Various Programs for Talented Students
If you’re a talented student or the parent of one (or more!), with a bit of research, you can find programs that are designed to enrich your talents and help you pursue your interests and goals. Schools, non-profit organizations, colleges, and a variety of other organizations offer programs to students to further their educations in specialized areas. While this is not an exhaustive list of where to find enrichment programs, it will help you find a few to get started.
Check with your school to find enrichment programs first. For example, many schools offer a gifted and talented program for students who demonstrate higher-than-average academic abilities. Even if your school doesn’t offer a gifted and talented program, it might partner with another school in the district or area that does. Make sure to ask around. Schools also offer programs that teach children musical instruments, foreign languages, singing, art, theatre, physical education (also known as athletics at the high school level), computer science, even cosmetology and auto technician training, among many other career-oriented programs.
Also check into local private, charter, and magnet schools that offer specialized programming for children interested in a particular area. For instance, there may be a magnet school in your city that offers a program in world languages by immersion. (Magnet and charter schools are public, so they are free.)
High schools also offer advanced placement classes in many locations for students who want to take a college –level class. After passing an exam at the end of the year, the students receive college credit for those classes. Dual-enrollment classes are another option for high school students who want to receive college and high school credit. Students attend classes at a local college and receive credit for the work they do for both high school and college. These classes are often free.
After-school programs are another type of enrichment program. There are clubs for everything from sign-language to coding. If your child is interested in a particular area, but your school doesn’t have a program for it, see about starting a club for that subject at your school. You can also talk to other local schools to see if your child or you, if you’re a student, can participate.
Check with nonprofit organizations in your area to see what types of classes and programs they offer children and youth. They may run programs after school in area schools, such as coding classes, or they may provide on-site programs in their building. You may have to pay a fee for classes that non-profits offer, but they may provide a sliding scale based on income or some sort of financial assistance. If you’re not sure about fees, make sure to ask.
Also, check with your local government. Many cities and counties offer programs for youth and children during the school year through the local youth center or maybe through the parks and recreation department. These classes are particularly abundant during the summer and other school breaks. Don’t forget to check out the local library. They often provide classes for teens and children throughout the year on a variety of topics, not just books. Finally, check out the local museums. They may provide enrichment programs for young people as well.
Many colleges offer enrichment programs for talented students in a variety of areas during school breaks, particularly in the summer. They cover a range of topics, and students get to go in depth learning about the topics of most interest to them. These programs are offered around the country and on college campuses of all sizes. They are one way that colleges reach out to the local community.
Author: Leyla Norman
Leyla is a certified English as a second language teacher as well as a certified PK-6 and 7-12 English teacher. She lives in Texas with her husband, and three children (The twins keep her the most busy!). She is also a freelance education writer, private English tutor, and student in a master's of Applied Linguistics -TESOL program..
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