Social and Emotional Development

Concurrent

A Tale of Two Es: Case Studies of Twice-Exceptional Students’ Growth in an All-Gifted School

Friday, November 10
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: 204

Twice-exceptional students often find themselves doubly uncomfortable in typical mixed-ability classrooms, where their disabilities may hide their gifts, or their gifts may hide their disabilities. At an American independent all-gifted primary school, 2e students can have both learning needs addressed simultaneously, resulting in significant positive changes to their learning, behavior, and self-concept. Through two case studies — a behavioral turnaround and an academic one — we will share what practical steps and programming choices allowed these highly-able 2e children to make remarkable progress in just one school year.

Melissa Bilash

Founder and Executive Director
The Grayson School

Melissa Bilash is a state-wide and nationally-recognized expert on education. As one of only 78 individuals in the nation to have completed the intensive Special Education Advocates Training (SEAT) program from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), she is seasoned in educational practice and policy. For over a decade, Advocacy & Consulting for Education (ACFE), her suburban Philadelphia practice, has served more than 600 students and their families by securing millions of dollars worth of desperately-needed educational services, tuition, accommodations, and settlement funds. Her advocacy work has received special Congressional recognition, and most recently, as a “thought leader in the field,” she was invited by the White House Office of Early Learning and the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education to participate in a strategy roundtable for planning the way forward in supporting educators and families of young children and the use of technology to support early learning.

Ms. Bilash works regularly with prestigious national organizations and institutions serving gifted children, including most recently co-authoring a chapter in its newest State Policy Guide, published in 2016. Additionally, she serves on the Legislative Committees of both the NAGC and Pennsylvania’s NAGC chapter, the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education (PAGE), which named her Parent of the Year for her work with gifted children. A much sought-after speaker, she has presented to a wide array of audiences, including the Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) annual conference, the Special Educational Advocacy annual conference, and events at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Villanova University, as well as at a variety of local parent support groups, education-related expos, and local schools, libraries, and gifted education association meetings.

Presentation(s):

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Jill Williford Wurman

Director of Research
The Grayson School

Jill Williford Wurman is Director of Research and Development at The Grayson School, Pennsylvania’s first and only independent school designed specifically for gifted learners, and for which she was part of the team for launch. Her role at Grayson requires her to be familiar with gifted education scholarship relevant to the Grayson community, including academic performance, parenting, pedagogy, social-emotional development, longitudinal outcomes, and best practices in gifted education. She has co-presented on giftedness at the World Council for Gifted & Talented Children’s biennial conference; at SENG’s national conference; at MIT’s SPARK and SPLASH programs; and also to the American Psychological Association’s national convention regarding summer programs for the gifted.

Ms. Wurman holds an M.A. in English Language & Literature from the University of Pennsylvania and an A.B. in English from Princeton University, whence she graduated Phi Beta Kappa; she has also studied literature at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England. She is a self-professed “research nerd” who jumps at any opportunity to sit in a classroom and learn. Ms. Wurman lives with her husband, two children, and a raft of orange pens at the ready for editing in Bryn Mawr, PA.

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Jill Williford Wurman


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