Spring 2018 GT Newsletter


Communication between the GT program at CCSD and our community stakeholders is key to our collaborative success. If you have any questions about the newsletter or anything in it, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of us on the GT team. Thanks!


Here is our current vision, mission, and commitments as they relate to the education and support of our GT students.

Our Vision

We will provide challenging and engaging learning all day, every day, for each gifted learner to meet his/her potential.

Our Mission

The mission of the College Community Gifted and Talented program is to recognize the academic and affective strengths and needs of all gifted learners, actively supporting their growth.

Our Commitments

Gifted and Talented students are a diverse group with a range of strengths and needs. It is our responsibility to provide intellectual challenge and academic support for this distinct group.

Talented and gifted programming is integrated within the educational system through collaborative efforts among administrators, GT teachers, classroom teachers, support staff, parents, and community.

A comprehensive staff development program and a diversity of resources must be provided for all school staff involved in the education of gifted learners.

Gifted learners develop skills and talents, self-direction, and life-long learning through exploration of their passions and interests.

Talented and Gifted children have unique social and emotional needs that will be addressed through the collaborative efforts of school and parents.

Identifying the needs of gifted learners is an ongoing process. Student progress should be monitored over time, and educational goals adjusted, as appropriate, through the student’s Personal Education Plan.

The Gifted and Talented Program provides a range of program options and a continuum of services.

Advocacy protocols provide opportunities for ongoing identification of student needs for services provided in the Gifted and Talented Program.

April 9th Recap

We had our ACGE meeting on April 9th, our focus was on depth and complexity and our program goals. The GT Staff shared about the strategy of depth and complexity to help students think deeper. We sought input from the group to help us develop and refine our program goals for the upcoming school year.

We would love to have your participation in the future. We have two meetings a year: one in the winter and one in the spring. Please reach out to your GT specialist to get your name added to our email list.

Learning Corner

Do's and Dont's for Motivating Your High-Ability Child

By: Dr. Del Siegle and Dr. D Betsy McCoach

At Parent Day during NAGC's 2016 Convention in Orlando FL, scholars and parents Del Siegle and Betsy McCoach shared successful strategies and practices for motivating gifted children.
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Prairie Crest, Ridge, Heights, Hill, and View

Fourth Grade Math Students Study Tiny Houses

In conjunction with the fourth grade unit on area and perimeter, students were given the task to create a scale model of a tiny house. A tiny house is a home that has an area of less than 1000 square feet. To bring the experience to life, students visited the Kirkwood tiny house and measured the structure, including the appliances and furniture. With this information they returned to their classrooms and sketched out their own designs at a much smaller scale. Sketches were put into a final form, some with three dimensional furniture and light fixtures. With the confinement of 1000 square feet, students needed to think differently to ensure all of the required elements would fit into their model. Through the experience of visiting the house, and envisioning their own structure, students may have a new appreciation of the space that they live in!

For more information regarding the Kirkwood tiny house, please refer to this link.

Future Problem Solving

Once again our fourth graders participated in the Future Problem Solving International Program challenges this year. This past fall each team critically applied problem-solving strategies, collaboration and creative thinking to tackle several global concerns: toxic materials, the spread of infectious disease, and philanthrocapitalism (qualifying problem for state). Our eager teams followed the F.P.S. components for each issue:

1. Identify Challenges

2. Analyze & Select an Underlying Problem

3. Produce solutions ideas

4. Generate criteria to evaluate the best solution ideas

5. Evaluate the solution ideas

6. Develop an Action Plan

Future Problem Solving provides great opportunities for our gifted learners. Besides academically challenging, the groups worked collaboratively in like-minded high-ability problem-solving.

Prairie was well represented at the state problem solving competition with a team from View, Ridge and three teams from Creek! Before everyone put their serious cap on, the momento sharing helped participants meet people from all over Iowa. The glasses the fourth graders swapped were very popular. The challenge issued at the state level was on the topic of cloud storage. While at the state competition, everyone created a skit that represented their action plan. Our fourth graders had a blast creating costumes and props from limited materials, and their use of the surprise prop and quote was amazing! Even though neither elementary team advanced to the international competition with their action plan, the View team received 3rd place for their skit!! The fourth graders are all looking forward to next year's FPS!

