Gifted students in grades 6–8 pursue challenges suited to their unique abilities.
Our Gifted and Talented Academy offers experiences for students that develop their intellect, encourage achievement, and nurture academic and personal goals. Academy students in grades 6-8 participate in a more elaborate, in-depth study of major topics, and engage in problem solving that integrates knowledge across systems of thought. In addition, our Academy teachers encourage students to demonstrate leadership qualities, high-level practical skills, and a capacity for creative thinking, with the understanding that gifted middle school students may experience asynchronous development of intellectual, social and emotional skills. Each Academy student benefits from a personalized learning plan that is built upon his or her strengths and needs. As part of a distance learning program, this process allows Academy teachers to collaborate with individual students to develop a path that focuses on areas of interest and future goals.
The Laurel Springs Gifted and Talented Academy offers families all the opportunities of an elite private school including highly qualified teachers, excellent curriculum, academic counseling and mentoring. Curriculum options include acceleration in all academic areas, as well as opportunities to conduct in-depth research projects on topics of the student’s choosing. Our Academy students are placed in the most appropriate courses for their learning level, regardless of their chronological age.
How the Gifted and Talented Academy Works
Middle school students in the Gifted and Talented Academy work independently and with their teachers, and also collaborate with like-minded peers through online discussions, seminars and classes. The Academy offers virtual classroom experiences and the advantage of working in small, intimate groups, so students can get to know each other and feel supported by their peers and teachers. Academy students are placed in the most appropriate courses for their learning level, regardless of their chronological age.
The Academy teacher group is a small cohort of teachers with specialized training and experience in gifted education. They are trained to create unique learning paths within their courses, enabling students to pursue greater depth and breadth in the content area, based on individual needs. Academy teachers specialize in the art of differentiated instruction for various types of gifted learners. One-to-one communication is the basis for an educational dialogue that encourages students to move beyond what they could achieve in a traditional setting.
Academy students are encouraged to stretch their capability of complex analysis, evaluation, in-depth exploration and critical thinking. The Academy Project is an opportunity for each student to conduct in-depth research in an area of particular interest. The development of superior writing and research skills is an important aspect of this program component. Our Academy students present their research through an original piece of writing or through an exhibition, such as a film, photography collection, or the creation of a website. Students are encouraged to explore an area of interest to them. Some examples of past Academy Project topics include endangered species, autism, Irish dancing, bone injuries, and dog training. These research projects are often developed around a student’s specific gift or talent, providing an exciting journey of deeper involvement and understanding of his or her favorite artistic, musical, athletic, or intellectual pursuits.
The Academy’s series of symposia on advanced topics feature guest speakers who are professionals and experts from a variety of disciplines. Our symposia speakers have included an astronaut, a film producer, an environmental activist, and an Antarctic explorer. Academy students work independently and with their teachers and also collaborate with like-minded peers through online discussions, seminars, and classes.
The Academy program coordinator holds conferences with families to stay current with each student’s progress and individual needs. These conferences discuss academic plans, course choices, support options, and other program components. A dedicated Academy school counselor is assigned to each student. This school counselor helps students create a long-term academic plan that includes coursework to best fit individual needs and abilities. The Academy’s 12-month enrollment period offers increased flexibility. Additionally, students can opt to stagger courses according to their own schedule and preferences.
The Laurel Springs Middle School Gifted and Talented Academy admits students on a year-round basis, though most students follow a traditional fall to early summer schedule.The ideal candidate has a proven record of academic excellence, high achievement in areas of personal interest beyond academics, strong test results, and recommendations from teachers and mentors. The Gifted and Talented Academy continues through grades 9-12 to provide a smooth transition for Academy students as they progress from middle school to high school. Students are placed in courses according to their ability level, not chronological age.Students who are interested in applying for acceptance into our Academy program should complete and submit the following forms for our Academy selection committee to review. It is important to complete and submit all documents to be considered for Academy acceptance.
Tuition for the Middle School Gifted and Talented Academy is as follows:
- $8,000 for a full year
- $4,500 for a semester
Academy tuition includes the following benefits:
- Up to 6 courses/6 credits (3 credits for semester enrollment), with personalized teacher service and curriculum materials
- Symposia participation
- Elective and PE Portfolios as required or desired
- Mentor-teacher services
- Personal academic counselor
- Learning style profile and consultation with learning success coach
- Lab kits, enrollment fees, shipping costs and sales taxes (CA residents only)
Additional courses are $1,600 each for a full year and $800 each for a semester.
For more information about admission requirements and the application process, call 877-925-1451.