Nelson Mandela is credited with saying, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” At the Belin-Blank Center, we are among those who believe that this is true. Our tagline, after all, is Nurturing Potential – Inspiring Excellence.
We also know that these years of the pandemic have included the most difficult days for any teacher today. We are committed to providing professional learning to support the needs that teachers of the gifted have, both as they earn the TAG endorsement, and after they are working with students’ evolving needs.
The Belin-Blank Center offers traditional three-semester-hour classes throughout the academic year, and one, (Academic Acceleration, PSQF:4123:0EXW), in the summer. We also offer one-semester-hour classes in a workshop format throughout the year, including the winter session and over the summer.
Workshops provide educators an opportunity to focus on one topic (“Thinking Skills” or “Gender Issues”), and they last for three weeks. Workshops have no additional fees added to the tuition, providing some savings. Some educators find it advantageous to register with Distance and Online Education as non-degree-seeking undergraduates, even though they obviously have degrees, in order to save tuition dollars. Many others prefer to register as graduate students so they can count the hours toward other opportunities in their district.
This summer, the Belin-Blank Center will collaborate with various departments in the College of Education to offer sufficient hours to complete the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement. Participation in Chautauqua provides six of the required hours. Fully online classes, including the individualized practicum experience, provide the additional hours.
Over the next two weeks, we will update our professional learning schedule with the classes available this summer. You can also get started this spring to free up some time to relax over the summer! Visit belinblank.org/courses to see what is currently available.
To participate in our classes, you must register one time each year with Distance and Online Education as a non-degree seeking student. Once you have your HawkID and password, you can follow the directions to register for the courses that interest you the most. Follow belinblank.org/educators/reg. All of our classes fulfill the strands required for endorsement.
For someone with the desire to earn the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement, the Belin-Blank Center provides choices of classes across the required strands so that earning the endorsement in one summer is possible (belinblank.org/endorsement)!
Here, we’ve compiled a list of the available options to earn all 12 hours of credit for the endorsement through the Belin-Blank Center this summer.
Online Classes (various semester hours)
Summer classes begin in June with fully online options:
Introduction to Educating Gifted Students (RCE:4137:0EXW – 3 semester hours), June 8 – July 27 (Dr. Susannah Wood)
Special Topics: Understanding and Addressing the Unique Needs of Gifted LGBTQ Students (EDTL:4096:0WKA – 1 semester hour), June 8 – 26 (Dr. Haley Wikoff)
Current Readings and Research (EDTL:4085:0WKA – 1 semester hour), June 15 – July 6 (Dr. Laurie Croft)
Cognitive and Affective Needs of the Gifted (PSQF:4125:0WKA – 1 semester hour), June 29 – July 17 (Dr. Megan Foley Nicpon).
Online classes continue in July:
Differentiation at the Secondary Level (EDTL:4976:0WKA – 1 semester hour), July 8 – 28 (Dr. Kristine Milburn)
Special Topics: Giftedness 101 (EDTL:4076:0WKA – 1 semester hour), July 15 – August 4 (Anna Payne)
Additional opportunities in July include face-to-face time on the University of Iowa campus:
Advanced Placement Teacher Training
EDTL:5080:0WKA (2 semester hours) plus EDTL:4976:0WKA (1 semester hour)
The AP Summer Institute sponsored by the Belin-Blank Center will take place from June 29 – July 2. The credit option will officially begin for those who attend the Institute on July 6 – 14 (Dr. Laurie Croft), giving participants time to get enrolled. Those who choose to enroll in this two-semester-hour credit receive an automatic 50% tuition scholarship applied to the cost of graduate credit. The credit is earned through participation in the Institute, as well as any follow-up assignments from the College Board Consultants. Those APTTI participants who choose to extend their learning experience by enrolling in Differentiation at the Secondary Level (am additional 1 semester hour; see above) receive a 50% scholarship for that class, as well.
Neuroscientific Implications for the Gifted
(PSQF:4128:0WKA – 1 semester hour)
The Summit on the Neuroscience of Twice-Exceptionality, co-hosted by the Belin-Blank Center and the Iowa Neuroscience Institute will take place on July 20 – 21 on the University of Iowa campus. The Summit will bring educators an opportunity to interact with researchers, clinicians, and parents to address the state of research on twice-exceptionality, as well as best practices for supporting 2E students. The credit option will officially begin for those who attend the Summit on July 27 – August 14 (Dr. Laurie Croft), giving participants time to enroll. The credit is earned through reflecting on the Summit, selecting relevant readings, and designing an action plan for advocacy or instruction, meeting personal needs. Summit participants receive an automatic 50% tuition scholarship, applied to the cost of graduate credit.
