Spring 2021 GT Newsletter

News from the College Community School District GT Team

Happy Spring Everyone!

We made it through another winter, and summer is just around the corner. This portion of our GT newsletter includes some ideas for summer camps, and a great resource to help your student pick out some fantastic books!

Summer Camp Information:

We’ve continued to share ideas for summer fun over the years because we always get questions about it, and it is so important that gifted kids have opportunities to dabble in areas of their interest. Narrowing down which camp to choose can be overwhelming and if you’ve googled ‘summer camps 2021’ you’ve seen the long list of programs for our area. We can’t list them all! However, there are a few that we have heard good things about and may be a good fit for your child/ren. Many of these also have financial assistance programs, before and after daycare, etc so you’ll need to really check things out.

(We are not in any way connected to any of these camps, so please direct any questions you have to the camp.)

  • The Belin-Blank Center in Iowa City has camps designed for gifted learners. Many of our students have attended these courses, and they always have great things to say about them. Start here: https://belinblank.education.uiowa.edu/students/#summer, many of their programs are on hiatus, but there are some for high school students that are available this summer.

  • For all sorts of STEAM, cooking, and other passion areas Kirkwood summer camps may be what you’re looking for! Go to: https://www.kirkwood.edu/kick and click on ‘View the Brochure’. So many classes!

  • If your child loves chess, the Prairie Chess Camp is so much fun! Here is a note from the director Jim Hodina: The Prairie Chess Club will be hosting its annual Prairie Chess Camp July 19-23. The chess camp is organized by Prairie volunteers and taught by chess professionals. The camp runs from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm each day, Monday through Friday, for the week. Beginners to experienced scholastic players welcome. Space is limited. For details and to reserve your spot, visit www.chessiniowa.org/2021Camp.

  • For your older children… The Jacobson Institute has an entrepreneur camp for students entering 5th-9th grades. Here is the link to their virtual camps: Jacobson Institute Summer Camps 2021

  • College for Kids is held at Coe College for 2 week sessions in June and July for students who have completed 6th, 7th, or 8th grade. https://www.gwaea.org/parents/college-kids.

  • Iowa State College of Design is offering Design Dimensions focusing on 2D, 3D, and 4D thinking across disciplines. This camp is for students thinking of architecture, studio/fine arts, community and regional planning, graphic design, interior design, industrial design and landscape architecture. Students entering 9th through 12th grades and 2021 graduates.https://www.design.iastate.edu/future-students/k-12-experiences/k12outreach/

  • Wartburg College Summer Leadership & Service Summit - Earn college credit, grow as a leader, and improve your community this summer. Students between their junior and senior year of high school may attend a week-long online institute to study and practice leadership skills and service as a form of community and civic engagement.https://www.wartburg.edu/lss

  • Missouri University of Science and Technology - Several different science, engineering, and technology camps. https://futurestudents.mst.edu/summer-camps/

  • AgDiscovery 2021 - AgDiscovery is a unique opportunity for middle school and high school students to explore agricultural sciences, and gain knowledge about careers in animal and plant disciplines, wildlife management, veterinary medicine, biotechnology, entomology, food safety, food production, agribusiness, forestry, and MUCH more! https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/civilrights/agdiscovery/ct_agdiscovery_program

Also, gifted kids need to play too! Sometimes a pool pass or time with family and friends is just as great as the camps!

Novel Conversations!

Gifted kids sometimes have problems finding books to read. In elementary school they have moved from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’, but they sometimes can’t find something interesting to them! Consider trying books that make them think, or where the characters are relatable to gifted kids. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a list of these books right at your fingertips?? Well, here it is!!

Every year at our Iowa Talented and Gifted Conference, teachers Christie McConthany and Jenny Schiltz present their list of books they feel are great reads for gifted children and adults. We look forward to seeing their lists because they always have great reasons for choosing the books they choose. The lists contain many different topics/reading levels so there’s something for everyone. While looking through these, remember that it’s good for kids to continue to read a balance of picture books and chapter books. Many of the picture books have quite a high reading level and have great messages so don’t forget about those! The lists are on the site called Novel Conversations. It now consists of 8 book lists- just click on the lists in the middle of the page. As stated on the site: “Novel Conversations is the brainchild of Christie McConathy and Jenny Schiltz, both avid readers of children's, middle grade and young adult literature. Having collectively worked in gifted education for over 35 years, the two began actively searching for books that depicted gifted children, were developmentally appropriate and included complex plots, well-developed characters, and thought provoking themes. The lists found on this site are the compilation of those efforts.”

Here is the site! Happy Reading! https://novelconversations.weebly.com/lists.html

The Advisory Council on Gifted Education (A.C.G.E) spring meeting is scheduled:

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021
  • @ 6:00-7:00 pm
  • Virtually: Meeting ID: 839 9963 7663Passcode: L9WN4K
  • Topics: Perfectionism, Peer Relationships and Underachieving & Asynchronous Development (@ all levels)

If you participated in the winter meeting earlier this school year, thank you for your participation. To all our parents/guardians of GT students, the Advisory Council for Gifted Education holds meetings twice a year. We invite all our parents and guardians of students identified as gifted to participate. Here is our website where ACGE objectives and previous minutes are kept.

