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University of Iowa News Release

May 7, 2004

Head Of Israeli Math-Science Program To Visit Williamsburg

Last fall, the University of Iowa's Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development -- in partnership with the Israel Arts and Science Academy (IASA) in Jerusalem -- launched a program designed to enrich the mathematics and science curriculum for high-ability middle school students in Iowa.

Nearly 100 middle school students from Williamsburg, Mediapolis, Winterset, Shenandoah and St. Ansgar schools have since taken part in the program, which is modeled on IASA's Excellence 2000 program.

On Monday, May 10, Hezki Arieli, director-general of the Jerusalem-based Society for Excellence through Education, the organization that designed the program, will visit Williamsburg to meet with participants and answer questions. The presentation will take place at Williamsburg High School from 7 to 8 a.m., with Arieli scheduled to make remarks at 7:15 a.m. Refreshments will be served.

"Mr. Arieli looks forward to talking with program students and advocates during his visit," said Catherine Blando, Ed.S., the Belin-Blank Center's administrator for the Iowa Excellence Program. "We hope that students, parents, teachers, school administrators, and officials will be able to join us for the visit."

Arieli says the goal of the Excellence Program is to reach children and give them tools to develop their minds.

"Students come of their own free will to see the beauty of math and science. The whole approach is very open and experiential. It becomes an adventure," Arieli says.

The Iowa Excellence Program was created last year with an initial $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Education. The program was recently approved for a new grant of $257,472.

"I would like to thank the U.S. Department of Education for recognizing the importance of this project and for the confidence they have shown in our programs," Professor Nicholas Colangelo, director of the Belin-Blank Center, said. "I am also grateful to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) for his leadership and to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) for his support of this project."

The program is designed for motivated middle school students and helps them develop their abilities through challenging curriculum. It engages middle school students in math and science experiences to motivate and prepare them to take the most advanced math and science courses available in high school. And it does so year-round, not just during the school year or over the summer.

The schools and students that participated in the current school year will continue to participate in 2004-05.

For planning purposes people interested in attending are encouraged to pre-register, although no one will be turned away at the door. To pre-register, contact Lori Ihrig, Williamsburg High School, at 319-668-1050.

For more information about the Iowa Excellence Program, contact Catherine Blando, administrator, at 319-335-6148, toll-free at 800-336-6463, or by email at

For more information about the Belin-Blank Center, visit its website at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, Program: Catherine Blando, 319-335-6148, toll-free at 800-336-6463,