CAG Awards 'Friend of the Gifted' To CT Education Commissioner Wentzell May 10, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        Contact:  Lisa Garner

May 2, 2016                                                             execdirector@ctgifted.org

203-992-1080

State Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell Named  2016 'Friend of the Gifted' by Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG)

(Westport, CT): 4/28/2016 – Connecticut State Education Commissioner Dr. Dianna R. Wentzell is the recipient of the Connecticut Association for the Gifted 2016 Friend of the Gifted award. CAG's annual Friend of the Gifted award is given to an educator, school administrator, parent, community member, or professional who has profoundly impacted the lives of gifted children in our state. Dr. Wentzell is receiving this award in recognition of her continued support of CAG's mission to support and advocate for Connecticut's gifted, talented, and high-potential children of diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. CAG officers will present Commissioner Wentzell with this year's award at their Annual Dinner at 6:00pm on May 10th at Gusto's Trattoria in Milford, CT.

An experienced educator and gifted education specialist, Dr. Wentzell has taken proactive interest in issues of gifted and talented programming in our state. Dr. Wentzell met with CAG representatives as an acting Commissioner, and then as Commissioner, expressing her commitment and support for gifted and talented students' programs in all school districts in Connecticut.  High ability children in underserved districts are some of the most neglected students in the state.  As does CAG, Dr. Wentzell believes that gifted pedagogy can often be implemented with minimal resources by shifting attention to certain best instructional practices shown to benefit all youngsters in the school, while concurrently meeting the needs of high ability students.

Last year, Dr. Wentzell lent her support to the CAG-sponsored legislative initiative which made its way through the Connecticut Legislature as Senate Bill 1055. Although the bill was not voted on in the last moments of the 2015 legislative session, the spirit of S.B. 1055 was nonetheless implemented in the summer of 2015 when Dr. Wentzell became the new Commissioner of Education.  She appointed Dr. Gil Andrada as the new state representative for Gifted and Talented education, and has asked that a study be conducted to inventory the state's current resources and programs devoted to gifted and talented.

Thanks to Dr. Wentzell's vision and support, CAG and State Department of Education leadership including Dr. Andrada, are working closely to ensure the 2016 gifted and talented state inventory study be executed, and that gifted provisions of the December 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) are properly implemented into the state law. Together we are hoping to ensure that no high-ability child in the state of Connecticut is left behind in receiving the appropriate level of educational support for their academic and social emotional needs, regardless of the zip code in which that student resides.

About the Connecticut Association for the Gifted (CAG)

The Connecticut Association for the Gifted, founded in 1969, is the pre-eminent parent, teacher, and school resource and legislative advocate for Connecticut's gifted and talented students.  CAG provides parents with information and resources to benefit their talented children, educators with high quality professional development, and Boards of Education with the tools to support talented students.  Our highly acclaimed Minds in Motion programs engage hundreds of Connecticut students in high interest, interactive courses which stimulate learning.  CAG meets with legislators to advocate for legislation to provide high ability students with challenging curriculum.  Visit  HYPERLINK "http://www.ctgifted.org" www.ctgifted.org, for more information.

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