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Center for Gifted Ed holds institute, hosts Middle Eastern groups

  • Center for Gifted Education
    Center for Gifted Education  A group of people from the Middle East pose with Center for Gifted Education Director Tracy Cross (third from right) and School of Education Dean Virginia McLughlin (third from left) during the group's visit to William & Mary.  Courtesy photo
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William & Mary's Center for Gifted Education stayed busy this summer with multiple professional development events, including its annual Advanced Placement (AP) Institute in August and a special program for two Middle Eastern groups in July.

The AP Institute, which was co-sponsored by the College Board Southern Regional Office and the School of Education at the College of William and Mary, aimed to provide current and future AP teachers with the opportunity to plan and implement more effective AP programs in their schools. College Board-approved consultants as well as William & Mary faculty led the week-long institute focusing on course content, teaching strategies, and the content, structure, and grading of AP exams.  In addition, new AP teachers were able to attend workshops focused on specific AP courses such as biology, English literature and composition, psychology, and Spanish language.

The event was described by one attendee as an "excellent opportunity to learn better strategies for being more effective in teaching AP coursework."

"Bringing together an outstanding veteran faculty, expert in teaching advance placement courses, with a group of very dedicated teachers of AP is a joy to behold," said Tracy L. Cross, director of the Center for Gifted Education. "So much learning takes place that we at the Center for Gifted Education are quite proud to sponsor the program. One short, but very intensive week of training yields the potential to vastly improve the lives of thousands of gifted and high ability students who will take AP courses in the future."

A few weeks before the institute, the Center welcomed the two Middle Eastern groups – one consisting of young educators, counselors, and administrators from King Faisal University and the other of senior administrators and faculty from the company Asaleeb – for a customized professional development program. During their stay, members of both groups worked closely with center's staff to gain a better understanding of the processes of curriculum development and program planning for gifted and talented students.

The groups visited a number of area Governor's schools to observe different service models for gifted and talented students. On weekends and in the evenings, both groups were also treated to a variety of experiences including a tour of Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and historic Yorktown as well as other local entertainment and cultural excursions.

Attendees commented that the experience provided them with "a good impression of the American people."

"[They] are friendly, always smiling, and very welcoming," said one attendee.

The professional development program was described by attendees as "an enrichment of previous knowledge" and "a wonderful chance to observe the practical application of a gifted program in a classroom setting."

When asked to comment on the success of the endeavor, Cross said, "Having these young educators, counselors, and administrators work with us for three weeks has been mutually beneficial and an absolute delightful experience. Long-term relationships have been started that will go far in benefitting gifted students.  The formal training provided by the Center for Gifted Education went well."

For more information about conferences, events, and programs being held by the CFGE, visit