Category Archives: Summer Programs

Summer Opportunity for Talented Iowa 7th/8th Graders

BSIWe are still accepting nominations for the Blank Summer Institute (BSI)!  BSI is our most selective middle school program, and it’s a great time for talented students to do a deep dive into their favorite subject and connect with peers with similar interests.  Eight exciting classes await your very best and brightest 7th and 8th graders this summer:

  • Math Problem Solving
  • Advanced Science
  • Social Studies
  • Global & Cultural Studies
  • Invention & Innovation
  • Creative Writing
  • Performing Arts
  • Visual Arts

The deadline for completed applications is February 17…so please get the ball rolling for your students as soon as you can! BSI students must be Iowa students and they must be nominated by their school.  Nominating students is easy!  Visit the BSI page and click on the “Nominate a Student” tab.

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!

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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!

Message From the Director: It’s Cold Outside

The radio and The Weather Channel are constant reminders that “It’s cold outside.”  However, my colleagues and I are warm inside the Blank Honors Center thanks in large part to the work of the Center conducted on behalf of the students, educators, and families we serve.

The cold weather in Iowa coincides with the end of the calendar year, when it’s typical to reflect upon the previous 12 months.  The dedication of the Belin-Blank Center faculty and staff resulted in several new initiatives, including a board report.  See the colorful and informative 2014-2016 report for a full accounting of the initiatives.

As an added bonus, online readers of the report can meet 12 of the members of the Belin-Blank Center administrative staff through an individual 1-2-minute presentation.  Go to page 14 of the report and click on an administrator’s name to view their video.

Planning for 2017 was also a major aspect of 2016.  This next calendar year will feature several new endeavors in addition to ongoing services and opportunities for students and educators.  Here’s a peek at what we’ve been up to:

  • Extending our reach through a series of podcasts hosted by Belin-Blank Center Director Emeritus Nicholas Colangelo. The first episode of The Window, a podcast about talent development that asks the unanswered questions, will be released in mid-spring.  Keep an eye on our social media for more details.
  • New programming for pre-college students: thanks to generous funding from the Perry Foundation, we established the Perry Research Scholars Institute, a two-week summer program for students in grade eight through ten.
  • Our research agenda continues to grow, and we will be reporting on major findings over the next year.
  • We’re in the midst of creating a new design for our main website.  Look for a cleaner, easier-to-use Belin-Blank Center website in early 2017.
  • We recently opened registration for our 2017 summer programs.

My best wishes to all of you for a happy and healthy 2017, and happy holidays from all of us at the Belin-Blank Center.

JSI Alliant Energy Community Grant

students_for_ae_blogThe Belin-Blank Center is proud to announce a new scholarship opportunity for gifted students. The Alliant Energy Community Grant will provide scholarships for 10 STEM Excellence and Leadership students to attend our Junior Scholars Institute.

As an advocate for education and innovation, Alliant Energy offers a number of scholarships. In less than 20 years, the Alliant Energy Foundation has given nearly $50 million to local communities. We want to thank Alliant Energy for helping us pave the way for gifted education for students in rural Iowa.

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One student from each of our STEM Excellence & Leadership schools will be eligible to receive this grant. STEM Excellence & Leadership, funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, is a unique educational program that helps empower under-resourced rural schools in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

Alliant Energy’s generous donation will allow ten 6-8th grade students from these schools to participate in a one-week-long summer program. JSI students take an advanced course and live on the University of Iowa campus in the Honors program residence hall.

Other students interested in attending are also welcome. Registration for this and other summer programs will open December 15, 2016. For more information on the Belin-Blank Center’s summer programs, visit belinblank.org/summer.

To learn more about all of Alliant Energy’s charitable donations and community involvement, visit: http://www.alliantenergy.com/CommunityInvolvement/

APTTI 2017 – Save the Date!

We are so excited to announce the dates for next year’s Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute! APTTI 2017 will take place on the University of Iowa campus June 27th-June 30th, 2017. Registration for the institute is coming soon.

APTTI is a College Board-endorsed AP Summer Institute that provides teachers comprehensive preparation for developing and teaching an AP course. 2017 courses include AP Biology, AP Calculus AB, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science A, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Physics 1, and AP US History.

For more information, visit our website (belinblank.org/aptti) and check back to the blog for updates on registration and course availability. We hope to see you this summer!

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Message from the Director: Who Are the Gatekeepers for Talent Development?

That was the question roaming through my thoughts with each opening and closing session of our summer pre-college student programs.  For the nearly 1,000 students who attended one or more of our summer programs, each opening session exudes anticipation as the staff and faculty describe the amazing classes and opportunities awaiting the students.  The closings are similarly fulfilling, yet also different, because students, faculty, and summer program staff have spent an intensive week engaged in learning.  The closing sessions are bursting with energy as the students, teachers, and residential staff share their week-long experiences with each other as well as with parents.  The bonds that are formed during the student programs in the summer are unique.  One of the high school students captured the sentiment:

THANK YOU! I have spent 6 of the last 8 summers at Belin-Blank camps and I am so going to miss them. Thank you for all the opportunities, friends, and experiences you have provided me with. I will forever treasure these summers. Thanks again for everything. I love your programs and what you do here.

