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University of Iowa News Release


June 14, 2007

UI To Host Conference On Gifted English Language Learners

Imagine being an academically gifted student taking classes in an unfamiliar country, surrounded by fellow students and a teacher who all speak a foreign language. How would you feel, and what might be done to ensure your success?

Those questions will be addressed Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22, at the Belin-Blank Advanced Leadership Institute on Gifted English Language Learners, which will be held in the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus.

Margie Kitano, associate dean of the College of Education at San Diego State University, will present the keynote address, "In Search of Best Practices for Teaching Gifted English Learners." Kitano's lecture, which will be given at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 21, in the IMU's Main Lounge, is free and open to the public. A dessert reception will follow her talk.

Other invited presenters include Rosina Gallagher, psychologist and educational consultant from Chicago; Michael Everson, associate professor in the UI's College of Education; and David Lohman, research director of the UI's Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration, who will speak on identifying gifted English language learners and meeting their needs in the classroom.

Panel discussions also are planned on issues facing students, families, school teachers and administrators. One such panel will present the personal stories and experiences of three gifted students who came to the United States from Brazil, South Korea and Russia.

"It is absolutely imperative that we all work together -- schools, families, and government institutions -- to address the issues of effectively and compassionately educating those students whose first languages are not English," said Nicholas Colangelo, director of the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, which is hosting the conference. "And to best prepare our future leaders, who may not necessarily have been born in the United States, we need to examine what we can and should do to identify and educate the gifted English language learner in American classrooms."

Conference participants will be entertained by two visiting dance troupes. On June 21, K.U.D. KOLO, composed of 17 students from Waterloo, will perform dances of Bosnia. And on June 22, the Quad City Ballet Folklórico, which includes 27 students from Davenport, will perform dances of Mexico.

For more information about the conference, contact Jerilyn Fisher in the Belin-Blank Center at

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

CONTACTS: Jerilyn Fisher, Belin-Blank Center, 319-335-6127; Stephen Pradarelli, University News Services, 319-384-0007,