Our team hopes you will join us virtually for these hot topics in gifted education! If possible please email your child's GT teacher to let them know you will be joining, but again all are welcome even without notification.


At the High School, we had several students who participated in the 2021 Regional Scholastic Awards in writing and art categories, and won!

Chase Robertson received four Honorable Mentions through the Scholastic Awards for the following photography pieces: "Legacy", "Echoes of Summer", "Hot Spring", and "Ripples in the Sky".

Johnnie Each received two Gold Key Awards through the Scholastic Awards for the following poems: "An Ode to Womanhood" and "Where I'm From", as well as an Honorable Mention for the poem "Teenage Girls & Eve".


We are pleased to announce that Johnnie Each, a Prairie High School Sophomore, won a Silver National Medal Award through the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, a part of The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, for her poem, “Where I’m From.”

More than 80,000 students submitted nearly 230,000 works of art and writing to the 2020 Scholastic Awards. Johnnie’s work was selected by some of the foremost leaders in the visual and literary arts for excellence in originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. Less than 2,000 works received a National Medal, which places Johnnie within the top 1% of all submissions!


Students Participate in Virtual Future City Competition!

Congrats to Reegan Lueken, Benjamin Hollinger and Theo Glenn for their hard work and participation in this year’s virtual Future City Competition. The students created a future city on the moon.

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7th/8th graders Rock Academic Pentathlon District Competition!

Fourteen 7th/8th grade gifted and talented students competed in District Academic Pentathlon Competition taking exams in multiple content areas with the 2020-21 theme of “The Cold War”. Students have been participating in after school study groups to prepare for this competition. They will continue to State in April.

9th Grade Girls Rock Academic Decathlon District Competition and Continue to State!

Savannah Chase and Sophia Johnson have been busy studying for Academic Decathlon. Several awards from District competition allowed the girls to move to State Competition. The girls competed in multiple content area tests, a speech, impromptu speech and an interview. All content area tests were related to the 2020-21 theme of “The Cold War”. Congrats to both girls! Next year’s decathlon team is already in the making with 8th grade Pentathlon students.

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National History Day Students Submit Their Project and are Going to State!

Aleena Whittenburg and Emma Stahlberg entered the National History Day Competition and submitted their Cold War performance based on research using primary and secondary sources. Congrats to both for their dedication and hard work.

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Collins Aerospace’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering 2020

Five girls from each school in Iowa are invited to attend this engineering event each year. The girls’ day started with a welcome from Jacy Haefke, VP of Mission Systems Human Resources and Jade Groen, Associate Director, Program Management. The event also included engineering activity sessions, a prosthetic arm build, tours, and discussions with company female innovators. Nominated and invited to attend this year’s event (photo left to right) were: Megan Mallicoat, Sophia Johnson, Allison Jarvella, Sophia Johnson, Madeleine Esno and Katy Gerdes. The girls assembled a prosthetic arm that will be given to someone in need.

Optimist Oratorical Competition is Underway!

Eleven Point gifted and talented students competed in the Optimist Oratorical competition. Point has four Gold Medalists who will compete for a Regional Level Competition. All 7th grade students wrote an introduction to the speech and gave it in a pull out class. Other students wrote the entire 4-5 minute speech and competed with other area gifted and talented students. More photos to come in the yearbook.

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Creek students have been busy working on projects! The math groups have been working on volume and area and the literacy groups have been reading the book Hidden Figures and learning about mock trial. As part of mock trial, students have learned how to write direct and cross examinations as well as how to do a re-direct and a re-cross. Students have also created many projects with the 3D pens this year. Lots of creativity! The Future Problem Solving groups learned about the topic Human Environmental Impact and the teams participated in the regional bowl on March 1st. The Battle of the Books team has been busy reading the books on their list and they are preparing for their competition on April 13th. It’s been a great year and I have enjoyed working with my students!


PRAIRIE ELEMENTARY UPDATES from Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Mason & Mrs. Zastrow

Our Future Problem Solvers competed virtually this year! Activities helped teams understand the qualifying problem: "Human Impact on the Environment". This activity was Environment Jenga!

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A local Cedar Rapids mural artist spoke to Sophia about 'open call' where artists can bid on community opportunities. Passion projects allow our 4th graders to explore their many interests.

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Our pandemic did not stop our 4th graders from interviewing our community members about their careers for which they sought answers for their passion projects! Mr. Rigdon, a Prairie graduate, shared his programming knowledge with several students.
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Ms. Yorgenson is Crest's art teacher who has partnered with several 4th graders to improve our equipment shed with two TAG students' ideas.

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4th Grade GT students are collaborating and working on personal projects. They are doing some amazing work with robotics!
4th grade NonVerbal students work on Stop Animation videos where they plan, design, film and edit their own Stop Motion videos.
4th Grade Quantitative students work on honing their algebra skills, using Hands on Equations, which is a manipulative based conceptual approach to solving advanced algebra problems.