ITEC Technology Fair

Three students from Prairie Hill will be participating in the ITEC Technology Fair at the Kirkwood Regional Center on May 3rd. ITEC sponsors two regional student technology fairs each spring. The technology fairs off K-12 students an opportunity to showcase technology-based projects created as part of their instructional curriculum in their schools.

Almost 300 projects will be presented statewide. The projects span eight different categories including web presence, programming, video/linear presentation, graphics/publishing, 3-D rendering/non-linear animation, music/sound design, mobile apps, and innovative technology use.

The three students attending created Adobe Spark pages and quizzes in Metaverse over their topics.

Prairie Creek

Future Problem Solving

FPS teams worked over the course of the year on several topics, including the spread of infectious disease, toxic materials, and philanthrocapitalism. Several teams received an invitation to state following the regional bowl and competed in Ames on April 13-14. The teams completed the six-step problem solving process on cloud storage and then created skits based on their action plan. Congratulations to all the teams for all their effort!

Crime Scene Unit

In this unit, several 6th grade students become crime scene investigators! They learn about Locard's Principle, the difference between direct and circumstantial evidence, police procedures at a crime scene, how to collect evidence, and the scientific method. Students also research the different types of careers in forensic science. For the project, students work in groups to solve a real-world problem. They also create their own crime scene, conduct an investigation, and make a video.

3-D Printing

Many students have been busy designing and creating with the 3D pen! They have created indoor and outdoor spaces as well as different objects, such as a helicopter and glasses. Students can also choose to create something from an existing template or create their own. They really enjoy this activity and I enjoy seeing all of their creations!
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National History Day

The theme this year was Conflict and Compromise and the competition was held in Iowa City at the Old Capital Museum on March 16. Several students competed in different categories, including individual websites, an exhibit, an individual performance, and group performances. There were a variety of topics from different time periods, such as Deborah Sampson who fought in the Revolutionary War to the All American Girls Professional Baseball League in the 1940s and 1950s.

Battle of the Books

Team members competed at the Battle of the Books competition in April. Over the course of several months, team members read a total of 30 books in several genres. They met weekly and participated in book discussions. At the competition, they had the privilege of listening to an author and learning about her life experiences. It was a great experience for the students and they enjoyed getting to know the other team members, reading different genres of books, and sharing what they read with others.

Note from Ms. Tendick

I have so enjoyed working with all my students in WIN and in my math and literacy groups this winter/spring. We’ve worked on math concepts, read short stories, read and discussed different books, and did an activity on summarizing the main idea. Have a great rest of the year and a fantastic summer!

Prairie Point

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Students Participate in Optimist Oratorical Competition - Others Write the Speech and Practice in Class

The Optimist Oratorical Competition takes place every year with more than 100 area middle and high school students competing over a two month period. Each year the topic connects to Optimism. This year’s topic was “Where Are My Roots of Optimism?” Students who competed are listed below. Others wrote a speech on the same topic and practiced their speaking skills in their language arts class and/or G/T pullout group.

Club Level Bronze Medalists: 7th Graders - Sydney Divoky, Johnnie Each, Lauren Keiper, David Munyakazi. 8th Graders - Megan Andeway, Alyza Koppes

Club Level Silver Medalists: 7th Graders - Elliot Bourgeous, William Wicks. 8th Grader - Faith Ehle. 9th Grader - Mia Henderson.

Club Level Gold Medalists: 7th Graders - Rylee Lueken, Emma Keiper. 8th Graders - Max Quanrud, Sydney Nemecek. 9th Graders- Karaline Schulte, Emma Speer.

Zone Level Competition, Saturday, March 24th. Max Quanrud, Sydney Nemecek, Emma Speer (Karaline Schulte qualified but could not attend, also not in photo)

Regional Level Competition, Saturday April 14th: 9th Grader - Emma Speer

Congratulations to all who participated in competition and who wrote the speech and gave it in their classrooms. Communication is a valuable skill set and helps with social and emotional middle school growth.

