It can be tricky to figure out the best professional learning for your summer, so we’ve put together a guide to options for those teachers who seek to “update themselves on evidence-based best practices….and regularly reflect on and adjust their practice” (National Association for Gifted Children & Council for Exceptional Children, 2013, p. 5). Teachers build on the foundation of skills, knowledge, and expertise they bring to the classroom, and one of the most important options for these professionals is the opportunity to determine the new knowledge that will expand their understanding and add to the tools to best meet students’ needs (Casteel & Ballantyne, 2010).
The Belin-Blank Center, in partnership with departments in the University of Iowa College of Education, offers a wide variety of professional learning opportunities. Coursework is available every semester, even over winter break, but the summer has opportunities that meet every need! Choose the option below that fits you best to jump to the answer:
- I’ve been asked to become the new TAG teacher in my school! How can I prepare over the summer?
- Do you offer fully-online and asynchronous classes? I need a flexible schedule.
- I’ll be teaching an AP class next year for the first time (or, I’ve been teaching AP, but expectations for my content area have changed).
- Can I earn the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement in one summer?
- Where can I participate in classes that are aligned with national standards in gifted education?
- What if I have more questions?
“The key here is choice. Choice in what teachers can learn about and choice in how to learn it. It is, after all, professional development, and as such, we need to be professional about it.”Wolpert-Gawron, 2018, n.p.
I’ve been asked to become the new TAG teacher in my school! How can I prepare over the summer?
The first thing is to get registered so you can take advantages of classes this summer: Visit Distance and Online Education; register as a non-degree seeking student (graduate or undergraduate—either qualifies you for the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement). Once you have your HawkID and password, you can follow the directions to register for the courses that interest you the most (belinblank.org/educators/reg).
Consider the Belin-Blank Chautauqua (belinblank.org/chautauqua) to earn one semester hour, or two or three semester hours, up to six semester hours—enough to qualify you for a conditional endorsement and half of the hours required for the endorsement. Chautauqua is different every summer, and the six courses provide at least one semester hour in required strands: Psychology of giftedness (understanding more about the nature and needs of gifted and talented learners), Programming for the gifted (learning what evidence-based practices challenge gifted students and develop their talents), and the administration of gifted programs (the “big picture” that many school administrators don’t know).
Chautauqua participants engage with others for the first two days of each class, either face-to-face on campus or via Zoom; they complete each three-week workshop online. This summer’s Chautauqua includes:
- EDTL:4075:0001 Topics: Talent Development for Gifted Students (meeting Jun 12/13, ending Jun 30), Dr. Laurie Croft
- CSED:4119:0001 Family Issues and Giftedness (meeting Jun 14/15, ending on Jul 5, not expected to work on Jul 4), Dr. Kristine Milburn
- EPLS:4111:0001 Evaluation of Gifted Programs (meeting Jun 16/17, ending on Jul 7, not expected to work on Jul 4), Dr. Jolene Teske
- EDTL:4073: 0001 Prog/Curr for High Ability Students: Creating Empowerment Curriculum: Diverse Faces in Gifted Education (meeting Jun 19/20, ending on Jul 10, not expected to work on Jul 4), Dr. Alena Treat
- CSED:4129: 0001 Creativity: Issues and Applic Gifted Ed (meeting Jun 21/22, ending on Jul 12, not expected to work on Jul 4), Anna Payne, MA
- EDTL:4021: 0001 Science for High Ability Students (meeting Jun 23/24, ending on Jul 14, not expected to work on Jul 4), Dr. Hallie Edgerly
Classes that focus on content areas such as science are not designed for those who have a background in that area; they’re designed to help educators know the most effective ways to meet the needs of advanced learners who have a passion for and ability in those fields of study!
Participants in Chautauqua registered as graduate students earn an automatic tuition scholarship when they enroll in all three classes in one week; they pay for two, and the Belin-Blank Center pays the tuition for the third class. Those who enroll in all six classes over the two weeks earn two tuition scholarships; they pay for four classes, and the Center pays the tuition for two classes.
Do you offer fully-online and asynchronous classes? I need a flexible schedule.
The Center offers several fully online classes that require no meeting times. You can find the full schedule for classes at belinblank.org/courses. Courses are organized by strand, and you click on each strand to see the available options.
Most classes over the summer are one-semester-hour workshops. These are just three weeks long, and participants only pay the per hour tuition (no technology fees).
