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 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 JSA. Classes run from 9am - 12pm every day for a full week - and these aren't just any regular classes! With past options like Harry Potter, STEAM, Mixed Media Art, Engineering, Virtual Reality, Programming (and more!), we're sure to have something for any curious kid.

About the Program

JSA takes place at the Blank Honors Center.

  • July 26-30, 2021 

Application Timeline:

  • May 1, 2021 - June 30, 2020: Students will be accepted into JSA on an ongoing basis until all classes are full. Students will typically be informed of their status within two weeks of applying.
  • June 30, 2021: Accepted students must enroll in the program.

Students will spend their days at the Belin-Blank Center on the University of Iowa campus, learning all about one of their favorite subjects, in a class full of other bright kids their age who share their enthusiasm for learning. Each day will be filled with activities, opportunities to develop friendships, and excitement for learning!

The JSA program is designed to challenge students in their areas of interest and strength. Students explore a single advanced level topic for the entire week. Class sizes are small, and they take place on the University of Iowa campus, giving your child access to valuable university resources and experts. Our instructors are vetted professionals, including classroom teachers, local artists, graduate students, and professors who have the expertise to delve into a subject at an advanced level, while keeping it accessible for the age group.

We encourage careful reading of the course descriptions when choosing classes. Specific questions about course content should be directed to summer@belinblank.org.

It was amazing and I learned so much. I also loved being surrounded by kids who all have the same passion for learning.

JSA Student

2021 Classes

Be an Engineer!

Grades 4-6

July 26 - July 30, 2021

Dip your toes into the wonderful world of science and engineering. Together we will discover how to build towers that withstand earthquakes. You'll be an electrical engineer by designing your very own Operations game. We will explore everything about trajectory by doing Mechanical engineering experiments. Medical and chemical engineering will show us how hearts and lungs work, why different liquids have different densities, and what all of that means for us.

5 fields of engineering, 5 experiments, and all the fun. Apply today! Seats are very limited.

Programming with Python

Grades 4-6

July 26 - July 30, 2021

Have you ever wanted to learn a computer language? If so, join us to learn the Python language! Whether you are new to programming or have some experience, Python is a great language to learn. Python is used for web development, machine learning, data science and much more. In this course, we’ll learn to use data structures, conditional expressions, loops, functions and objects to accomplish a variety of projects including; a Mad Libs generator, a desktop notifier, an adventure game, search algorithms, simulators and possibly some data mining. The possibilities are endless. Apply today! Seats are very limited.

How to Apply

Ready to Apply? The application process is straightforward, but we recommend careful consideration of your child's academic strengths and interests when selecting a class. We're here to help with all the information you will need in order to complete the application.

Eligibility

Any student who is currently in 4th-6th grades is eligible to apply for this program. They do not need to be in a talented and gifted program to apply. Qualified students will show a high level of interest in the topic, motivation to learn, and ability to positively contribute to a classroom environment.

Application Process

To apply online, parents and/or students answer two questions:

  • How does this student's performance compare to that of other well-qualified individuals in this content area?
  • What else should we know, if anything, about this student's academic profile?

Selection

Applications 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.

Selected students will be notified on a rolling basis no later than the end of May.

After You're Accepted

Get ready for lots of learning and tons of fun! Here you can find answers to all the questions you may have while making your plans to join us.

Cost & Financial Aid

Cost

Each student will pay a program fee of $240 per class. This fee covers tuition, books, materials, and a t-shirt. Please note the fee for the program is not eligible for tax credits or other pretax reimbursements because it is an educational rather than child care program.

Payment Deadlines

You must either pay in full or have arranged monthly installments or a payment plan (see Payment Options) by the first day of the program in order to participate in the program. All fees are payable to the Belin-Blank Center.

Payment Options

There are three options to pay program fees:

  1. Pay the entire amount on a credit card.
  2. Pay in three equal monthly installments using a credit card.
  3. Set up an individualized payment plan. Payment plans are available by contacting the Belin-Blank Center at 319-335-6148.

Financial Aid

If selected, you may apply for financial aid when you enroll your student in the program. Financial aid is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis, while funds are available. Eligibility is typically determined by qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. After your information is reviewed, a decision will be made, and you will receive an email regarding the amount of your award. Awards will be applied directly to your program fee.

Daily Schedule

Classes will be held from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm.

Students must attend the full length of the program. Teachers plan instructional activities based on the scheduled time. Student attendance and participation are essential to receive the full benefit of instruction.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations of a student's enrollment must be processed by Belin-Blank Center staff.

  1. If a cancellation occurs at least four weeks before the class begins, we will refund program fees, less a $100 cancellation fee per class.
  2. If a cancellation occurs less than four weeks before the class starts, we will refund half the cost of program fees.
  3. If a cancellation occurs within a week of the start date of the class, no refund is given to any cancellations, regardless of circumstance.
  4. If a student misses class, regardless of reason, program fees will not be prorated and refunds will not be issued.

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