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Saturday, April 25, 2020 from 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM PDT
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Educational Service District 105 Support Site 
33 South 2nd Ave
Ahtanum Conference Room
Yakima, WA 98902

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Sheryl Harshberger 
Northwest Gifted Child Association 

Central Washington Hi-Cap Conference Yakima (April 2020) 

Northwest Gifted Child Association is proud to host a mini conference for families and educators of gifted children in Central Washington on the afternoon of April 25 in Yakima. Presentation topics will help families learn more about the unique traits of gifted children, how to be an effective advocate for your gifted child, and how to nurture our gifted children both in and out of the classroom. Presenters include Austina De Bonte, Marcia Holland and Amanda Gustafson, local experts in the field of gifted education.

Light refreshments provided. WA State Clock Hours provided for educators.

Please join us for this exciting event!

12:30 p.m. Welcome
12:45-2:45 p.m. Session 1: What Parents and Educators Need to Know About Smart Kids
2:45-3:00 p.m. Break
3:00-4:30 p.m. Session 2: How to be a Powerful Advocate for Your Gifted Student
4:30-4:45 p.m. Break
4:45-5:30 p.m. Session 3: Help! How do I find age-appropriate books for my gifted reader?  


What Parents and Educations Need to Know About Smart Kids
Presented by Austina De Bonte

Many people are surprised to learn that their bright child’s unique “quirks” are actually well-studied social & emotional behavior patterns in high IQ kids. Whether it’s refusing to wear shirts with buttons or tags, overreacting to the slightest criticism, gravitating towards adults and older children, forgetting to turn in their homework, trouble with handwriting, anxiety about trying something new, or preferring a book to a party, these and many other perplexing behaviors are common in the HiCap population. Learn the latest neuroscience and research about what’s normal, what to expect as they grow, and why genuine challenge is vitally important for kids’ social and emotional development, as well as developing their academic talents, from the preschool and elementary years through high school and beyond. Come hear the talk that has been presented to dozens of parent and educator communities across WA state. 

About Austina
Austina De Bonte is a consultant at Smart is not Easy, LLC ( Since 2012, Austina has also served as the President of the Northwest Gifted Child Association (, the Washington State support and advocacy non-profit for families with gifted children. A dynamic and engaging presenter, Austina speaks regularly at conferences, as well as conducts parent education talks and professional development workshops for educators about the unique social and emotional development of highly capable (HiCap) or "gifted" children. She also works with school district teams to develop and fine-tune their HiCap program models, especially concerning equitable identification strategies. Austina's signature style combines her experience as a parent and parent coach along with synthesized research, current district practices across Washington State and cutting-edge neuroscience. She has a Masters degree from MIT and did her graduate thesis in the MIT Media Lab's Epistemology and Learning Group, where Lego Mindstorms was invented. Austina is a certified SENG Model Parent Group facilitator.

How to be a Powerful Advocate for Your Gifted Student  Presented by Marcia Holland

Join this forum on being a powerful advocate for gifted for your child with the teacher, principal, your school, your district. Sharpen your advocacy skills. Share what you know. Learn from others. Collect resources.

About Marcia
Marcia Holland lives in Renton and has been involved in supporting excellence in education for children since her sons were students in the Renton School District in the 1970’s and 80’s. The Renton School District had an outstanding gifted program that served one son well and the other one, who was gifted and dysgraphic, not at all. Marcia served eight years as a school board member, where she honed her advocacy skills. Her late husband, Bruce Holland, was elected to the state legislature. He was ranking minority chair of the House education and finance committees for eleven years. In those combined roles, the Hollands continued to advocate for gifted education funding and support. Marcia has served on the board of Northwest Gifted Child Association on and off for 30 years. Her focus has always been educating others – parents, educators, administrators and legislators – about the unique learning needs of children who learn at markedly faster and deeper rates than their chronological peers. Having been an unserved gifted child herself, she remembers the sense of frustration, isolation and “marching in place” of her K-12 experience.

Help! How do I find age-appropriate books for my gifted reader?
Presented by Amanda Gustafson

Finding age-appropriate books is a common dilemma for many parents and educators of gifted readers.  In this session, we will explore practical and free tools for locating great books for gifted readers through online sources, and recommended book lists.

About Amanda
have a passion for working with, and advocating for, gifted and talented students.  After raising two gifted sons, and experiencing many of the bumps along the road that parents of the gifted face, I decided to go back to school and received a master’s degree and endorsement  in teaching gifted and talented from Whitworth University. I currently have the best job in the world, teaching the 5th grade gifted and talented magnet class in Richland School District.