Colorado College's Gifted and Talented Program Celebrates 30 Years of Inspiring Students - Colorado College

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For Immediate Release

Leslie Weddell
(719) 389-6038



Applications now being accepted for 2011 summer session; deadline is March 11

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Feb. 21, 2011 – Colorado College’s renowned summer program for gifted and talented children is celebrating its 30th year. Developed in 1981 when very few such programs existed, the three-week summer session offers a variety of hands-on classes for gifted elementary-school students.

The program was developed 30 years ago to provide gifted children constructive summertime learning and engagement. The program was a pioneer at the time and remains one of very few such programs, particularly for children younger than 10, said Director Charlotte Mendoza, chair of the education department at Colorado College.

Today, such well-established programs are even more crucial, as public schools face unrelenting budget cuts. All too often, programs for gifted and talented students are among the first to be eliminated.

The program draws students from all over the United States, as well as from throughout Colorado, Mendoza said. She attributes the success of the program to a variety of factors, including:

  • Teachers who truly enjoy working with gifted children.
  • Engagement of children who share similar attributes and characteristics and are excited about learning.
  • A supportive environment with excellent pupil-teacher ratio.
  • A curriculum that is creative and challenging.

Children entering first through six grades are eligible. This year’s program runs from June 13 through July 1; applications, which require an educator’s recommendation, are due March 11. Eight courses will be offered, with and tuition for this year’s program is $240.

There are no grades and no report cards in the program.“It’s learning for learning’s sake. The philosophy of the summer program is complementary to CC’s: It concentrates on academic challenge and promotes divergent thinking,” Mendoza said. The courses, which stress interdisciplinary learning, are designed to challenge students’ intellectual and creative abilities, and emphasize hands-on, minds-on learning.

Such programs are important, Mendoza says, because research shows that the single most advantageous thing one can do for gifted students is to cluster them together.

Participants get lots of attention: In addition to the teacher, students who are in Colorado College’s Master of Arts in Teaching program help develop the curriculum and assist in the class. The summer program teachers serve as role models; Mendoza said research shows that a positive first teaching experience vastly improves a teacher’s chances of staying in the profession.

Not only is it fun for the students, but also for the teachers, who get to design and create their own curriculum. “You don’t have to worry about testing or data performance,” said Dedra Montoya, who teaches a Shakespeare course at the summer program. “It’s the art of teaching, not the science of teaching.”

The courses are divided by grade levels, with choices increasing as the students get older. The eight courses offered this summer range from “Creepy Crawling Through Eric Carle Books” for incoming first graders to “Worst Case Scenario: LOST!” a survival adventure class for incoming sixth graders.

A popular course, also offered this year, is the Elizabethan Shakespeare class taught by Dedra Montoya, of Steele Elementary. This year the class will perform “The Tempest.”

Applications are now being accepted for the program; parents will be notified of acceptance in April. To apply, write or call: Colorado College Education Department, Attn: Gerri Anne Reed, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St., Colorado Springs, CO 80903 (719) 389-6169.

For more information, go to:

For information, directions or disability accommodation, members of the public may call (719) 389-6607.

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 2,025 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week segments. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit <>.