SSTP 2018 is in the Books!

Thursday, July 26th saw the close of the 2018 Secondary Student Training Program at the University of Iowa.

To celebrate a summer of exceptional research, participating students concluded their work by presenting their research in a final poster competition. Represented among the presentations was research from the College of Engineering, the Carver College of Medicine, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, to name just a few. Congratulations to all students who presented!

A special congratulations goes out to this year’s valedictory class speaker, Iowa’s own Riley Dejohn, who spent his summer researching physical chemistry in Dr. Alexei Tivanski’s group at the University. Also featured was special guest speaker Dr. Hanna Stevens, professor of psychology and veteran SSTP mentor, who shared her insights gleaned over years of pedagogy during the final banquet dinner.

Thank you to our guest judges from Integrated DNA Technologies, without whom the final poster competition would not have been possible, and to the 2018 SSTP mentors at the University, for all of the guidance and leadership they gave to each student. We know that you have made a huge difference in the lives and careers of these future researchers!

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Message From the Director: How Did We Get From 1988-2018? Phase IV (2003-2008)

Phase IV of this retrospective collection of director’s messages began a mere 15 years ago – halfway into the 30 years we are commemorating – yet the closer we get to “now” the more nostalgic I feel.  This is especially true as I reflect upon this five-year period.

The Belin-Blank Center has always been a part of the College of Education, but our home is in a building named in honor of Myron and Jacqueline Blank, who provided the lead gift for the building.  We had a wonderful ribbon-cutting ceremony in the fall of 2003 and moved into the Blank Honors Center on one of the coldest days in January of 2004.

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It was joy to have Myron Blank participate in this important milestone. Indeed, we honor our founding families each day through our programs and service for young students and their educators.

What an eventful year 2004 was!  In addition to the move into a brand new building, we published the watershed report, A Nation Deceived:  How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students, which Time magazine launched with a major story about academic acceleration as the most effective but least used academic intervention.

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The momentum from 2004 resulted in the next several years being similarly active.  However, one of those years, 2005, was also a year of significant loss.  Myron Blank passed away in early 2005.  He and Jacqueline left an indelible imprint on gifted  education through their generosity and vision.

A few months later, Julian Stanley, founder of the Talent Search Model, passed away.  At the 2018 Wallace Research Symposium, we honored Professor Stanley’s legacy.  You can learn more about Dr. Stanley’s seven-decade career and the impact on the center and around the world by watching the video created for the occasion.

The Phase IV years, 2003-2008, flew by with special events for students and teachers.

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By 2008, we were well on our way to Phases V and VI.

Rural Iowa STEM Teachers Learn from a Legend in Gifted Education

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We were honored to have Dr. Joyce VanTassel-Baska join our professional development event for our new Javits-funded project, Educators Nurturing Talent Identification and Career Exploration (ENTICE). The project seeks to help educators identify and serve underrepresented and under-resourced talented students. Dr. VanTassel-Baska also did a crossover presentation about the Integrated Curriculum Model with both STEM Excellence (a separate but related program) and ENTICE educators.  In addition to being a valuable resource for these educators, she is one of two evaluators for the grant.  Originally, the Javits-funded program was called TICE, but the participating educators made the addition of “EN” during the event!

The 2018 STEM Excellence teacher professional development event overlapped with ENTICE’s schedule.  This was the fourth year of this successful event. Over thirty teachers and administrators were in attendance. Attendees participated in a variety of workshops on topics ranging from student career development, identification of and interventions for twice-exceptional learners, reinforcing math concepts using computer science, and argument-based strategies for STEM-infused science teaching. Teachers, facilitators, and the STEM Excellence researchers spent time engaging in in-depth conversations about the STEM Excellence programs at their schools. They shared ideas and lesson plans for innovative STEM practices that their middle school students have engaged in, and they planned for future lessons that would best prepare their students to take challenging and advanced STEM course work in high school and beyond.

Thank you to all of these educators for their work in bringing new opportunities to high-ability Iowa students!

Graduate Classes Your Way!

Learn about gifted education when and where it’s convenient for you!  ALL coursework below applies to the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement and provides the possibility of moving up the salary scale in your district.

