick, at

    Lastly, please note that the application period for the Selective Enrollment Schools (e.g, Regional Gifted Centers or Classical Schools) has been recently extended until January 8, 2021. Unlike previous years, when one applied, an option for exam dates was not yet given. If you intend to apply to SES, please be aware that there are two types of schools with advanced curriculum and the exams for each of them are different in content. Considering the current pandemic, you may want to investigate and reflect on which kind of school your child has a better chance of getting high scores and minimize the risks of exposure or test anxiety. There will likely be different protocols for test taking than what your children may be accustomed from previous years. 

    Good luck to all the members who are considering any of these options within CPS!

  • November 05, 2020 2:35 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    Do you have a child in your life with unbridled potential and a keen love for learning? Have their past experiences with school not given them the resources and attention to help them flourish? A small school could be the answer. By providing more one on one interactions and community building in the classroom, students build important relationships and grow. New Eisner Scholar Sierra talks about her experience with a small school, "Roycemore has provided many new opportunities for me especially because of the smaller class sizes. I know this is said very often in favor of this school, but the teachers know you as an individual. It helps them understand you as a person and what you need, and your teachers can choose different focuses of the curriculum to better suit the class." Roycemore values creating opportunities for every student to reach their full potential and have access to the education they deserve. Helping to make this possible are financial aid options for both current and applying students.

    One of the school's most comprehensive financial aid opportunities is the Robert Eisner Distinguished Scholar Program, a full tuition merit scholarship program which can be renewed for all subsequent years of a student's time at Roycemore. Each year, at least one Eisner Scholar is awarded to a rising 9th or 10th grade student based on a number of factors. The selection committee looks at academic achievement, social justice and civic engagement work, and leadership abilities to find students who will enrich the school environment. Scholarships are renewed each subsequent year, so long as the student maintains a 3.0 grade point average and contributes positively to the school.

    Eisner scholars can truly be any student, as Director of Admissions Amanda Avery tells us: "An Eisner scholar isn't always the loudest, most outgoing student in the room. Oftentimes, Eisner Scholars have unique passions that they demonstrate to us that make them standout students. And no matter what, we see kind, determined, and intelligent students receive the scholarship every year."

    If you are interested in applying for the Eisner Scholar Program at Roycemore, please feel free to reach out with any questions. The Application Deadline will close on Monday, November 16th.

    Find out more at Contact Director of Admissions, Amanda Avery, at for questions.

  • October 31, 2020 8:08 PM | Pamela Shaw (Administrator)

    Illinois State Board of Education Budget Hearing

    The Illinois Association for Gifted Children submitted testimony in October to the Illinois State Board of Education requesting funding for gifted education in the amount of $27 million. CGCC and IAGC board member and IAGC Policy and Advocacy Committee Co-Chair, Pamela Shaw, spoke on behalf of the IAGC at the October 14, 2020 ISBE virtual budget hearing. The state of Illinois has had no funding for gifted education since 2003, leaving too many students, especially those who are Black, Latinx, and economically disadvantaged without opportunities to develop their talents. The requested amount is based on the budget for gifted education in 2003, adjusted for inflation. 

    IAGC has also requested the creation of a full-time dedicated position at ISBE to oversee gifted education. Duties would include ensuring compliance with the Accelerated Placement Act and Report Card Act and related data-reporting requirements and providing support to schools and families regarding acceleration, gifted services, and teacher training. This professional would also facilitate meetings of the Advisory Council on the Education of Gifted and Talented Children and assist their collaboration with the State Advisory Council on the Education of Children with Disabilities to support evidence-based practices to meet the needs of twice-exceptional children, which would finally fulfill the intent of the twice-exceptional section of the school code enacted in 2010.

    Office of Civil Rights Data

    On October 15, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights released data collected for the 2017-2018 school year. According to Dr. Scott J. Peters of the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, the data shows that out of 4,145 Illinois schools, only 787 report having students in gifted/talented programs, which represents a meager 19% of all schools. Clearly there is much work to be done in our state to ensure equal access for our high-potential learners.

    If you would like to view the data for your local school, visit the Civil Rights Data Collection website. School-level data can be found under “School and District Search.” Enter school information under Basic Search to select a school to review. Gifted/talented enrollment can be found in the data listed under “Pathways to College and Career Readiness.”

