As part of our occasional series on the great teachers who make our programs possible, we’re profiling veteran teacher and Belin-Blank Center partner Jean Oberbroeckling!
Jean Oberbroeckling holds a Master’s Degree from Marycrest College in Gifted Education and has coordinated gifted and talented programs for 34 years in the Cedar Rapids Community School District. Early in her career, she spent a two-week intensive training session in gifted education at the University of Iowa (before the Center existed).
Jean has been the Invent Iowa Co-Coordinator for the last two years, and she has taught classes for College for Kids through Grant Wood AEA, as well as ChESS (now Blast), Challenge Saturdays, and WINGS for the Belin-Blank Center.
Currently, she is the Iowa Regional Coordinator for the Future City Competition. Future City is based on the idea that students will use math and science skills while designing and creating our future. We asked her about working with high-ability students and Future City.
What is your favorite part of Future City?
As a program manager of gifted students at Harding Middle School, my students participated in Future City. My favorite part as a coach was to watch them develop as a team and manipulate difficult concepts while writing their essays and designing their models. As a regional coordinator, the favorite part has to be the day of the regional competition, seeing it all come together and the pride the kids have for their projects.
What is the most important lesson you have learned about high-ability students?
The most important lesson I have learned working with high ability students is to never underestimate what they can do. I have learned to set a high bar for them and not allow them to “just get by.” Once kids realize what it means to set high expectations for themselves, hopefully, they internalize that way of thinking.