(up to 6 semester hours)
The Belin-Blank Chautauqua mirrors the adult-education movement that was so popular in the late 1800s – early 1900s! Classes bring teachers together for an accelerated learning experience, as well as time to interact with one another. Chautauqua features six separate workshops meeting for two-days each on campus, with additional online components. You can choose one class, or the three classes in one week, or all six classes over the two weeks, from July 6 – August 6. Those who attend all three workshops in one week receive an automatic scholarship for the cost of graduate tuition for one class (you pay for two, the Center provides a full scholarship for one); those who attend all classes over both weeks receive an automatic scholarship for the cost of graduate tuition for one class each week (you pay for four, the Center provides a full scholarship for two).
It’s easy to earn the endorsement over two summers through Chautauqua, receiving scholarships both summers. Classes are always different from year to year; the one-semester-hour classes this summer include:
Week 1: Special Topics: Personal Learning Plans for Gifted (EDTL:4096:0WKB), July 6-7 on campus – July 24 (Lora Danker)
Science for High-Ability Learners (EDTL:4021:0WKA), July 8-9 on campus – July 28 (Dr. Hallie Edgerly) July 10-11 – July 30:
Programming/Curriculum for High Ability: Real-World Problem Solving (EDTL:4073:0WKA), July 12 – 13 on campus – July 30(Dr. Kristine Milburn)
Week 2: Social Studies for High-Ability: Explorer Mindset (EDTL:4065:0WKA), July 13-14 on campus – July 31 (Stacey Snyder)
Advanced Seminar: Solution-Focused Skills for Working with Common Concerns of Gifted Students (RCE:5238:0WKA), July 15-16 on campus – Aug 4 (Dr. Susannah Wood)
Staff Development for Gifted Programs (EPLS:4133:0WKA), July 17-18 on campus – Aug 6 (Dr. Laurie Croft)
The one-semester-hour classes included in the list above are offered in the three-week workshop (i.e., 0WKA) format. These classes have no additional technology fees and focus for three weeks on one topic.
For those who already have the endorsement, the focused one-semester-hour workshop-style classes are ideal for updating skills.
To participate in our classes, you must register with Distance and Online Education as a non-degree seeking student; for the State of Iowa Endorsement in Talented and Gifted Education, you may register as either a graduate or undergraduate student, regardless of your professional status; if you won’t benefit in other ways from the graduate credit, you can save tuition dollars. Once you have your HawkID and password, you can follow the directions to register for the courses that interest you the most; follow belinblank.org/educators/reg. All of our classes fulfill strands required for endorsement.
Two of our previous programs, Blast and the Junior Scholars Institute, have joined forces to create the Junior Scholars Academy (JSA)! Students from 2nd to 8th grade with a deep curiosity, a love of learning, or a lot of talent in a particular area will feel right at home in this program.
JSA is a summer commuter program designed specifically for bright elementary and middle school students who want to thoroughly explore a topic – all while having fun with other kids who share their enthusiasm for learning. Students get to choose one class to focus on all day, for a full week – and these aren’t just any regular classes! With past options like Harry Potter, STEAM, Mixed Media Art, Virtual Reality, Programming (and more!), we’re sure to have something for any curious kid.
Applications open December 15th and will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of Belin-Blank Center faculty and staff. Program acceptance is based on a review of the student’s strengths and interests. The selection committee works to ensure that the class is a good academic fit to nurture the student’s potential. Participation in a school’s gifted education program is not required.
Grade bands for JSA will be 2nd-3rd, 4th-5th, 6th-8th, with the structure consisting of four 1-week sessions. Choose any one (or more!) that works best for you:
Looking for a residential opportunity for 7th and 8th grade students? The Blank Summer Institute (BSI) is a prestigious one-week residential summer program for 120 of Iowa’s most talented 7th- and 8th- grade students, nominated by their schools.
As the school year has come to a close, excitement and planning for summer fun is in the air! What are you imagining for these sun-drenched days—beaches, camping, novels, hiking, blockbuster movies? If you are a teacher, which of your students might be dreaming about digging into a science or engineering challenge this summer and how can you encourage them? Perhaps you have a child whose curiosity needs an outlet and encouraging nudge. Summer science to the rescue!