I never tire of the thrill of being part of a team of professionals that open the talent development gates to young, highly capable students eagerly seeking ways to develop their talents. I also can’t help but wonder about the bright students whose families and schools don’t know about programs like this and thus miss out on the “opportunities, friends, and experiences … [to] forever treasure.”  How can we make programming accessible to them?  Who are the gatekeepers for these students?

Similarly rewarding is the annual experience of opening the talent development gates to educators pursuing professional development.  Over the summer, 183 teachers enrolled in 249 credit hours.  The Center’s concluding on-campus professional development opportunity, the Belin-Blank Advanced Leadership Institute (B-BALI), was truly an opportunity for all attendees to reflect on their role as gatekeepers for talent development in their respective schools, districts, and states.

B-BALI featured expert presentations by several of the A Nation Empowered authors and all of four of the editors (S. Assouline, N. Colangelo, J. VanTassel-Baska, & A. Lupkowski-Shoplik).  Professor Emerita Joyce VanTassel-Baska’s final keynote presentation, “The Individual and Societal Value of Acceleration:  Research, Practice, and Policy,” was as engaging as it was comprehensive.  Professor VanTassel-Baska wove the three strands of the title into an elegant finale that referred to Julian Stanley’s Talent Search Model as the genesis for the various types of accelerative practices that should be available to high-potential students who are ready to learn more advanced material at a faster pace and at a younger age than typically-developing students.

As Professor VanTassel-Baska’s keynote concluded, I realized that the question about gate-keepers really needs to be not “who are the gatekeepers,” but rather, “Are you a gatekeeper for talent development?”  This is a perfect question for the beginning of a new school year.  Educators, now is your chance to open those talent development gates for your students and to support them walking through the gates to the myriad opportunities for developing their talents.

Although developing the talents of our young people is a lifelong journey, the starting point – the gateway activity – for many who are talented in academics starts with participating in the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS).  BESTS incorporates the Talent Search Model.  As models go, the Talent Search Model is elegant in its simplicity.  BESTS is a system of above-level testing that produces results designed to inform high-potential students and their parents and teachers how much acceleration and enrichment students need.

Despite its potency, the Talent Search Model is not widely used in schools.  There are multiple reasons for this, not the least of which is that traditionally the process occurred outside of the school setting.  Although this is still true for 7th – 9th graders, the Belin-Blank Center is expanding the model for 4th – 6th graders.  Now, teachers and parents of high-potential 4th – 6th graders can access  above-level testing through BESTS in their schools, which we call BESTS In-School.

Educators, especially the teachers of 4th – 6th graders in gifted and talented programs, can become the champions of talent development by opening the gates through appropriate acceleration and enrichment opportunities in subject-specific areas (math, science, English/language arts).  It can start with BESTS In-School.

We hope this year is the year that educators and parents will partner with us to open the gates and support high-potential students though this robust model of talent development and/or through one of the myriad opportunities offered by the Belin-Blank Center.

Welcome to #APTTI2016!

APTTI Logo

Welcome to all 125 educators joining us this week at the Belin-Blank Center, where you will receive comprehensive preparation for developing and teaching an Advanced Placement course! This week, you will learn about AP updates, discuss teaching strategies, peruse course materials, prepare for your upcoming course, and network with colleagues from near and far.

For those interested, you have an additional opportunity to earn academic credit or Iowa Licensure Renewal Units for your work here at APTTI and beyond.

We hope your week here is productive, and that you leave here with a host of resources that you can put to use this fall. We also hope that you are able to connect with others and be resources to each other! To that end, we have several social media channels where you can connect with those in your own workshop, or in others, as well as with the Belin-Blank Center.

Use the hashtag #APTTI2016 on your favorite social media platforms to connect! Tell us what you’re learning, make dinner plans, or just chat with each other. We will be posting information and watching for questions, using program director, Kristin Flanary’s, Twitter account: @kflanaryIOAPA.

As an added bonus, we will be hosting several giveaways this week! The more you connect, the better your chances to win. You can earn entries by following @kflanaryIOAPA on Twitter, visiting the Belin-Blank Center facebook page, and/or tweeting a message on your own account. Prizes include $25 Amazon.com gift cards, copies of Serving Gifted Students in Rural Settings and A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students, a goodie bag full of Hawkeye merchandise, and an Apple TV. Winners must be registered and present at APTTI. Click below for details and to enter to win.

APTTI Giveaways Collage

Have a great week!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE GIVEAWAY!

Winners will be selected via Rafflecopter.com and be notified by email. Winners will have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Each winner may win only one prize. Two to five winners will be selected each day from July 5-8, 2016; all winners will be notified by July 9, 2016. Prizes can be picked up at 600 Blank Honors Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242 by July 9, 2016.