Belin Blank: An Extended Learning Experience

The Belin Blank Center offers an extended learning experience to advanced students.

Riley Anderson, Staff Writer

The Belin Blank Center’s mission is to empower and serve the international skilled community, bringing the advanced student community to greater heights through classes, research, and advocacy. This is a worldwide curriculum, bringing people of different cultures and countries together. The program identifies gifted, talented, and artistic learners, and for these gifted learners, they offer specialized educational opportunities for students. A program like this increases awareness and the use of acceleration to enhance learning and provides assessment, counseling, and consultation services. Kids are able to go into this program to get extended learning in the fields of mathematics, writing, visual arts, advanced sciences, social studies, invention and innovation, global and cultural studies, and performing arts. 

The Belin Blank Center is located at the University of Iowa. To get in, anyone can apply for themselves or their teacher can put them into the system under a category, such as art, writing, social studies, world science, mathematics and many more. When someone applies, they need recommendations for them to have credible evidence that they are proficient at what they do and they need to send in a piece of what they are good at in as well. It is a very selective program within each category.

Morgan Lee who was in 8th grade went to BSI and she heard of this program from her brother went to BSI a year before Morgan went. She was nominated by an anonymous teacher for World Studies and she learned a lot from her class. Was it worth going? “Yes, Definitely!” Lee said. Throughout her class they experienced an introduction to world cultures and the focused on different aspects of cultures. To further their learning and have a fun time learning different cultures, they they went around the area of University of Iowa and visited grocery stores of different cultures and countries. Living in the dorm and was on her own with super visors on her floor, “I enjoyed the independence that we had to roam around during our free period of the day.” said Lee.

Her experiences in the dorm she stayed in were fun. Lee met many people from her floor and she became close with her roommate, and is still in touch with them today.

With her color group that people are put into that is opposite from the group they are learning the wanted subject with. They go on field trips around campus, learn about the campus and get to know others from other color groups. With Lee’s color group was able to go around the surrounding town and once got ice cream as a team bonding activity. Morgan met many people out side of Johnston who have lived in different countries.

Lee believes that teachers should talk more about this program. “Teachers should talk about is more than they are and enforce this program for the people who love a subject and believe they are able to continue in the field should go into this program.” Lee said.