Category Archives: Professional Development

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

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).

 

Professional Learning at its Best

feb17_fellowsFor over 35 years, educators have benefited from a unique professional development opportunity known as the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank Fellowship Program in Gifted Education. The Fellowship will be held July 10-14, 2017, on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, and the application process has opened.

This exciting professional development experience allows educators (classroom teachers, school counselors, and administrators) to learn more about gifted and talented students and ways to meet their needs. Participants live on campus for a week, collaborating with others who share their commitment.  As one participant said:

“The Fellowship has certainly given me more knowledge. It has also helped me to realize that learning about gifted education is a process, not a destination. I think no matter how long I do this I will have more to learn, but that is okay. It will make me a more compassionate, understanding teacher.”

This unique Fellowship is designed for the general education teacher—the individual who spends the greatest amount of classroom time with gifted and talented learners. This year, we also welcome teacher leaders/instructional coaches, knowing they work closely with teachers to improve their practice. An endowment covers the cost of room, board, university resources (including WiFi), and nationally recognized experts in gifted education. We ask that districts support their participants through a payment of a $250 resource fee. These resources are comprehensive, serving as useful resources for others in your district.

Download and disseminate a brochure providing an overview of the program. Encourage educators who want to learn about the nature and needs of talented children to apply online. Each applicant is responsible for completing the application process by March 17 and must ask for a brief statement of support from a district administrator, also submitted online by March 17.

If you have any questions about the Fellowship or the application process, please contact Dr. Laurie Croft, Associate Director for Professional Development at laurie-croft@uiowa.edu or 319-335-6148/800-336-6463. We look forward to having an educators from your district join us this summer.

How to Identify and Serve High-Ability Hispanic/Latino Students

The Belin-Blank Center is pleased to offer a spring Webinar this year featuring Dr. Jaime Castellano and an exploration about identifying and serving gifted Latino students.  With diversity steadily increasing in our schools, this Webinar will give you greater confidence in serving ALL your high-ability students!

Identifying and Serving Gifted, Advanced, and High-Ability Hispanic/Latino Students: Moving the Cause Forward

February 2, 2017 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Dr. Castellano will focus on identifying and serving this unique, intra-ethnically diverse group of students. Implications, recommendations, and practices for learning, teaching, and leading will be shared. When programs, services, and advocacy are part of a dynamic infrastructure designed to meet the needs of our best and brightest Hispanic/Latino students, opportunities for experiencing success know no boundaries.

Learn more and register.


Participants register ONE computer for the webinar, allowing multiple participants to access the session.  A school can register and show to a room filled with staff, for example.  If the date or time isn’t convenient, participants may choose the DVD option.

Cost: $45 for registration for either the Webinar or the DVD; $55 for registration for BOTH the Webinar and the DVD.

For those registered in a Belin-Blank Center class, the registration is discounted (choose that option on the Registration site).

Dr. Castellano will teach RCE:4124:0WKA Ethnic and Cultural Issues & Giftedness to expand on the content in the Webinar; the class begins on February 9 and continues through March 1.  Those enrolled in the class must have access to the Webinar, either by registering their own computer or by participating through a school, AEA, or colleague’s registration.  Prospective students must be registered as University of Iowa Division of Continuing Education students; you can find more information here.

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 katherine-schabilion@uiowa.edu 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!

aptti-2016-15

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 www.belinblank.org/aptti. We’d love to see you there!

Upcoming Professional Development

The Belin-Blank Center is offering a learning opportunity that many of you won’t want to miss!  From December 28 – January 13, educators (or parents) can enroll in EDTL:4096:0WKA Topics: Nurturing the Potential of Twice-Exceptional Students: Practical Guidelines for Understanding and Supporting 2e Students

The commonly-used term for gifted students who also have disabilities is “twice-exceptional,” a simple phrase that does little to suggest the complexities in meeting the needs of twice-exceptional (2e) learners.  Participants will explore ways of better understanding and meeting the needs of 2e students, including developing academic strengths and facilitating social-emotional growth.

Dr. Alissa Doobay, the Supervisor of Psychological Services at the Center’s Assessment and Counseling Clinic, will facilitate this class, giving participants an excellent opportunity to focus on the twice-exceptional learners important to them.

Professional Learning in Spring Semester 2017

The Spring 2017 schedule is available for you to review!  There is a full schedule of opportunities, including one-, two-, and three-semester hour classes.  Coursework is available in all of the strands required for the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement.

Learn more about registration as a Continuing Education student at the University of Iowa.  We welcome educators earning the endorsement, as well as anyone interested in the topics explored in our coursework.

Contact Dr. Laurie Croft with questions.

Message from the Director: Words Matter

Words matter. No, it’s not the current political discourse that prompts this understated opening to my message; rather the publicity around a recent presentation here on the University of Iowa campus by a newly-minted sociologist invited to guest lecture for a seminar on inequality.

The publicity promoted the following topics: “the nature-nurture debate, social inequality in gifted education programs and experiences of the — so called — gifted students.”

Ironically, the presenter claimed to “not challenge the concept of giftedness in general”; rather, to “disprove key ideas of gifted education scholars…[and] discuss the theoretical frameworks which [sic] question the social category of giftedness.”

The two words that concern me most are “so-called.” Unfortunately, I could not attend this seminar due to a conflict, i.e., work.  Nevertheless, I felt it important to contribute to the dialogue, even if not in that particular forum, because, as a “gifted education scholar,” my work, and that of dozens of colleagues, is being targeted.  I have three points:

First, qualifying the term “gifted” implicitly judges individuals who, through no fault of their own, have academic and social-emotional needs that are not typically met in the regular classroom.  The psychological concept of individual differences forms the theoretical foundation underlying the vast range of research and programs for gifted students.  The Belin-Blank Center is but one of several gifted education centers that address research and programming for gifted students as well as professional development for their teachers.  Formative evaluation of these programs (not judgment) is ongoing and necessary for program improvement.  All university-based centers engage in this evaluation.  Research conducted throughout the world is available in peer-reviewed journals and supports these efforts.

Second, professionals and parents who advocate for gifted students should always search for ways to eliminate geographic and psychological barriers.  Ironically, the very students who are likely to be overlooked for needed accommodations are the ones who would most likely be disadvantaged if the concept of giftedness were questioned and associated programming were eliminated.

Third, discourse around these topics, especially social inequality and conceptualization of giftedness, are welcome and necessary – especially with professionals outside of the fields of education and psychology.  However, honest inquiry is difficult when conclusions have been predetermined and fundamental respect for the needs of the individual are ignored.

Those two words created ire; however, they also forced me to reevaluate my own values.  I concluded that the Center’s commitment to programs and services for gifted and talented students and their educators is unwavering. Therefore, we will continue to look for ways to address the needs of our most vulnerable students (e.g., economically vulnerable or twice-exceptional students).  Furthermore, we always will champion the interventions that promote the development of talent in students and their teachers.   Because how else can we “nurture potential and inspire excellence” so that we make this world a better place?

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