As educators, you are the guiding light for students making their way through the educational landscape. Educators have the power to inspire, motivate, support, and nurture. The Belin-Blank Center understands the pivotal role you play in the lives of the students you serve. We are here to support your work through coursework and other professional learning opportunities for educators, programming and enrichment for your students, and research and resources for your school's administration. 

Quote Author

This was incredibly valuable and worthwhile and I am so excited to use the methods and strategies I learned with my gifted students.

Professional Learning

The Belin-Blank Center is committed to supporting your professional learning needs throughout the year!  We offer classes in a variety of formats, for those making progress toward their State of Iowa Talented and Gifted Endorsement, maintaining their license requirements, or pursuing career advancement through a variety of online and on-site courses and workshops or Iowa Licensure Renewal Units. All of our classes are aligned with national standards in gifted education, including the Pre-K to Grade 12 Gifted Education Programming Standards (essential to ensure best practices in our programs) and the Teacher Preparation Standards in Gifted Education (guiding professional learning goals as beginners—or as practicing professionals).

TAG Endorsement

When you pursue your TAG Endorsement through the Belin-Blank Center, you will benefit from the state's most flexible and varied set of course options, instruction by world-class leaders in the field at the state's center for gifted education, and a program that complies with national standards. We offer an array of opportunities to ensure that anyone new to gifted education can begin their position 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. Learn more.

Chautauqua

If you'd like to earn your TAG Endorsement in as little time as possible, consider taking your coursework during our Chautauqua summer sessions in Iowa City. Enroll in one or more one-hour workshops to complete up to half of the endorsement requirements in just two weeks! Learn more.

Belin-Blank Fellowship

The Belin-Blank Fellowship Program is a unique opportunity for a select number of teachers, nominated by their schools, to receive specialized training in gifted education through a five-day summer residential workshop at the University of Iowa. The program aims to help teachers new to gifted education understand the qualities and needs of gifted individuals so they can better teach and develop the potential of those students. Learn more.

AP® Teacher Training Institute

Advanced Placement® (AP®) courses introduce high school students to academically challenging material and then give them an opportunity to earn college credit by taking AP® exams. The AP® Teacher Training Institute (APTTI) prepares teachers to develop and teach an AP® course, introduce one into their school, or simply improve their skills in teaching advanced courses. Learn more.

FLOW

FLOW experiences use the webinar format to engage educators with the most relevant issues in serving the needs of talented and gifted students in a convenient setting. Learn more.

Global Professional Development

Global Professional Development coursework is designed to provide educators around the world with the knowledge and skills essential to helping high-ability students develop their talents. Learn more.

Summer and Weekend Teaching Opportunities

The Belin-Blank Center periodically has openings for teaching positions for our Weekend Enrichment, Junior Scholars Academy, Blank Summer Institute, Perry Research Scholars Institute, Summer Art Residency, and Summer Writing Residency programs. These programs offer the opportunity to explore your passions through flexible, innovative teaching, with bright, engaged students who love to learn. If you are interested in being considered to teach for one or more of these programs, please send a resume and cover letter to summer@belinblank.org.

For Your Students

We know that bright kids need to keep their minds busy and their curiosity fed! When you have students that are ready and eager to be challenged beyond the grade-level curriculum, we can help! We offer a variety of enrichment and acceleration options for K-12 students, both in and out of school.

Blank Summer Institute

The Blank Summer Institute for the Arts & Sciences (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. BSI provides exceptionally talented students with an intensive and advanced educational experience designed to enhance their intellectual and social growth. Learn more.

Junior Scholars Academy

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 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. Learn more.

Perry Research Scholars Institute

The Perry Research Scholars Institute (PRSI) is a two-week residential academic summer program for students in grades 8-10. PRSI students spend their days with a backstage pass to cutting edge facilities and spaces at a major research institution. They'll hear from University of Iowa faculty researchers and their teams about how the research process works, the many different ways that research can look, and even the ways they can pursue a research career. For the duration of the program, they will live in a residence hall with their classmates and experience life as university students. Learn more.

Secondary Student Training Program

The Secondary Student Training Program (SSTP) is a highly selective and intensive summer research program for students in grades 10-11. Students conduct research under the mentorship of world-class faculty at a research-intensive university. In doing so, they explore their interests, enhance their academic skills, and make meaningful friendships with intellectual peers. SSTP offers rare access to elite opportunities that help students realize their academic and professional goals. Learn more.

Summer Art Residency

The Summer Art Residency (SAR) is a unique opportunity for students in grades 9-12 to work with world-class faculty in a world-class facility. SAR consists of lectures, open class discussions, workshops, and studio time involving a range of expressive opportunities. SAR students spend their time participating in classes, workshops, evening tours, lectures, and events that excite and stretch them as artists. They spend three weeks living and learning with other high school artists from all over the world and finish off the summer by showcasing their creations to their peers, teachers, and the public. Learn more.