With the increase in the number of researchers looking for
everyday citizens to aid them in research projects, opportunities to contribute
to actual research projects right from home or the classroom are more abundant
than ever! In today’s information-rich world these opportunities are available
We have collected a few projects that span a variety of interest areas to nurture the curious indoor and outdoor kids in your life:
Join the Zooniverse (https://www.zooniverse.org/) and get
connected to projects ranging from analyzing images identifying wildlife,
analyzing images and data identifying celestial bodies, to transcribing
historical documents. These projects seek out ordinary individuals to
contribute to research, making an impact in the world. One example project is
Bash the Bug (https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/mrniaboc/bash-the-bug),
a project in which an individual analyzes the antibiotic resistance of M.
tuberculosis, helping hospitals around the world accurately predict which
antibiotics are effective at treating this disease.
National Geographic (https://www.nationalgeographic.org/idea/citizen-science-projects/)
lists several projects on their website such as bird counting projects,
monitoring light pollution with the night sky, or participating in water
quality monitoring with people from around the globe. Some of the projects such
as the Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey (https://garlicmustard.wordpress.com/)
even give teachers tips on how they can use the project in their classroom: “Educators
can offer their students an invaluable opportunity for hands-on participation
in peer-reviewed scientific research, and compare class results to the larger
dataset involving hundreds of populations.”
is a website in which students can help track seasonal changes and seasonal
migrations of different species right where they live. This site also offers
teacher resources (https://journeynorth.org/tm/educators_index.html)
to help a teacher drive discussion using data that was input by citizen
scientists just like your students.
If you want to search for projects by location,
then check out Scistarter.org. This
website connects citizen scientists to local projects. Projects range from
migration tracking to water and air quality. One project, School of Ants USA, (https://www.scistarter.org/school-of-ants-usa)
asks citizen scientists to help track ant diversity by collecting and sending
in a sample of ants.
What if you have a high school student on your hands who wants to take summer science to the next level? No problem! Citizen science projects and the associated publicly available data sets can be used by students to ask their own questions and conduct their own research. Then, they can submit their work to the Iowa Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS)!
Iowa JSHS showcases research conducted by high school
students each year to provide students with an outlet to share their work and
be recognized for their efforts. Attending the symposium provides youth with
exposure to Iowa high school research, and they also benefit from networking
opportunities with other student researchers and research professionals.
Want more information on student-led research? Be sure to
check out our previous posts on this topic!
The Belin-Blank Center is home to one of the oldest gifted education professional development programs in the country. The last week in June, 2019, the Center will have educators living on campus and immersing themselves in the field of gifted education and talent development during Belin-Blank Fellowship XXXIX! For almost 40 years, the Center has been committed to offering the coursework that educators need to earn the required Talented and Gifted Endorsement, but even more, to providing the understandings that make teachers feel much better informed about the nature and needs of gifted/talented learners as the new academic year races toward them. (Where DOES the summer go?)
opportunities listed below are offered as workshops (with no additional
technology or other fees added to the basic tuition); all of these classes that
are still available allow educators to focus on specific topics that are
beneficial to their gifted and talented learners. These are described in more detail at belinblank.org/courses:
EDTL:4074:0WKA Differentiation at the Secondary Level, July 8 – 26, emphasizing the importance of differentiation rooted in content areas, including specific strategies to strengthen secondary courses; those who attend APTTI receive the same automatic tuition scholarship for this class;
EDTL:4096:0WKF Topics:Common Core State Standards for Gifted/Talented: Mathematics, July 17 – August 6, utilizing a NAGC publication about strengthening standards developed for general education to provide differentiated learning for meaningful experiences in math for advanced learners (participants do NOT need a background in mathematics to understand the needs of their mathematically gifted youth);
RCE:4119:0WKA Family Issues in Giftedness, August 7 – 27, the last of the summer classes, designed to allow teachers to be ready to work with parents in the new school year, better understanding their concerns and planning effective ways to communicate with parents as the school year begins.
