Designing Your Course

The goals of Summer Academy are to provide courses which:


  1. Are designed with the special needs of high-potential students in mind.
  2. Seek to address the four dimensions of a program that promotes leadership skills for high-potential students.  These include: content, organization, creative problem solving, and affective needs combined with group communication skills.
  3. Are likely to broaden the scope of the curricula available in most participating districts.

Courses should be designed to meet the unique needs of the high- potential student, and are expected to develop the student’s skills of leadership, creativity, problem solving and communication in a challenging, analytical atmosphere as outlined in the above goals.

Course objectives should be attained through the use of structured activities, extensive emphasis on higher-level questioning, peer interaction and critical analysis.  A field trip is expected.  Worksheets are not encouraged.  Most important of all, the Academy experience should be both challenging and fun!

Summer Academy Course Areas

Fine Arts

In fine arts classes, students with advanced thinking skills use new and traditional techniques and processes to achieve effective artistic expressions of their ideas.  Students will receive critical feedback from the staff and are actively involved in the critical analysis of other students’ works.


Language Arts

Language arts courses include those emphasizing written expression, literature, foreign languages and oral communication.  Students are encouraged to identify the elements of effective communication and to express themselves in a unique manner.  Their ability to observe the subtleties of their environment enhances the quality of their works.  Literature courses involve in-depth analysis of selected works. Foreign language courses examine the structure of the language and the culture of the countries.


Science & Mathematics

Classes incorporate creativity, higher-level thinking skills and scientific theory to improve the student’s analysis and problem solving abilities.  Mathematics students will be encouraged to identify those problem solving strategies which increase effectiveness.  Science courses are designed to develop critical observation skills through laboratory experiences.  These observations are then analyzed to develop new hypotheses.  Staff is urged to use technology as a tool in analysis, not as an independent course.


Social Science

Social science students participate in extensive dialogue on critical issues.  They analyze the contributions of culture, key events, significant leaders, and economics to the formation of opinions.  Ideas should be examined from historical, current and future perspectives. The applicant’s ability to facilitate these discussions is critical to the success of the course.  Students must be taught the necessary research skills, and be encouraged to see the relationships between apparently unrelated events.


Integrated Courses

This is a special dimension of the Summer Academy for grades 2 and 3 that reflects the needs of the young, gifted child.  Each course proposal should focus on a theme to be pursued through an integrated selection of activities from the fine arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. Applicants should demonstrate an understanding of the unique needs of young, gifted children and have prior experience with this population.