Category Archives: Belin-Blank Center News

We’re Prepping for Summer Programs

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

APTTI Registration Opening January 30

While the snowflakes are flying in Iowa City, think warm thoughts and start making plans to attend this year’s AP Teacher Training Institute (APTTI)! Registration opens Monday, January 30. The institute runs from June 27th to 30th on the University of Iowa campus. This year, we are offering workshops in AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science A, AP English Language & Composition, AP English Literature & Composition, AP Physics 1, and AP US History. (If there’s a course you’d like to see us offer in the future, send the course name to Katie Schabilion at and we’ll consider adding it in future years.)

Who says teachers can’t have fun, too? Last year’s APTTI included social media giveaways, Twitter competition between science workshops, and a whole lot of learning. Who knows what might happen in 2017!


Financial assistance is available through IOAPA and through the College Board. College Board scholarship application materials must be submitted by February 15, so don’t wait too long! For more on funding opportunities, visit our website.

To learn more about our workshops, instructors, and schedule, and to register for APTTI 2017, visit We’d love to see you there!

We’re Wrapping Up 2016 In Style

…with a holiday greeting and the December newsletter!


Happy Holidays from the Belin-Blank Center!

Making Sense of Test Scores

ideal-solutions-rocketWe are thrilled to announce the launch of IDEAL Solutions® for STEM Acceleration, the platform for understanding I-Excel and ACT test scores.  A comprehensive, easy-to-read report helps educators and parents decide the best curricular fit for one or more high-ability students.  IDEAL Solutions helps to translate data into research-supported action.

The type of information provided by above-level testing (via I-Excel or ACT) helps parents and educators make decisions based on facts and research.  IDEAL Solutions provides individual reports, as well as group reports useful for teachers looking for ways to challenge their high-ability students.

I-Excel, offered to high-ability 4th – 6th graders, licenses content developed by the testing company, ACT, that was designed to measure the academic progress of junior high students.  From that content, the Belin-Blank Center has been identifying the academic talents of bright 4th-6th graders for over 20 years.

After testing, I-Excel scores appear in IDEAL Solutions automatically.  I-Excel is available in three different ways:

  1. BESTS In-School: For groups of 4 or more students, educators can set up a test date in their school any day of the week. Learn more.
  2. Individual Testing: For 1-3 students, parents or educators can set up a test date any time. A licensed educator must proctor the test.  Learn more.
  3. Test dates are also periodically offered at the Belin-Blank Center. Learn more.

ACT, offered to high-ability 7th-9th graders, is primarily used in the college admissions process and is available only through national testing dates established by ACT. Locations are available throughout the United States.  The ACT takes approximately three hours to complete.  Learn more.

For more information, visit the new IDEAL Solutions website!

Subscribe to Our Blog!

You don’t have to wait for our newsletter to arrive in order to receive the most up-to-date news from the Belin-Blank Center! Consider subscribing to our blog to receive news as it happens.  Recent blogs included information on:

Just enter your email address on the right (under “Subscribe to the Belin-Blank Center’s Blog”). You’ll receive an email when a new item is posted.

If you’re accessing the blog from your mobile device, tap on the “Follow” icon at the bottom and enter your email address.

Get the Latest From the Belin-Blank Center

Our October newsletter has TAG identification advice, online courses, a roundup of media from the Recognition Ceremony, and more!


Join us at #NAGC16!


Will you be at #NAGC16?  The Belin-Blank Center staff will be attending and presenting at this year’s National Association for Gifted Children conference, and we hope to see you there!  Below are listed the NAGC sessions by Belin-Blank Center staff members:

Thursday, November 3, 2016

7:30 AM – 2:30 PM  –  Pre-Convention Program: Models to Implementation: From Theory to Practice Room: Fiesta 5

Susan Assouline et al.


Friday, November 4, 2016

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM  –  Addressing the Needs of Today’s Gifted Learners: Putting Research into Practice Room: Fiesta 6

Susan Assouline et al.


8:00 AM – 9:00 AM  –  Making Informed Decisions About Early Entrance to Kindergarten Room: Fiesta 3

Joyce Goins & Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik


1:15 PM – 2:15 PM  –  Imagine the Possibilities for Arts and Humanities in an Era of STEM Enthusiasm Room: Exhibit Hall – Roundtable

Clar Baldus, Lori Ihrig, Ashlee Van Fleet, Jan Warren


2:30 PM – 3:30 PM  –  It Takes a Village: Partnerships to Support the Whole Gifted Child Room: Durango 2

Susannah Wood et al.


3:45 PM – 4:45 PM  –  Inspiring Innovative Thinking to Develop STEM Talents Room: Exhibit Hall – Roundtable

Laurie Croft & Ashlee Van Fleet


Saturday, November 5, 2016

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM  –  Helping Gifted Students Reach Infinity and Beyond: Effective Collaboration Between Teachers and Counselors Room: Fiesta 4

Erin Lane & Susannah Wood


9:15 AM – 10:15 AM  –  A Nation Empowered: Professional Learning About Acceleration Is Essential Room: Coronado D

Laurie Croft


9:15 AM – 10:15 AM  –  Imagining the Possibilities for Underserved Students: How to Make Online Courses Work Like Magic Room: Exhibit Hall – Roundtable

Kristin Flanary & Emily Ladendorf


9:15 AM – 10:15 AM  –  Research and Statistics Made Easy (and Relevant!) Room: Coronado B

Megan Foley Nicpon et al.


9:15 AM – 10:15 AM  –  Understanding One of the Best-Kept Secrets of Identifying Gifted Students: Above-Level Testing Room: Monterrey 1

Susan Assouline & Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik


12:00 PM – 1:00 PM  –  Identification for Academic Acceleration: Recommendations for Best Practice Room: Exhibit Hall – Poster

Katie Schabilion


1:15 PM – 2:15 PM  –  Early Entrance Programs and Academies: Four Diverse Approaches with a Common Mission Room: Monterrey 2-3

Susan Assouline, Jan Warren et al.


2:30 PM – 3:30 PM  –  Lightning Talks: Innovative and Collaborative Professional Development Exemplars Room: Monterrey 2-3

Laurie Croft et al.


2:30 PM – 3:30 PM  –  The Arts and Humanities: Swimming Upstream in a Sea of STEM Room: Exhibit Hall – Roundtable


3:45 PM – 4:45 PM  –  The Coalition for High Performance: Advancing the Psychological Science of Talent Development Room: Coronado N

Megan Foley Nicpon et al.

5:00 PM – 6:15 PM  –  Celebration of Excellence Awards Ceremony (followed by reception) Room: Coronado H-J

Sunday, November 6, 2016

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM  –  Academic Acceleration Policy and the Talent Search Model: Using Evidence to Guide Policy Room: Coronado F

Susan Assouline, Nick Colangelo, Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, Joyce VanTassel-Baska


8:00 AM – 9:00 AM  –  Career Counseling and the Gifted Student: Making Possibilities Happen Room: Coronado C

David Duys, Carol Smith, Susannah Wood


9:15 AM – 10:15 AM  –  Imagining the Possibilities: Effective Teacher Preparation in Gifted Education Room: Coronado A

Laurie Croft et al.