The Belin-Blank Chautauqua will begin on July 8, and will provide six classes in a hybrid format that includes two days on campus with online opportunities for reflection, reading, and final projects submitted online. The Belin-Blank Chautauqua includes three classes in Week I:
enroll at the graduate level for all three workshops in either week—or both—receive
an automatic tuition scholarship from the Belin-Blank Center for one of three
classes (i.e., three workshops for the cost of two; six for the cost of four). Chautauqua includes a lunch on Friday of each
week, provided by the Belin-Blank Center, when participants can enjoy talking
with nationally recognized leaders in gifted education.
look forward to working with you this summer; we appreciate your commitment to
the needs of gifted and talented learners!
Chautauqua I and II
feature an energizing array of one-semester-hour classes and an opportunity to
meet face-to-face with colleagues. Just
as we know it’s important for gifted students to have some time to spend with
true peers, Chautauqua provides gifted teachers time to spend with their
true peers! You can read more about this
opportunity at belinblank.org/chautauqua.
Classes are offered in a “hybrid” format, meeting for two days on
campus in Iowa City, and providing additional time online for readings,
reflection, and submission of final projects.
enroll at the graduate level for all three workshops in either week—or both—receive
an automatic tuition scholarship
from the Belin-Blank Center for one of three classes (e.g., three workshops for
the cost of two; six for the cost of four).
(July 8 – 13)
Design Innovation: Talent Development in the 21st Century, inspiring
your awareness of design principles at the heart of the way we live and work so
you can ready your gifted learners for the unknowns that their futures will
Writing for High-Ability Learners,
featuring ways to develop creative writing skills among gifted students,
enhancing both interpersonal and intrapersonal skills critical for their
success in any professional field;
Skills: Skills for Lifelong Learning, sharpening your awareness of the
factors involved in teaching thinking skills;
Chautauqua II (July
15 – 20)
Issues and Applications in Gifted Education, including an overview of
definitions of and activities that serve as catalysts for student creativity;
Bibliotherapy for the Gifted,
readying participants to select appropriate
materials for students to help them deal with the challenges of growing up
gifted (videotherapy is also considered);
Development for Gifted Programs, preparing educators to lead
professional development/learning in their own schools and/or districts in
order to provide the best programming possible.
Limited housing will be available at Currier Hall, near Blank Honors Center, for those enrolling in all
three workshops during either Chautauqua (or both). Contact Rachelle Blackwell by email or
at 800-336-6463 for registration information. Single rooms are available for $312 for Sunday
– Friday night (additional charge of $52/night for those staying Saturday and
Sunday between the two weeks). Reservations, including payment, are due by
Thursday, June 6th, 2019.
Free music performances are available in downtown Iowa City every Friday
evening. Other extracurricular
opportunities will be available for Chautauqua participants.
The Belin-Blank Center
also offers the Advanced
Placement Summer Institute in Iowa (June 25 – 28), providing teachers the
comprehensive preparation required to develop and teach an AP course. An optional two-semester-hour class,
EDTL:5080:0WKA, Teacher Training for Advanced Placement Courses, is available
for participants; participants receive an automatic
50% tuition scholarship (based on the cost of graduate tuition); participants
can choose to register for two Iowa Licensure Renewal Units as part of their
In addition to
Chautauqua, the Center is offering online only professional learning opportunities
throughout the summer, from May through August.
PSQF:4123:0EXW Academic Acceleration is a three-semester-hour class,
focused on the most effective but most underused intervention for many gifted
learners. Eight additional
one-semester-hour classes are available, each lasting three weeks and focusing
on topics significant to your gifted learners.
Details are available at belinblank.org/educators/courses.
We look forward to
working with you this summer; we appreciate your commitment to the needs of
gifted and talented learners!
We have classes available for those working on their endorsement, addressing the required strands—or for those who just want to add to their “professional toolkits.” For the summer schedule, we offer an array of opportunities to ensure that anyone new to gifted education can begin their position in the fall with confidence, and to allow the most experienced teacher of the gifted to choose from the wide variety of choices that we offer, strengthening gifted programs in the school and/or the district.
This summer, Dr. Ann Lupkowski Shoplik will offer the newly revised PSQF:4123:0EXW Academic Acceleration, from June 10 – August 1. This three-semester-hour class ensures that educators of the gifted understand the powerful research underpinning acceleration as one of the most important strategies for high-ability learners, are aware of the multiple types of acceleration available, reflect on the reasons why many teachers hold negative attitudes, and have confidence in implementing acceleration in their schools.
