Tag Archives: talented

October is Gifted Education Awareness Month!

Governor Reynolds declared the month of October to be Gifted Education Awareness Month. The Iowa Talented and Gifted Association (ITAG) proposed many activities to celebrate giftedness in your school and district! Some of these include:

  • Ask to have gifted students present their achievements at the October school board meeting
  • Communicate with other staff about how to best work with your gifted students
  • Attend the 2018 ITAG Conference Parent Night

How will YOU celebrate?

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Beyond ITAG’s suggestions, our team hopes you celebrate by thinking about who your talented students are and what they need to stay challenged and engaged at school. One way to do this is by selecting students for above-level testing to find out what they already know and, more importantly, what they are ready to learn next. Another way is to help students sign up for advanced courses, such as those available through the Iowa Online AP Academy (IOAPA). As a reminder, IOAPA registration begins November 1st

As you may know, IOAPA and the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS) have teamed up to provide identification and programming services in order to help Iowa teachers find talented middle school students and develop their abilities. For more on how BESTS and IOAPA work together, check out our IOAPA-BESTS blog roundup. In order to use above-level testing scores to inform eligibility for IOAPA courses, make sure to begin the above-level testing process soon. There are four basic steps for participation in BESTS:

  1. Find the students who are ready for additional challenge; these are the students who will be recommended for participation in BESTS. Typically, students who have earned scores at or above the 90thpercentile on grade-level standardized tests, such as the Iowa Assessments, are strong candidates for above-level testing.
  2. Notify the students identified in Step 2 and their families about the opportunity to participate in BESTS.
  3. Contact assessment@belinblank.org as soon as possible to set up testing. Note that if you have 7th-9th grade students in need of above-level testing, they will be taking the ACT, and there are specific deadlines for registration; visit org/talent-search for specific information. I-Excel testing sessions for current 4th-6th graders are more flexible to schedule, but it’s still important to reach out soon to ensure that the process can be completed in time for your desired test date(s).
  4. Inform students and parents about test results and the recommended course of action following testing. Families receive above-level test score reports and an extensive interpretation of results that can help with these discussions.

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As part of this process, you may be wondering ‘What do gifted students look like? Who are good candidates for above-level testing or advanced courses?’ High grades are a traditional means to determine giftedness, but grades and assessment scores are not the only avenue. For instance, many gifted students are bored in class, and therefore may stop trying or may create classroom disruptions.  In order to expand your school’s view on gifted qualification, make sure to look at class performance along with psychosocial factors, and socioeconomic and cultural factors. This blog post discusses identifying gifted students from underserved backgrounds.

However you choose to observe Gifted Education Awareness Month, we hope you’ll consider us a resource and partner in supporting Iowa’s brightest students and developing their talent!

Upcoming Webinar: Objective Decisions on Grade Acceleration

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, November 12, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

The Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) has been successfully used by educators and administrators throughout the country since 1998 to objectively determine if a student would benefit from whole-grade acceleration.  The IAS guides a child study team (including educators, teachers, parents, and other professionals) through a discussion of the academic and social characteristics of the student.  Dr. Susan Assouline, lead author of the Iowa Acceleration Scale, will lead this Webinar, exploring the instrument and answering your questions.

The Webinar  (or DVD option) is required to enroll in the available credit option; the online credit will explore challenges to acceleration, as well as alternatives to whole-grade acceleration.  Participants will go through the process utilized in the IAS*.

The cost for either the Webinar or a DVD of is $45 (the cost for both is $55).

More information and the link to registration is available at belinblank.org/webinar  

 

Academic credit is available. Automatic tuition scholarship (50% of graduate tuition, or $226, for one semester hour). Contact Laurie-Croft@uiowa.edu.

* The Iowa Acceleration Scale Manual can be purchased through the Belin-Blank Center for less than the cost at most other outlets.  Please contact Rachelle-Blackwell@uiowa.edu (or 800-336-6463 / 319-335-6148) for details.  One copy of the form used to complete the scale will be provided at no cost to those who purchase the manual through the Center.