Author Archives: belinblank

We’re Prepping for Summer Programs

…and whole host of other things!  Check out our April newsletter for what we’re looking forward to:

Message From the Director: Expression As A High Calling

“To learn to express is probably as high a calling as one can do; because as one expresses, one can bring people together and that’s the great challenge of all of us.”

Interim Director of the University of Iowa Museum of Art and Former U.S Representative James Leach (R-IA)

Indeed. Mr. Leach’s words, shared on March 11th at the Belin-Blank Center’s annual Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Ceremony, ring true for the Center’s administrators whether they’re creating programs for students or teachers, or hosting special events such as the Scholastic Awards Ceremony, the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, or Invent Iowa. Striving to meet that challenge of “expression” on both a personal and professional level is not only a component of our special events; it is also an important aspect of the Center’s day-to-day operation.  Building community by bringing together talented learners is the common thread in the upcoming summer opportunities.  The programming goals for student and instructor are to attain a higher level of expression relative to the content of the class and the experience of being part of a community of like-minded learners.

In a previous post, I expressed my philosophy concerning transformational leadership and indicated that one of the most important roles we can serve as professionals is to give voice to those who are not in a position to express their voices or have their voices heard.  Two recent articles in peer-reviewed journals represent our efforts to give voice to talented students who are at risk due to economic vulnerability or twice-exceptionality.

The first article, “The effects of a social and talent development intervention for high ability youth with social skill difficulties,” authored by Associate Professor Megan Foley Nicpon and colleagues and published in the High Ability Studies (2017), present the findings of an intervention study with twice-exceptional students (high ability with social skill difficulties).  The social skills intervention itself, video modeling, is quite progressive in terms of interventions.  In addition, the intervention was conducted in a “naturalistic” setting, i.e., during a Belin-Blank Center two-week summer program, which is oriented towards students’ talent development.  Researchers found positive changes in several of the measured variables, including friendship companionship and security. The students in the social skills group, who experienced the video-modeling intervention, increased their willingness to seek help within their friendships compared to the non-intervention comparison group.  To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate this group intervention with twice-exceptional students, and the preliminary findings support continuing to offer the intervention during our summer programs.

The second article, “Closing the excellence gap: Investigation of an expanded talent search model for student selection into an extracurricular STEM program in rural middle schools,” authored by Susan Assouline, Lori Ihrig, and Duhita Mahatmya and published in Gifted Child Quarterly (2017), reported on an expansion of the traditional Talent Search Model.  The expansion effectively broadened the talent pool of high-achieving students from the typical 3-to-5% to 13%.  The students participated in an extracurricular STEM program that was designed to increase the aspirations and achievements of high-potential students attending under-resourced rural schools.

An op-ed that I co-authored with Harold O. Levy, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, highlighted the importance of providing these types of educational opportunities for rural students. One sentence in the op-ed captures the intersection of expression and voice:

The education gap dividing Americans by income and location is not just profoundly unfair, but a tremendous waste of talent. It means that we fail to benefit from the brainpower of millions of young people who could grow up to be doctors, scientists, entrepreneurs, inventors, teachers and fill other important roles. We simply can’t afford this unfairness.

For 29 years, the administrative team at the Belin-Blank Center has worked to develop the talents of students and their teachers.  We strive to form a community of like-minded individuals and close gaps due to disability or economic vulnerability.  It’s all possible when we aren’t afraid to speak up.

Costumes, Poetry, and Dancing at the Scholastic Celebration

Students who received a Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention for their submission to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (Iowa or Midwest Regions) were invited to our Scholastic Celebration!

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New Test Scores Tool for Iowa Educators

In collaboration with Iowa Testing Programs, we’re proud to announce a new way for Iowa teachers to find students who could benefit from an above-level test.  Educators in Iowa who have access to eITP can now run lists of students who qualify for above-level testing (administering a test designed for older students to younger students).  The tool creates a list of students who scored highly enough on their Iowa Assessments that they would benefit from the additional challenge of an above-level test.  To learn more about above-level testing, please visit belinblank.org/talent-search.