The summer opportunities below are one-semester-hour workshops; these classes allow educators to focus on specific topics that are beneficial to their gifted and talented learners. These are described in more detail at belinblank.org/courses:
Topics:Teaching Outside the Lines, exploring the book by the same name
to enhance creativity in the classroom;
Common Core State Standards for Gifted/Talented: English Language Art, utilizing a NAGC
publication about strengthening
standards developed for general education to provide differentiated learning
for meaningful experiences in ELA for advanced learners;
EDTL:4029:0WKA Leadership Skills for G/T Students, K – 12,
focusing on developing leadership skills (one of the categories referenced in
the definition of “gifted” in Iowa and many other states);
RCE:4125:0WKA Counseling and Psychological Needs of the
Gifted, essential for understanding unique student concerns about
socio-emotional development, career development, and attitudes toward
EDTL:4074:0WKA Differentiation at the Secondary Level,
emphasizing the importance of differentiation rooted in content areas,
including specific strategies to strengthen secondary courses;
EDTL:4096:0WKF Topics:Common Core State Standards for Gifted/Talented: Mathematics,utilizing a NAGC
publication about strengthening standards developed for general education
to provide differentiated learning for meaningful experiences in math for
advanced learners (participants do NOT need a background in mathematics to
understand the needs of their mathematically gifted youth);
RCE:4119:0WKA Family Issues in Giftedness, the last
of the summer classes, designed to allow teachers to be ready to work with
parents in the new school year, better understanding their concerns and
planning effective ways to communicate with parents as the school year begins.
The Belin-Blank Center also
offers six classes in a hybrid format that includes two days on campus with
online opportunities for reflection, reading, and final projects submitted
online. You’ll find more about these at
our page about the Belin-Blank Chautauqua (belinblank.org/chautauqua)
We look forward to
working with you this summer; we appreciate your commitment to the needs of
gifted and talented learners!
Are you starting to make summer plans? Don’t forget to add the Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute (APTTI) into your summer schedule! This professional development opportunity takes place at the University of Iowa campus on June 25-28, 2019. Registration is now open!
APTTI is a College Board approved Advanced Placement Summer Institute (APSI). AP Summer Institutes provide subject-specific training for teachers who are interested in teaching an AP course. Summer Institutes can also support current teachers of AP courses seeking to develop their skills, or gain familiarity with the course.
“It [APTTI] not only provided me the opportunity to gain an understanding of AP-teaching, but I gained resources and new ideas that I now apply to all of my classes. “
“The training was invaluable…I find myself continually going back to my notes, looking at the resources I obtained at the training, and even emailing the facilitator who still quickly responds to me even though it has now been 2.5 years. I would not be as successful in my classroom had it not been for this training.”
The Iowa Online AP Academy (IOAPA) offers the AP Institution Grant, a grant to support Iowa teachers in attending APTTI. (Participation in IOAPA not required.) This grant will cover $450 (more than 80%) of the $550 registration fee. Click here to learn more and click here to access the grant application. This application is due June 1st, 2019.
Teachers who register for APTTI may pursue additional opportunities for graduate-level academic credit and/or Iowa licensure renewal units (additional fees and registration required). University credit is NOT included in the cost of APTTI. Click here to learn more about academic credit options!
Apply today here, and email us at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.
If you’re still looking for summer programs for curious middle school students, look no further! Our Junior Scholars Institute (JSI) still has limited seats available in some amazing classes. Check them out before it’s too late!
Robot Theater: Exploring with Cozmo
The focus of this class is to learn the basics of dramatic storytelling that incorporate robot technology (Cozmo, created by Anki) as part of the story. If you have written a script, story, or poem that you have been dreaming of seeing performed on stage, then this class is for you—our Cozmos will be your actors. If you have an interest in robotics and want to work with sophisticated technology, then this class is for you—Cozmo will introduce you to the world of robotics. No previous experience with writing, puppetry, theatre, or working with robots is required.
Students will be exposed to real-world environmental challenges Iowans face with an emphasis on flooding and access to clean water. Through an interactive learning environment, students will connect with professionals from a variety of related fields to learn how we prepare for, respond to, and recover from disaster events, but then also mitigate for future disasters to build community resilience. Classroom learning will be mobile and designed to engage the students in career settings providing opportunities for practicing professional development skills.