Future City Teams Present to Classes and Compete on January 20th.

Four teams competed in Future City Competition on January 20th here at Prairie Point. Future City is a nationwide competition with more than 40,000 middle schooler’s participating each year. This is a Science and Technology project based learning opportunity that helps students explore and engage in designing a city of the future after researching and exploring existing cities from around the world.

Students in 8th grade worked on Future City in an elective class and at home. The project required approximately 100 hours of student dedication and work, therefore about 25% of the work was done at home.

Teams also presented to classes and shared their design ideas in creative ways that explored this year’s Future City theme, an age-friendly city. Students visited assisted living facilities and nursing homes to help aid them in their research for this project. Each team had a unique design with a creative presentation that wowed their audiences.

April 13th 8th and 9th Grade Girls Attend Kirkwood High Tech Girls Day

Hear what some students had to say about the day:

“A notable thing I learned is what actual code language looks like and just how detailed and precise you have to be to successfully complete a task. It was an experience to be able to type it myself and be able to witness the fruits of my labors promptly by the end of the session. My favorite part of the day was doing the escape room activity. It really challenged me by working with others to complete a task and brainstorming different solutions. Overall, I was really impressed by how organized the day was and how smooth the transitions went. Much fun, very enjoyable.” Amy Millard

“I learned that even though Iowa may be separated from some of the states that are known to be more "technologically-advanced"- it does not impact our ability to keep up with up-to-date systems and does not have an effect on our engineers, who are constantly finding new ways to communicate.” Sydney Nemecek

“I learned how to turn photos into 3d videos, plus how easy it is to hack a website or computer. I think I might enjoy a job in the security IT field.” Alyza Koppes

“I enjoyed learning about interesting opportunities for jobs in the future in STEM careers. I also enjoyed the food a lot. I learned that python and Javascript can be used to create many interesting websites, apps and technology, and I learned how to get rid of a virus on a computer and get the internet to work without having to reset my router. Thanks for the experience.” Kaitlyn Sellon

Mythology Puppetry Communication Class

Students have been working hard on creating scripts and puppets to perform for younger G/T students in May. It’s exciting to see students find their voices and discover their passions for speech. Students play improv games, read, watch and listen to a plethora of mythology, play games, engage in readers theatre, storytelling, and make their own puppets to tell their stories.

Prairie High School

Mrs. Danker offers support for students who seek extra challenge or enrichment; need academic support; need advisement for college applications, scholarships, and career paths; want ideas for test prep; and/or have individual concerns that they want to share. ALL GT STUDENTS are encouraged to email Mrs. Danker or seek her out in the counseling office. All GT STUDENTS should be checking their GOOGLE CLASSROOM for information daily. ALL GT STUDENTS should have updated their Personal Education Plans for the year. Parents, School, and Community: thank you for supporting OUR KIDS!

GT Mentoring- High School and Elementary GT

Cade and AJ share some drawings they’ve made for Cade’s story that he’ll animate on his ipad. AJ volunteers during his study hall to meet with Cade regularly. All GT HS students are encouraged to share their skills and talents with others.

World Food Prize- Global Youth Institute

Congratulations to senior Mithilesh Sivaprakash for his achievement with the World Food Prize. Mithilesh was invited to share his research at the Iowa Youth Institute in Ames. His research on water scarcity in India has awarded him the title of Borlaug Scholar. Mithilesh will be eligible for a scholarship at Iowa State University for his achievements.

Scholastic Art and Writing Competition

Picture left to right: Congratulations to Nick Johnson, Audrey Wheeler, Courtney Vondracek, and Grace Estenson for their award winning entries in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition! They were honored in a ceremony at The University of Iowa in March. Nick and Grace’s writing and photography (respectively) have gone on to receive further recognition. Congratulations students!!
Prairie Chess Club

Thank you to CCSD Board member and state chess official Jim Hodina for your ongoing leadership and support!