Summer Writing Residency

The Summer Writing Residency (SWR) enables students in grades 9-12 to spend their summer in a UNESCO City of Literature - one of only two in the United States - learning from world-class faculty on one of the premier arts campuses in the country, home to the famed Iowa Writers Workshop. Students spend three weeks participating in classes, workshops, evening tours, lectures, and events that inspire and challenge them as writers. They spend that time with other high school writers from all over the world and cap off the summer with a public showcase of their work. Learn more.

BESTS Above-Level Testing

Do you have a student that scores at the top of their class on most standardized tests? Earning such high scores feels excellent, but it is also one indicator that your student may have already mastered the curriculum for their grade and needs more challenging material. Just how much more challenging? BESTS can help you figure it out. Learn more.

Bucksbaum Early Entrance Academy

Some talented students may be academically ready to start college before they have finished all four years of high school. The Bucksbaum Early Entrance Academy enables high school juniors and seniors who are ready for university-level work to skip their final years of high school and head straight to college, all with extensive social and academic support from the Belin-Blank Center. Learn more.

Invent Iowa

Invent Iowa is a comprehensive, statewide program developed to support educators in promoting the invention process. K-12 students can submit their inventions for a chance to show them off and receive feedback at the state invention convention. Past designs have included a sensor to detect grain bin levels, a hat that fits around a cochlear implant, and an insulating cream to protect chickens from frostbite. Winners will earn a spot to represent Iowa at the National Invention Convention, where they will learn more about the invention process and compete for exciting prizes! Learn more.

Iowa Online AP® Academy

Do you have a middle school student ready for Algebra II or a high school student capable of tackling college-level English? The Iowa Online AP® Academy (IOAPA) provides free access to nearly 30 online advanced courses for Iowa students who do not have access to these courses in their schools. IOAPA offers Advanced Placement® courses for high school students and high school-level courses for eligible middle school students. Students are typically talented and gifted students from rural schools, but any eligible Iowa student may register. Learn more.

Junior Science and Humanities Symposium

JSHS enables teachers to create life-changing experiences for their students! Students conduct original STEM and humanities research, using the Science and Engineering Practices of the Next Generation Science Standards. Meaningful student engagement in research supports student success in a variety of domains, including developing 21st-century skills. High school students will surprise themselves by tackling problems they thought were beyond their reach and will develop confidence in their abilities, academically and beyond. Not sure if your students are ready to compete? Your school can bring a few students to participate in the symposium without presenting. Learn more.

Recognition Ceremony

We believe academic talents deserve to be celebrated, in much the same way that athletic or musical talents are celebrated! The Belin-Blank Center’s annual Recognition Ceremony honors the accomplishments of qualifying high-ability students and the teachers who have made a difference in their lives. Learn more.

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Creative high school students can submit their art and writing samples to the nation's most prestigious recognition program, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. As the Iowa and Midwest Region-at-Large Affiliate, we accept art and writing submissions for these two regions, judge those submissions, and hold an awards ceremony recognizing regional winners. Learn more.

Weekend Enrichment

Formerly known as WINGS, our Weekend Enrichment program is designed to supplement what elementary and junior high students are learning in school and help them explore their interests - or discover new ones! Classes in STEM, arts, and the humanities will cultivate students’ interest and spark their curiosity! Learn more.

Resources

Beyond programming, the Belin-Blank Center supports many resources to help educators and families understand and stay connected with what is happening in the world of gifted education.

Acceleration Institute

The Acceleration Institute website houses information and resources about academic acceleration. Educators, parents, policymakers, and researchers can find many appropriate resources pertinent to their needs. Learn more. 

Gifted Teachers' Listserv

The Belin-Blank Center hosts an email listserv for educators focused on gifted education, with over 1,200 people giving and receiving useful information. Examples of discussions include favorite TED talks to show students, assessing Algebra I readiness, book recommendations, gifted standards report cards, and identification for creativity and leadership. Ready to sign up? Send an email to LISTSERV@LIST.UIOWA.EDU and, in the text of your message (not the subject line), write: SUBSCRIBE GIFTED-TEACHERS First-Name Last-Name.

Iowa AP® Index

The Iowa AP® Index serves to recognize the Top 50 Iowa accredited public and nonpublic high schools for providing Advanced Placement® (AP®) opportunities to Iowa’s high school students. Learn more.

Belin Research Library

The Belin-Blank Center houses an extensive collection of educational books and periodicals geared specifically toward gifted education and talent development. Search the online catalog.