Mixed Media Workshop
Are you ready for an exciting week of action-packed art adventures? If so, this class is for you! Our week will be an exciting exploration of several different kinds of art making. You will try your hand at a variety of studio projects throughout the week. The two-dimensional art portion of the class will involve some printmaking, drawing, and painting. The stop motion animation segment will introduce you to the basics of stop-motion in the making of an awesome animation that you will shoot, edit, and create music and sound effects. You will work on individual pieces, as well as work in small groups. Exploring collaboration in small groups will allow us to put our brains together to come up with unique, creative solutions. We will go on a couple of field trips to get ideas for work and look at other artists’ work. Bring your adventurous spirit and creative brain. It’s going to be a great week of getting a little messy, learning some new techniques, getting your creative juices flowing, and challenging yourselves.
Archaeology: Discover the Past!
Ever wonder how archaeologists know where to find ancient sites? Or how rocks and bones provide them clues about how people lived? Archaeologists are scientific detectives, studying people from the past and the objects they left behind. In this course, you will learn to think like an archaeologist using scientific inquiry. We will study real artifacts in the research labs at the Office of the State Archaeologist and participate in hands-on lessons and activities to learn about Iowa’s archaeological past, from the Ice Age to the first Europeans. You will also learn how today’s Native American communities work with archaeologists to strengthen our understanding of their cultures. Part of this course will take place at an outdoor classroom at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area, where we will learn archaeology field techniques to document a real archaeological site!
Other open classes include Leadership for Students Who Want to Make a Difference,Women in Engineering, and Project Discovery: Finding Your Writer’s Voice.
Participation in your school’s talented and gifted program is not required. Payment plans and financial aid are available. If you think JSI sounds like a good fit for your student, be sure to check it out at www.belinblank.org/summer or contact Ashlee Van Fleet at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The Belin-Blank Center specializes in academically talented kids. If you have 6th-8th grade students who show a deep curiosity when a topic sparks their interest, a love of learning, or a particular talent in an area, they will feel right at home in our Junior Scholars Institute (JSI)! JSI is a summer program designed specifically for bright students who want to take a deep dive into a topic – all while having fun with other middle school kids who share their level of interest and ability.
Students get to choose one class to focus on all day, for a full week – and these aren’t regular classes! With options like Archaeology, Women in Engineering, Mixed Media Art, Leadership for Students Who Want to Make a Difference, Robot Theater (and more!), there’s sure to be something for your inquisitive kids. Class sizes are small, and they take place on the University of Iowa campus, giving students access to valuable university-level resources and experts.
JSI students also get to experience a taste of college life by staying overnight in the dorm with their peers for the week! Plus, they get to hang out with their new friends and attend plenty of fun cultural and recreational activities in the evenings.
We understand that many bright students may also have a disability or impairment that can present behavioral, emotional, social, or learning challenges. Our experts in twice-exceptionality offer specialized social and academic support for these students.
Payment plans and financial aid are available. Participation in your school’s talented and gifted program is not required. If you think JSI sounds like a good fit for any of your students, be sure to recommend that they check it out at www.belinblank.org/summer or contact Ashlee Van Fleet at email@example.com!
Do you know someone who would like to learn more about the nature and needs of gifted learners? Someone who could help advocate for your district’s high-ability learners and the school’s gifted/talented program? Encourage them to look at the information about the Belin-Blank Fellowship Program in Gifted Education (Belin-Blank Fellowship), one of the nation’s longest running professional development programs. Applications are being accepted for this summer’s Fellowship, to be held on the University of Iowa campus from June 23 – 28, 2019!
For almost 40 years, the Fellowship has been offering educators, school counselors, administrators, and others, the opportunity to learn more about best practices in supporting the needs of gifted learners. The program admits 12 educators who want to:
Learn effective new ways to recognize gifted/talented students and meet their unique affective needs.
Enhance their abilities to meet the different academic needs of gifted/talented students.
Act as an effective resource in gifted education for other educators in their schools and districts.
Review their new knowledge and skills for applications to ALL youngsters in their classes.
Nurture the sense of social responsibility in the use and development of talents among gifted students.
The Belin-Blank Center provides full room and board near the Blank Honors Center, where participants hear from leaders in gifted education, and have the chance to ask questions about identifying gifted learners and developing the talents of their highest-ability learners. Participants receive an extensive collection of professional materials, and those who choose to enroll for two semester hours of graduate credit receive an automatic 50% tuition scholarship.
This program is not designed for those who are already taking coursework to complete an endorsement in gifted education; it IS intended to develop the understanding of others in your school who will develop their own skills to work effectively with gifted and talented students, as well as support school and district goals to maximize learning for allstudents, including those who are ready for more.
