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Release: Immediate

Des Moines talented and gifted students attend summer program at UI

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A group of talented and gifted eighth-graders from Des Moines will begin a three-week on-campus program Sunday, June 8 at the University of Iowa as part of a unique effort to help minority and economically disadvantaged students learn some of the academic skills they'll need for college-level work.

Students in the Iowa Talent Project, sponsored by the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, will be on campus June 8-27. The class begins June 9.

The program is the first of several summer efforts sponsored by the Belin-Blank Center. More than 700 students from Iowa and across the nation annually participate in the Belin-Blank Center's summer programs.

The Iowa Talent Project began in 1993 as a partnership between the Belin-Blank Center and the Des Moines Community School District as a way to provide gifted students in underrepresented groups with enhanced educational programming.

Nicholas Colangelo, director of the Belin-Blank Center, says the program has been very successful in reaching a group of talented students at an important juncture of their academic careers.

"These are very able students who, for a variety of reasons, often don't get the academic support that many other students take for granted," Colangelo says. "The goal of the Iowa Talent Project is to get these students thinking about education in an exciting, challenging way and to help them see that they can be academically successful."

Between 10 and 15 students annually attend the Iowa Talent Project. Students are selected by the Des Moines school district on the basis of their academic histories and educational commitment. During the academic year, ITP students attend classes through the gifted and talented program at Central Academy in Des Moines.

While on campus, ITP students will take a rigorous academic program that focuses on improving writing and study skills, two of the key ingredients for future high school and post-secondary success.


Editors: Media interested in arranging interviews or in pursuing photo possibilities with students attending summer programs at the Belin-Blank Center should contact Jan Warren, precollege program coordinator at the Belin-Blank Center, at (319) 335-6148. Warren oversees the schedules for each group of students.