Category Archives: Professional Development

Message from the Director: Summertime is Talent Development Time

Welcome to the Belin-Blank Center’s 29th summer of programs for teachers and students!  While in the midst of serving hundreds of elementary, middle, and high school students, we will deliver TAG courses and workshops to teachers, evaluate clients in the Assessment and Counseling Clinic, and prepare for 2017-2018 fall and spring opportunities.  Dozens of short-term faculty and staff, including program coordinators, teaching assistants, instructors, and residential advisors, assist our permanent staff members in accomplishing our goals for Summer on the Brain.  While many students come from Iowa, we will also welcome students from 28 other states, plus Canada, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, and Turkey!

Saying good-bye at the end of each program is always difficult.  However, everyone can stay connected to the Belin-Blank Center through our newsletter and The Window, a new podcast hosted by Director Emeritus, Dr. Nicholas Colangelo.  As described in the article published in The Gazette, The Window aims to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the listeners and break new ground in our thinking about talent development and our educational systems vis-à-vis the talent development process.

Speaking of talent development, we are thrilled to share that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has introduced a new grant program, the Rural Talent Initiative, and the Belin-Blank Center is one of the six grantees.  In 2014, the Center received a $500,000 Talent Development Award from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for its STEM Excellence and Literacy (SEAL) program for students in grades 5 to 7.  It will use its new grant to expand the program to students in grades 8 and 9 in the 10 rural Iowa school districts currently implementing SEAL. More than 1,000 students and their teachers in these districts will receive direct benefits over a two-year period due to this grant.

One thing we’ve found in nearly thirty years of summer programs is that there is always more to learn.  Even on the sleepiest summer days, students of all ages are at the Center learning exciting new things!

More Summer Opportunities For IOAPA Students and Mentors

We know our IOAPA students and mentors are always looking for ways to keep busy and to keep improving their skills. We wanted to offer a few more options of relevant opportunities and events through the Belin-Blank Center.

IOAPA Students
Junior Scholars Institute: One-week, residential summer program on the University of Iowa campus for students in grades 6 through 8. Several classes remain open for enrollment for this summer (June 18-23)! JSI is a self-nomination program open to all students regardless of participation in their school’s talented and gifted program. Students select one advanced level course to take for the week. This year’s course topics include mixed media art, Wonder Woman, engineering, and Robot Theater, among others. Visit the JSI website for more information.

National Scholars Institute: One-week, residential summer program on the University of Iowa campus for students in grades 9 through 11. Much like JSI, NSI is a self-nomination program, so all interested students in grades 9-11 are encouraged to apply! Enrollment is still open for several courses. This summer’s course topics include 3D design and printing, engineering, visual arts, and data science. There are two NSI sessions, and students select one advanced level course per session. Students may choose to participate in one or both sessions. NSI Session 1 occurs July 9-14, 2017, and Session 2 runs July 16-21, 2017. Visit the NSI website for more information.

To see all the Belin-Blank Center summer opportunities for students, visit belinblank.org/summer.

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IOAPA Mentors
AP Teacher Training Institute: One-week program for teachers seeking certification to teach an AP course at their school. This is an especially great opportunity for schools that have offered IOAPA courses in the past, but now wish to expand their on-campus AP offerings. Enrollment is still open for most of our courses, including AP Computer Science, AP English Language and Composition, and AP Physics. To learn more, see last week’s blog post or visit belinblank.org/aptti.

Professional Development: The Belin-Blank Center offers extensive professional development opportunities for teachers in gifted education, with both in-person and online coursework options throughout the summer and during the academic year. IOAPA mentors may be interested in looking into the Chautauqua series, which includes 6 separate workshops over two weeks (June 19 – June 24 and June 26 – July 1, 2017). Additional information about PD opportunities and coursework can be found at belinblank.org/educators.

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Four Weeks Until APTTI 2017

In four short weeks, we will be welcoming teachers to the University of Iowa campus for a week of AP training and fun. There is still time to register and join us!

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All workshops remain open for registration. We are especially excited to offer an AP Computer Science A workshop to aid in local efforts to expand access to computer science instruction for all students. To see all the available workshops, learn about our consultants, and register, visit our website.

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If you teach in Iowa, you may be eligible for a grant to help defray the cost of attending. A limited number of grants are available, so check it out and apply today! Pre-service teachers currently studying at the University of Iowa are also eligible to attend APTTI at a reduced rate. Email aptti@belinblank.org for more information about these options.

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Academic credit and Iowa Licensure Renewal Units are available. These can be applied to a gifted education endorsement, graduate degree, and/or licensure renewal, depending upon the credit option you pursue. Visit our Credit Opportunities page to learn more about the available options and find out how to sign up. We encourage you to complete some or all of the credit application and registration process before arriving on campus. Visit our website for details regarding who to contact with questions. 

We look forward to having you on campus this summer! Share your experiences on Twitter using #APTTI2017.

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.