Once you’ve started your application, write down your username and password! The $75 application fee applies for each application account you start on the portal, so be sure you can log back in when it’s time to finish your application later.
Contact your references now! The application requires two references from you: First, the academic reference, which should come from a teacher who can speak to your abilities in your desired research fields; Second, the character reference, which should come from a mentor who can speak to your character and maturity as a person. We define mentor broadly. Past applicants have chosen teachers, coaches, counselors, pastors, rabbis, etc. Just make sure that your mentor is not a friend or family member. Once your teacher and mentor have agree to provide references on your behalf, enter their email addresses into the appropriate field in your application. We will then email them a few short questions. They have until February 1st to send us their responses. Late references cannot be accepted, and it’s your responsibility to follow up and ensure that your references respond on time.
Start your essays now! We ask for two separate pieces of writing from you: First, a 750-word essay describing your research interests and background; And second, a 750-word essay explaining why SSTP is a good fit for you. We recommend writing and editing your essays in a separate document and pasting them into the application platform once you’re satisfied with your work. Please bear in mind that the essay fields in the online platform will save your essays as plain text, meaning that your formatting will not be kept.
Carefully consider your desired research areas. In the application, we will ask you for top three research areas, and we include a list of research areas that other SSTP students have used in the past. If you do not see your desired field, that’s fine! You may write in research areas that we have not listed. If you’re not sure what’s available, be sure to check out our virtual poster session on the SSTP website, where you can view past students’ work. Although not every research area you see there will necessarily be available in 2019, what you see can give you a good idea of the kind of research that students have been able to do in the past.
You may only submit one set of test scores. We recommend the SAT, ACT, PSAT, or PLAN, but if you have not taken one of those four tests, you may also submit state-administered standardized test scores. Since you may only submit one set of scores, we strongly advise against submitting SATII subject test scores. If you are a non-native speaker of English, no problem! You do not have to submit TOEFLs scores or any other proof of English ability. Your English results from the SAT, ACT, etc., will suffice.
Review the costs of the program. For students applying from within the US, the total costs will add up to $6,270. US students may also apply for financial aid within the online application platform. For students applying from outside the US, however, no financial aid may be awarded. Additionally, students applying from outside the US must pay an additional $550 fee to cover the costs of insurance and two additional nights of room and board, bringing the total costs of the program for international students to $6820.
When you’re done, save your application and leave it is as! There’s no “submit button.” Whatever you have on your application as of February 1st will be what we use to make admission decisions. Until February 1st, you may return to your application and make edits as often as you like. Applications are considered on a non-rolling basis, so there are no advantages to finishing early other than peace of mind and the assurance that your application is complete. You will be able to see at-a-glance what sections still need your attention using the little red lights. Once they all have turned green, you’re all set.
If you have any questions, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. During times of high inquiry volume, it may take us up to two business days to respond to your email, so please contact us sooner rather than later to ensure that you receive your response in a timely manner.
The Belin-Blank Center, in partnership with departments in the University of Iowa College of Education, offers a variety of online classes this summer. While we would love to have you join us on campus for our Chautauqua course series, we know that many of those advocating for gifted/talented students benefit from the flexible online format. Each of the online classes is offered for one semester hour of credit and are three weeks in length. You can learn how to develop creativity in every learner, facilitate research projects, enhance your understanding of differentiation at the secondary level, and more!
If you will be joining us on campus for the Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute, we offer your choice of two hours of academic credit; the Center provides a 50% tuition scholarship for those who take advantage of the graduate credit.
Khizer with the 1991 SICEI class (photo from the University of Iowa College of Engineering’s newsletter)
In 1991, Khizer Husain attended the Summer Institute for Creative Engineering and Inventiveness (SICEI), one of the early summer programs that the Belin-Blank Center hosted (at the time, the Center was called the Connie Belin National Center for Gifted Education). High school students came from across Iowa to spend three weeks studying environmental science. The program was a blend of engineering and creativity, bound together by the idea of solving a real-world problem. Among other experiences, they heard from an environmental science expert who discussed how poplar trees can help reduce groundwater pollution by removing nitrates from the water.
Following the program, the students teamed up with mentors and began an independent project related to environmental science. Khizer said that the program was meant to “whet your appetite [for research] over the summer, but now we want you to do whatever you want with environmental science.” One student designed a bicycle trail. Khizer focused on how industrial scrubbers can help reduce pollution, and he recalls another student who “built sort of a precursor to a Nest system with his home computer. The judges were so impressed that they gave him a scholarship to the University on the spot.”