  • Cost of courses starts at $312 (undergraduate credit)
  • Register for one or more classes. Online 2018 courses include:
    • EDTL:4073:0WKA Facilitating Student Research Projects
    • EDTL:4096:0WKC Competitions for Gifted/Talented (all grades)
    • EDTL:4024:0WKA Differentiating with Technology
    • EDTL:4074:0WKA Differentiating / Secondary Level
    • RCE:4124:0WKA  Ethnic/Cultural Issues and Gifted
    • EDTL:4085:0WKA Current Readings / Research in Gifted Ed
  • All are one-semester-hour credits

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Ready to Get Started?

  • More details at belinblank.org/educators.
  • New students should follow the link to Register for the directions to apply as a continuing education student (no fee to apply).
  • You need a computer and a reliable internet connection. Many courses provide all necessary course materials. For others, you will need to purchase one or two books.
  • No travel requirement. All online courses can be completed at home.
  • Questions? Laurie Croft, Associate Director: Professional Development: Laurie-Croft@uiowa.edu

 

More Professional Development Opportunities

Courses in Gifted Education: Chautauqua (July 9 – 21, 2018)

Chau·tau·qua [SHəˈtôkwə] popular adult education courses

*All are one-semester-hour credits; completion of courses often includes online discussion and/or submission of final projects via ICON

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Ready to Get Started?

  • More details at: belinblank.org/chautauqua
  • New students should follow the link to Register for the directions to apply as a continuing education student (no fee to apply)
  • Classes begin at 9:00 am, ending at 4:00 pm
  • Take 3 classes in one week and receive a full scholarship for 1 class (take 6 over both weeks and receive a full scholarship for 2 classes)
  • Questions? Laurie Croft, Clinical Professor of Gifted Education,  Associate Director for Professional Development (laurie-croft@uiowa.edu)

Summer Social Skills Group for High School Students

The Belin-Blank Center Assessment and Counseling Clinic is offering a social skills group for high ability students who are entering 9th – 12th grade who demonstrate strong intellectual or academic abilities and social skills challenges (possibly due to ASD, anxiety, ADHD, etc.). The goal of the group is to facilitate development of improved social skills and peer relationships through natural social interaction and video modeling techniques.

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There will be 6 group sessions, each 50 minutes in length, conducted on the 5th floor of Blank Honors Center. The group will meet weekly on Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. beginning on Tuesday, July 10, and running through Tuesday, August 14.  The fee is $45 per session, and we do accept BC/BS insurance. We will accept up to 6 students for our summer session.

If you have any questions or would like for your child to participate in this group, please contact alissa-doobay@uiowa.edu.

The Power of One: Lessons Learned from a Mentor

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The Belin-Blank Center is proud to organize the Wallace Research Symposium on Talent Development every two to four years.  This year’s April symposium was in Baltimore and co-hosted by the University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, and Vanderbilt University Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth.  It was truly remarkable to gather with 200 other individuals, many of them renowned researchers in gifted education, creativity, and related areas.  The conversations that occurred at the dinner table were impressive!

One of the purposes of the Wallace Research Symposium this year was to honor the legacy of Julian Stanley. His ideas and his scholarly example can inspire all of us.

Stanley’s creative ideas and hard work planted the seeds for many of the activities and programs we provide in gifted education today. Millions of students have benefitted from Talent Searches, in which bright students take an above-level test (one that was developed for older students). This simple concept, which is still considered somewhat revolutionary, has given us a way to discover high-ability students. Once discovered, it is possible to provide these students with appropriate challenges.

Perhaps most important is the work Stanley did documenting the characteristics and educational and career trajectories of exceptionally talented youth. Dr. Stanley began a 50-year study on talented youth in the 1970s, which continues today. This is an almost unheard-of accomplishment in educational research.

Lessons learned from Julian Stanley:

  1. Mentors are important. Academically talented students benefit from mentors who not only teach them content, but also guide them through educational decisions, inspire them to work hard, and point out challenging opportunities.
  2. Objective tools, such as standardized tests, provide valuable information to discover and guide talented students.
  3. It is useful to look at specific domains of talent. Instead of searching for the all-around gifted student, focusing on specific subjects, such as mathematics or science, helps us to discover students who are ready for additional challenges.
  4. Acceleration is one of the best-researched methods for challenging talented students. Stanley’s Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth contributed a great deal to this work and shows us that academic acceleration and appropriate educational placement can have a profound effect on talented students, even many years later.

Julian Stanley changed the landscape of gifted education. It all started with the power of one.

Watch the video about the legacy of Julian Stanley.