    Upcoming Meeting

    All IAGC members and others interested in furthering the needs of gifted education in Illinois are encouraged to attend the Policy and Advocacy Committee's next online meeting on November 7 from 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM. Please register so we can anticipate your attendance and send a link to participants a few days before the Committee Meeting.

  • October 26, 2020 5:16 PM | Newenka DuMont (Administrator)

    Finding books for a young gifted child is often a problem parents are faced with and one which the Illinois Association for Gifted Children has attacked head on with this month's Question of the Month:  What tricks or treats would help me support my child who is an advanced reader?

    The IAGC is the only organization fighting for gifted kids in Illinois' public schools. Consider supporting them

  • September 27, 2020 4:34 PM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    This popular fall event will take place throughout the month of October this year. 

    Celebrate STEM all October long with STEM Fest 2020 – delivered online with a mix of in-person events at NIU Naperville, NIU Hoffman Estates and NIU Rockford, and a live virtual celebration on Halloween. There will be something for everyone, kids through adults, experts and educators, to STEMulate curiosity and help you find your spark!

    The events include:

    STEM Fest 2020 ends with a live virtual celebration on October 31, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., hosted in partnership with NIU’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

    This final event takes place in an assortment of online rooms, which you can visit throughout the day for live interactive talks and demonstrations.

    Chat with presenters and experts about fun STEAM topics.

    Explore virtual exhibits created by NIU STEM departments, student groups and our STEM community partners.

    Participate in STEM challenges.

    See the NIU STEMFest web site for the complete schedule of events.
  • September 22, 2020 10:45 AM | Linda Zanieski (Administrator)

    The Poetry Foundation building is closed, but they have a wide variety of online programming. See their web site for complete details on their Teen Poetry Lab.

    All are invited to a weekly exploration of poetry, and what it can do and be in the world. Participants will read and discuss a wide range of contemporary poems, including works of textual art and performance.

    Grades 6–8 Session
    Mondays, September 28, October 5, October 12, October 19
    5:00 PM–6:00 PM CDT

    Grades 9–12 Session
    Thursdays, September 24, October 1, October 8, October 15
    5:00 PM–6:00 PM CDT

    Sessions are free, but space is limited. Reservations required.

  • September 18, 2020 12:10 PM | Pamela Shaw (Administrator)

    The following guest blog post is from CGCC professional member, Dr. Michelle Navarro, M.A., Psy.D. of the Long Grove Center...

    Finding Your Passion In A Pandemic

    I often remind myself that obstacles in life are gifts of opportunity for learning and developing and enhancing one’s skill. No other time in my life has this been more crucial. As a psychologist during a pandemic, the “collective trauma” we all have experienced and continue to experience is nothing I have ever been trained for or seen in my over 27 years of practice. Yet, the creativity, kindness, and resilience I have seen in people has sparked a renewed sense of why I do what I do.

    This passion or love that I have for my work is something I am often asked how to find. Parents fear their child does not know what they want to do at 20 years of age or their young child does not have a hobby or interest in any one thing. But passion is not always static; for most of us it is changing over time. Passion is sparked off of life experience, some good, some traumatic, and exposure and boredom. Boredom? Yes, boredom. Something many of us have been missing until recently. True downtime with no structured activity allows the brain to try to fill the time with imagination, original ideas and building new pathways to solve our current dilemma of lack of connectivity and loss of control. 

    Be kind to yourself, allow for openness and flexibility, and always be willing to try and fail. Sometimes a passion is just the process of being curious about life.

    Remember that feeling safe to try and fail is an indispensable gift for children and adults and is the pathway to self-confidence and leadership. Allow struggle, risk, failure, and self-adjustment and you will also welcome accomplishment and growth.

    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain."


About cgcc

The Chicago Gifted Community Center (CGCC) is a member-driven 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by parents to support the intellectual and emotional growth of gifted children and their families. 

Become a member

We  are an all volunteer-based organization that relies on annual memberships from parents, professionals, and supporters to provide organizers with web site operations, a registration system, event insurance, background checks, etc. 

Contact us

© Chicago Gifted Community Center

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software