Khizer had as many stories about the other students as the projects and topics. “I felt like the program…was the first time I had colleagues so deeply passionate about stuff – the meaning of life and philosophy.”
Today, Khizer works for Two Rivers Public Charter School in Washington, DC. as Chief of Staff. His job is about “the odd nooks and crannies that make an organization work.” The school focuses on expeditionary learning and self-discovery. In addition to his work at Two Rivers, Khizer has also written severalstories for Farfaria, a story app for children in grades 2-9.
Are you a Belin-Blank Center programs alum? Check out our alumni page!
Applications continue to be accepted for several of our Belin-Blank Center Summer programs! Elementary (Blast), junior high (JSI), and high school (NSI, WLI) students can read more about classes and programs at www.belinblank.org/summer. Read what students (and parents) from last summer had to say…
“Just to reiterate – this program is of highest caliber. Hats off to your staff for recruiting and working with such talented teachers who love what they do and who make kids excited about learning.” ~ Blast parent
“I loved the deep thinking in this class and learning new things!” ~ Blast student
“This is the best camp I have ever been to. I have had the most fun and met the most people that I can really connect with and understand. Thank you for this experience.” ~ JSI student
“I am thankful for many of the events, friendships, and academic techniques I have learned throughout this past week. The one thing I most enjoyed, though, was meeting a fantastic group of people that opens my network to an entire new world of possibilities.” ~ NSI student
The Belin-Blank Center will provide a variety of options this summer – both for experienced and new/new-to-GT teachers!
Belin-Blank Fellowship: Apply by March 4
We invite teachers who do NOT have a background in gifted education to join us June 22-26, 2015 for the 35th Annual Belin-Blank Fellowship, an intensive week-long learning institute for educators interested in gifted and talented learners. Facilitated by Dr. Laurie Croft, the Fellowship includes guest presentations from professionals such as Dr. Susan Assouline, Director; Dr. Megan Foley Nicpon, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology, Dr. Nicholas Colangelo, Director Emeritus and Dean of the College of Education, and Dr. Randy Lange, Adjunct Instructor and Enrichment Coordinator, LaGrange (IL) District 102. The application and letter of support from an administrator should be submitted online.
In July, the Belin-Blank Center is hosting the second Chautauqua series in Iowa City. Chautauqua I (July 13-18, including class on Saturday) and Chautauqua II (July 20 – 25, including class on Saturday) will feature six separate workshops on campus with additional online components.
Creativity: Issues and Applications (M-T)
Programming/Curriculum for High-Ability Students: Facilitating Student Research Projects (W-Th)
Differentiating Projects with Technology (F-S)
Neuroscientific Implications for Gifted (M-T)
Special Topics: Effective Instructional Strategies for Gifted Education (W-Th)
Evaluation of Gifted Programs (F-S)
Participants who enroll at the graduate level for all three workshops in either week—or both—will again receive an automatic tuition scholarship from the Belin-Blank Center for one of three classes (three workshops for the cost of two; six for the cost of four).
Limited housing will be available at Burge Hall, adjacent to Blank Honors Center, for those enrolling in all three workshops during either Chautauqua. Contact Melissa Keeling at 800-336-6463 or email@example.com for registration information. Single rooms are available for $57/night; double rooms are $40/person/night.
In addition to face-to-face classes during Chautauqua I and II this summer, the Center provides a variety of online classes in professional development.
Online classes include:
Programming and Curriculum for High Ability Students: Real-World Problem Solving
Ethnic and cultural Issues and Giftedness
Cognitive/Affective Needs of the Gifted
Differentiated Instruction for the Gifted
Differentiation at the Secondary Level
Current Readings & Research in Gifted Education
Special Topics: Writing for High-Ability Learners
The Belin-Blank Center also hosts the Advanced Placement Teacher Training Institute (APTTI) during the week of July 6 – 10. Participants may enroll for two hours of credit; the Center provides an automatic tuition scholarship for 50% of the graduate-level tuition. As well, APTTI participants may enroll in Differentiation at the Secondary Level for a third hour of credit (APTTI participants will also receive the scholarship for this credit hour).
All workshops, on campus or online, fulfill requirements for the State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement. Early in March, more information will be available on our website.