A preview of the new feature. If you have access to your school’s Iowa Assessments scores, you can use the tool at https://itp.education.uiowa.edu/eitp/auth/individual/BestsTalentSearch.aspx

Science in San Diego

The 55th Annual National JSHS starts tomorrow! The top five students from the 2017 Iowa Regional Junior Science and Humanities Symposium are going to Nationals.  Good luck to all!

1. Kathryn Bozer – West High School, Iowa City
2. Manasa Pagadala – Rivermont Collegiate, Bettendorf
3. Mason Burlage – Beckman Catholic High School, Dubuque
4. Megan Ertl – Beckman Catholic High School, Dubuque
5. Maddie Zastrow – Prairie High School, Cedar Rapids

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Educators Are Thinking about Summer, Too

“Summer is always the best of what might be.”

Charles Bowden, author, journalist, 1945-2014

As teachers finish this school year, they are already thinking ahead to next year.  Summer is not only an opportunity to enjoy family and friends; it is also a time for lemonade, travel, new books—and new plans to make next year even better for their students.

The Belin-Blank Center is offering more professional learning opportunities than ever.   The full list of classes is available at www.belinblank.org/educators.  Starting on June 12, nine online and asynchronous  one- or two-semester-hour workshops are available, with opportunities in all the strands required for the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement.  Classes include

  • Reading for High-Ability Learners
  • Gender Issues and Giftedness
  • Cognitive and Affective Needs of the Gifted
  • Teacher Training for Advanced Placement Courses, for those who enroll in the Center’s Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute (2 semester hours, with a 50% tuition scholarship off the cost of graduate tuition)
  • Differentiation at the Secondary Level (those who have completed a 2017 APTTI class can earn one more hour with a 50% tuition scholarship; participants do not HAVE to participate in APTTI to enroll)
  • Special Topics: Personalized Education Plans for Gifted
  • Special Topics: Developing Curriculum for Gifted Learners (new!)
  • Current Readings & Research in Gifted Education
  • Practicum in Gifted Education

The Belin-Blank Chautauqua (B-BC) is back, too, for those who prefer some face-to-face time with other educators. Chautauqua was a popular early 20th Century adult education movement, and this summer’s B-BC offers a series of one-semester-hour hybrid classes, with two days on campus, as well as access to resources through ICON, the Iowa Course Online platform.

Chautauqua I begins on June 19 and includes

  • Counseling and Psychological Issues of Giftedness
  • Differentiating Projects with Technology
  • Special Topics: MATHALON—Hands-on Math for Gifted Learners (new!)

Chautauqua II begins on June 26, featuring

  • Creativity
  • Staff Development
  • Special Topics: TEAM: Teachers Engaged in Active Modeling for Gifted Learners (new!)

All Chautauqua participants are invited to lunch on Friday with Belin-Blank Center staff, providing an informal opportunity to learn about Center services and ask questions of renowned leaders in the field of gifted education and talent development.  Those who enroll at the graduate level in all three classes in either week—or both weeks—receive an automatic tuition scholarship for the full cost of one class for each week.

Both online and hybrid Chautauqua classes align with national standards developed by the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC), including the Teacher Preparation Standards in Gifted Education, the Pre-K – Grade 12 Gifted Programming Standards, and the new Faculty Standards for Teacher Preparation Programs in Gifted and Talented Education.

Visit the Center’s General Information page for more information about tuition and fees, and for details about registering for coursework as a University of Iowa Continuing Education student.  Contact Dr. Laurie Croft, Associate Director for Professional Development, with questions about summer at the Belin-Blank Center (laurie-croft@uiowa.edu  or  319-335-6148).

 

Come Join Us This Summer For Blast!

Check out more about the courses below and additional academic programming at belinblank.org/summer.