Summer term at the University of Iowa actually begins in May, and the first workshop, EDTL:4075:0WKA Topics: Understanding and Addressing the Unique Needs of Gifted LGBTQ+ Students (Dr. Haley Wikoff) begins on May 15 (ending on June 2). Other workshops focus on Math Programming, Social Studies, Gifted and General Education Collaboration, and Cognitive and Affective Issues of the Gifted with a special focus on Low SES Learners. This summer’s final workshop, EDTL:4074:0WKA Differentiation at the Secondary Level (Dr. Kristine Milburn) shares tips for providing effective options for secondary learners who are more advanced than classmates or who learn at a faster pace.
Two classes this summer are three-semester hour “extension” classes; these last for eight weeks and participants do pay a technology fee as well as tuition, but these classes do go into greater depth. CSED/EDTL:4137:0EXW Introduction to Educating Gifted Students (Dr. Erin Lane) provides an outstanding overview, and PSQF:4123:0EXW Academic Acceleration (Dr. Antonia Szymanski) explores this best practice with a stronger research base than any other educational intervention for gifted students!
I’ll be teaching an AP class next year for the first time (or, I’ve been teaching AP, but expectations for my content area have changed).
In partnership with the College Board, the Belin-Blank Center offers three different Advanced Placement Summer Institutes (belinblank.org/apsi). Two of these take place on campus, one from Jun 26-29, and the other from Jul 10-13. One APSI, from Jul 17-20, is fully online. The APSI prepares new and current AP teachers to provide these challenging courses that can allow students to earn college credit while in high school.
Teachers can enroll for 2 semester hours (EDTL:5080) for any of the classes offered by College Board Consultants during any of the APSIs; the work is primarily completed during the Institute itself. Teachers receive an automatic 50% tuition scholarship (based on graduate tuition; those registered as undergraduates receive a smaller scholarship).
If participants prefer, they can register for Iowa Licensure Renewal Units through the College of Education’s Baker Teacher Leader Center.
Participants who enroll in EDTL:4074:0WKA Differentiation at the Secondary Level (Dr. Kristine Milburn) will also receive an automatic 50% tuition scholarship (based on graduate tuition; those registered as undergraduates receive a smaller scholarship).
Can I earn the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement in one summer?
As you’ve read above, we have more than enough credit hours available for you to complete the endorsement in one summer. Educators can earn a conditional license, however, with only six hours, and they can complete the remaining hours the next summer, or over the next two years.
Where can I participate in classes that are aligned with national standards in gifted education?
ALL of the courses that the Belin-Blank Center offers are aligned with national standards developed by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC); as well, Belin-Blank Center practice addresses all of the standards developed to ensure the highest quality of programming for professionals. You can read the Knowledge and Skill Standards in Gifted & Talented Education for All Teachers, which we share so professionals in the field know how to address working with their general education colleagues.
Those new to the field of gifted/talented education should be familiar with and meet the NAGC-CEC Teacher Preparation Standards, and those who have completed their endorsements but want to strengthen their knowledge and skills can refer to the Advanced Standards in Gifted Education Teacher Training. Teachers who take workshops at any time throughout the year, including summers, can receive a 50% tuition scholarship (based on graduate tuition; those registered as undergraduates receive a smaller scholarship), if they attend with at least one other educator from their school or district, using the learning opportunities as part of their professional learning community!
Finally, the Belin-Blank Center ensures that their endorsement program meets the Faculty Standards for Teacher Preparation Programs in Gifted Education, ensuring that professionals are well-prepared to understand and respond to the needs of the wide variety of advanced learners in our schools today.
What if I have more questions?
If you have questions about professional learning opportunities, contact Dr. Laurie Croft, Associate Director for Professional Development at the Center at email@example.com. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org! For APSI questions, contact Dr. Randy Lange, Administrator, Professional Development & Curriculum at email@example.com.
We look forward to supporting your professional learning interests and needs!
Casteel, C.J. & Ballantyne, K.G. (Eds.). (2010). Professional Development in Action: Improving Teaching for English Learners. Washington, D.C.: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED512636.pdf
National Association for Gifted Children & Council for Exceptional Children. (2013). NAGC-CEC Teacher Knowledge & Skill Standards for Gifted and Talented Education. https://nagc.org/resource/resmgr/knowledge-center/NACG-CEC_Teacher_Knowledge_a.pdf
Wolpert-Gawron, H. (2018). The Importance of Choice in PD. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/article/importance-choice-pd/