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Bloomington Public Schools
Gifted & Talented Newsletter
Winter 2023

Please click at the bottom to expand this newsletter in its entirety.
Families Unite!
If you would like to collaborate with other GT program families, click on the appropriate link and add/edit your contact information on this directory. Parent efforts are being made to create small "base groups" so students can have personal interaction with a few classmates on a regular basis to do homework or other school projects. Feel free to use this directory to reach out to one another for support and to plan activities this school year! Please know that this is optional and it is up to parents to monitor and manage.
Important Dates
  • March 4, 2023 MCGT Speaker Series
  • March 6-7 No school for students
  • March 24, 2023 Second round nominations due
  • March 24, 2023 Nobel Drama Choros public performance, VVMS 7:00p.m.

  • August 4, 2023 Final round nominations due
Educational Opportunities for GT Families
Speaker: Executive Functioning Skills, Presenter Erika Kluge
Saturday, March 4,⋅9:00 – 11:00am via Zoom

MCGT 2023 Speaker Series with Erika Kluge: Help! My Child is Gifted/2e, Yet Struggles in School

It is never too early to question why a child appears frustrated or dislikes academic tasks. Acquiring help, accommodations, and/or necessary documentation are critical to a successful K - 12 experience, as well as transitions into college and career.
During this session, understand how to help your gifted and talented or 2E child remain challenged and achieve their learning potential while reducing frustration associated with reading, writing, and executive function skills, from K-12 into college. 

  • Learn how to identify why your child or student is frustrated with academic tasks
  • Understand how to ensure your child/student receives the help they need within the school setting, and how to plan for a successful transition into college/career - from classroom modifications to accommodations for high-stakes exams
  • Understand your child’s educational rights and Accessible Educational Materials
  • Learn about Accessible Text and how it might be essential for students who struggle with reading and writing tasks.
Erika Kluge is the owner of THINK with Success and an Assistive Technology (AT) Special Educator. She is a past recipient of the Minnesota STAR Program’s Awards for Excellence in Assistive Technology. Her experience encompasses all age groups, emphasizing AT to enhance reading, writing, note-taking, study and test prep, and executive function skills. Erika’s passions are educating professionals, parents, and students about AT and technology for academic, career, and life success.
Exciting Javits Grant Update
As part of our federal Javits grant, the Bloomington GT department is excited to announce the launch of the Renaissance Program!

Renaissance is launching next fall and will be located at Washburn Elementary. This program will start by enrolling 2nd grade and add an additional grade level each year until the program is fully realized with grades 2-5 in the fall of 2027. Renaissance will be similar to current programming, with full-time gifted classrooms but with a focus on students from underrepresented populations capable of performing one or more years above grade level in all curricular areas. There will be a focus on critical and creative thinking models.

We are so excited to launch this program and welcome conversations with folks interested in learning more or being a part of Renaissance.
If you want to continue this conversation, please reach out to Jillian Chapman @
Bloomington chose the name Renaissance as a nod to the Harlem Renaissance - a period in American history following the Great Migration when Harlem was an epicenter of American culture. Paying homage to the history, Renaissance will incorporate resilience, critical and creative thought, and community into the program, while also holding true to more conventional definitions of Renaissance - a period of revival, one of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity.
Goodbye and Hello!
Sean Hildebrandt, our middle school gifted coordinator, has resigned to take a new position in the corporate world. Jim Hanson and Lisa Kiner will assume Sean's duties for the rest of this school year. Lisa taught language arts at Oak Grove Middle School and is currently the high school gifted coordinator. Jim is a retired Bloomington teacher who filled in as middle school gifted coordinator from 2016 to 2018.

Contact Information:
Elementary News
All Elements Students
Learning to Compromise
All Elements students work with Mr. Kaari once a week to practice social skills and learning strategies. 
Recently, students focused on the concept of compromise and were challenged to choreograph a group dance!
Oak Grove Elements
Constellations and Auroras
Second and third grade studied constellations and the indigenous people of Minnesota. After reading books about auroras, they created their own aurora illustrations with oil pastels and paint.
Ridgeview Elements
Literature and Ecology
The Ridgeview Elements program has been busy making connections in our new "Interactions in Ecology and Literature" unit. Students have been looking at the world around them and seeing how living and non-living things interact. They have been researching animal food chains, experimenting with color and art, and reading and discussing the characters in "The One and Only Ivan" by Katherine Applegate.
Renaissance Professional Development
GT Dept. Hosts PD on Creativity Strategies
Members of the GT dept. hosted creativity sessions for both elementary specialists and secondary staff during recent district professional development days. Because creativity can be grown, there are easy techniques that can be imbedded into any content area to improve students' creative thinking abilities.

Teachers engaged in a variety of activities around the 4 creative thinking skills:
  • Fluency
  • Flexibility
  • Originality
  • Elaboration
Both the middle school and high school Nobel programs along with our Javits-grant-supported Renaissance program (new starting in 2023-24) measure creative talents as part of their identification protocol. Helping teachers to expose more students to these skills is an important aspect of mining for talents, and also for being able to match creatively talented students to programs and services.

Middle School News
Middle School Civics Bee
The City-Wide Civics Bee Championship 2022-23 was held on January 25 at the Bloomington Civic Plaza. The Civics Bee is the result of a collaborative effort by the Bloomington League of Women Voters and the Bloomington Public Schools Gifted & Talented Department, with support from the City of Bloomington’s Community Outreach & Engagement Division. It was a great night and our BPS 7th-grade contestants were very impressive. Here are the results:
1st place -- Zach Hodgson (Oak Grove Middle School)
2nd place -- Aidan Andrews (Olson Middle School)
3rd place -- Momo Hawkinson (Valley View Middle School)

Below are the three winners with Bloomington mayor Tim Busse, who was the Civics Bee moderator.
Drama Choros Returns to Nobel
Drama Choros is the choral performance of the written word that has roots in ancient Greek Theatre. During the week of February 6 - 10, our artist-in-residence David Eisenstat taught Nobel students how to chorally perform classic poems like “Casey at the Bat.” David returns the week of March 20 - 24 to rehearse the Nobel classes for their public performances on Friday, March 24. During the day, the Nobel Drama Choros will perform at four Bloomington elementary schools. A final performance for parents, friends, and relatives is set for 7:00 pm at Valley View Middle School.
David rehearses the Nobel 8th graders to perform Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll.
Oak Grove Students Become Detectives
Who Murdered Shakespeare?
Haley Wender's 8th-grade language arts class held a murder mystery event to find Shakespeare's killer. Students researched and then assumed the roles of prominent characters from various plays.
Debate Summer Camp for Middle School Students
Augsburg runs a series of summer debate camps called the Minnesota Debate Advocacy Workshops. They are fun, even if the student doesn't plan to join the Bloomington debate team. If interested, Jefferson and Kennedy do Congressional debate, so these camps are more useful if the student thinks they might want to do debate in high school.  

Augsburg also has scholarships for students to help with the cost.

Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth
Looking for a challenging summer camp for a middle school student? This quote from the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth may describe what you are looking for.

"MITY’s program for middle school students provides a unique opportunity to investigate new topics and dive deeper into students' passions at a level that is challenging and motivating. Intellectually curious students take two classes, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, enabling them to explore different disciplines, experience things that are not possible within a normal school setting, and forge new friendships."

For more information

Erin Boltik - Director of Gifted Talented K-12
Phone: 952-681-6497
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