Spring Into Professional Learning

Almost 20 years ago, Dettmer wrote an article entitled Positive Ripple Effects of Professional Development for Gifted Programs (1998); citing Dettmer and Landrum (1997), she suggested that professional development (PD) serves “one  or more of five purposes…role renewal for certification…; role reassignment to earn additional or expanded credentials; professional growth to acquire new methods or make curricular changes; personal growth to improve skills and have enriching experiences; and inspiration…” (p. 1).  She also suggested that PD “directed toward education of gifted and talented contributes in a sixth way by activating positive ripple effects that influence curriculum, instructional methods, teaching techniques, resource materials, and support services” (p. 1).

The positive ripple effects that she detailed included “challenging all students with great expectations and strong encouragement to do their best; “making schools and teachers look good”; “pleasing parents and satisfying communities”; “optimizing opportunities for collaboration and networking”; and “encouraging action research” (Dettmer, 1998, p. 4).

Even before Spring semester begins, the Belin-Blank Center, in partnership with the College of Education, is providing professional learning experiences that facilitate that ripple effect.  Over Winter term (December 27, 2017 – January 12, 2018), Dr. Laurie Croft is offering EDTL:4085:0WKA Current Readings and Research in Gifted Education (1 semester hour workshop); this class can fulfill the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted requirement for credit in either the Psychology strand, the Programming strand, or the Administrative strand, depending on the choice of readings.

During Spring semester, Dr. Susan Assouline is offering PSQF:4121:0EXV Identification of Students for Gifted Programs; this three-semester-hour class provides educators with more information about issues related to identification, one of the most pressing issues in gifted education.  The class fulfills the requirement in the Psychology strand and is offered in an online asynchronous eight-week format from January 16 – March 19, 2018).  Dr. Croft is facilitating two sections of EDTL:4066 Curriculum Concepts in Gifted Education (Programming strand); one is the traditional 16-week online asynchronous format (0EXU), and the other is also an eight-week format from March 19 – May 11, 2018 (0EXW).   Although these classes are asynchronous, they do require participants to complete readings, activities, and discussions on a weekly basis.  For those who would enjoy class on campus, EDTL:4066:0001 Curriculum Concepts in Gifted Education meets on Monday evenings for 90 minutes, followed by online collaboration with those enrolled in the 0EXU section.

Dr. Randy Lange is offering EPLS:4110:0EXW Administration and Policy in Gifted Education from January 29 – April 27, 2018.  This two-semester hour class is online and asynchronous, and fulfills the requirement for the endorsement’s Administrative strand.

Dr. Croft will facilitate EDTL:4096:0EXW Topics / Giftedness 101 from March 19 – May 7, 2018.  This two-semester hour book study will explore Linda Silverman’s book, Giftedness101. This two-semester hour class is online and asynchronous, and fulfills the requirement for the endorsement’s Psychology strand.

The Center is offering a number of one-semester-hour online asynchronous workshops (workshops have no additional fees associated with enrollment):

  • EDTL:4096:0WKA Topics / Best-Kept Secret in Gifted Education: Abovel-Level Testing (Ann Shoplik and Laurie Croft), January 16 – February 5, 2018. This workshop requires participation in the Webinar on January 9, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Registration for either live participation or the link for later streaming is available here: belinblank.org/webinar.   As always, AEAs, school districts, or individuals only need to register one computer, while multiple individuals can take advantage of that registration and participate as a member of a cohort, discussing the content during the Webinar itself.  Cost for the Webinar or the link is $45; cost for both options (Webinar and the subsequent link) is $55.  Those who enroll in the credit option receive an automatic 50% tuition scholarship.  The class fulfills the requirement in the Programming strand.
  • EDTL:4022:0WKA Math Programming for High-Ability Students (Ann Shoplik), February 20 – March 12, 2018. This class fulfills the requirement in the Programming strand.
  • EDTL:4153:0WKA Gifted and General Education Collaboration (Gerald Aungst), March 13 – April 2, 2018). This class fulfills the requirement in the Programming strand.
  • EDTL:04073:0WKA Programming/Curriculum for High-Ability Students: Real-World Problem Solving (Kristine Milburn), April 9 – 27, 2018. This class fulfills the requirement in the Programming strand.

Information about enrolling in any coursework that helps educators and even parents learn more about supporting the needs of gifted/talented learners can be found at belinblank.org/educators; follow the link to General Information, to Schedule, or to Register for those details.  We look forward to working with you.


Dettmer, P. (1998). Positive ripple effects of professional development for gifted programs. Tempo, 18(2), pp. 1, 4.

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