Education Program for Gifted Youth

Education Program for Gifted Youth

The Education Program for Gifted Youth, at Stanford University, is a gifted education program which offers distance and residential summer courses for students of all ages. It is a distance learning program, meaning that courses are taught remotely via the Internet, rather than in the traditional classroom setting. Courses target students from elementary school up to advanced college graduate. Subjects offered include: Mathematics, English, Humanities, Physics, and Computer Science. EPGY is similar to the Center for Talented Youth at the Johns Hopkins University in terms of certain objectives.


In the early 1960s, Stanford professors Patrick Suppes and Richard C. Atkinson began researching whether computers could be effectively used in schools to teach math and reading to children. At the time, their area of research was known as "computer-aided education". Atkinson eventually left to pursue a career as an administrator (he would retire as President of the University of California), but Suppes stayed. Later Suppes extended his research to college-level material, and computer-based courses in Logic and Set Theory were offered to Stanford undergraduates from 1972 to 1992.

In 1985, Suppes received a "proof of concept" grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a computerized first-year calculus course for young teenagers. For the summer of 1990, approximately 40 junior high and high school students with some knowledge of algebra were selected for a five-week instructor-taught accelerated precalculus course at Foothill College. Of those students, thirteen located at seven local schools were invited to take the computer-based calculus course during the subsequent school year, 1990-91. All thirteen took the Advanced Placement AB Calculus examination in May 1991. Six students scored 5, six scored 4, and one scored 3.

Following this initial success, computer-based courses in Beginning Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, and Precalculus were created to replace the accelerated summer course. These courses were tested during the 1991-92 academic year with a new group of students. At the same time, the calculus course was expanded to include the material necessary for the BC examination. That year four students took the BC examination, with all scoring 5.

In fall 1992, after porting the software to the Windows operating system, the Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) was formally launched at Stanford University, making these courses generally available.

The EPGY Online High School

Most recently, EPGY received a substantial and generous gift to found an online high school independent of its regular distance learning courses. It is formally titled "The Education Program for Gifted Youth Online High School at Stanford University," but is typically referred to as the OHS or the EPGY OHS. The OHS officially commenced in September 7, 2006, with an extended set of courses in the humanities and social sciences. The Online High School accepted thirty students for their inaugural year and projects an enrollment of up to three hundred in the years to come. Recently, the Online High School received official accreditation from the Western Association of Schools.

Application and admission

The application and admission process is rigorous and closely resembles a college application with certain unique features, such as evidence of giftedness and online class experience. The application is based on a portfolio that includes evidence of exceptional ability through test scores, transcripts, and various other means of the applicant's choosing, as well as samples of work, essays, current intellectual interests and teacher recommendations.

Tuition and financial aid

The OHS website furnishes these details regarding tuition and financial aid:

Academic Year Tuition* for EPGY OHS 2008-09 Enrollment

(1) Semester Tuition(2) Academic Year Tuition

Full-time (more than 3 classes)(1) $6,500(2) $13,000

Part-time ( 1, 2, or 3 classes)(1) $4,000(2) $8,000

Leave of absence(1) $500(2) $1,000

*These numbers are subject to revision. Final figures will be set in Jan. 2008.

To ensure that those qualified for the OHS can attend, the OHS continues to develop a robust financial aid program. Applications for financial aid are available to students on request.


The goals of the EPGY OHS are as follows:
* To prepare gifted students for success both in life and in their future intellectual pursuits.
* To provide gifted students everywhere with an opportunity to receive an education comparable to that offered by the best schools in the world.
* To provide a high school diploma, thereby making it possible for gifted students to pursue advanced academic opportunities without worrying about how those opportunities fit into their high school’s diploma requirements.

Who Might Be Interested

On its website, OHS lists several types of students who might be interested in applying, and to whom the OHS curriculum is conducive. Among them are gifted students in rural areas, those who are homeschooled, those who would enter college early without a high school diploma, those in Title I schools, those seeking a more advanced curriculum to expand on that of their normal high school, and those whose interests may be divergent from the standard high school curriculum.

World's First

Although both gifted education and online learning have existed (independently) for quite some time, EPGY OHS is the first to synthesize these two into a diploma-granting, independent high school with both secondary and post-secondary level classes. According to the [ OHS website] , it is a unique idea in the sense that it attracts many kids and offers more classes outside of the normal EPGY courses, with a central theme of argumentation and discussion in the writing and humanities courses and enhanced mathematical content in the natural and social science courses. OHS offers core classes, another unique and distinguishing feature. OHS also notes on its website that although it offers many AP courses, these courses will be more conducive to the gifted milieu, and will primarily serve as preparation for more advanced college courses. To this end, OHS courses (AP and others) are enhanced in depth of material and in content to emphasize the critical thinking theme of the high school. OHS also uses a more college-like schedule, with both seminar and directed study courses and more time devoted to studying outside of the classroom environment. OHS also recognizes and accepts that students will want to continue taking courses at their local high schools, as is indicated on their website, and thus allows for a "joint enrollment" program for such students.

ummer Institutes

In addition to internet-based courses for accelerated students and the Online High School, the Education Program for Gifted Youth hosts the Summer Institutes and the Middle School Program in June, July and August.

EPGY Summer Institutes

The EPGY Summer Institutes are three-week and four-week residential programs for academically talented and motivated high-school students. The Summer Institutes provide an opportunity for these students to enrich and accelerate their academic pursuits and to meet others who share their interests and abilities. Past EPGY Summer Institutes participants have come from 44 countries and 49 states.

Summer Institutes participants live in supervised Stanford housing and are taught by Stanford instructors. Students engage in intensive study in a single course, and they are introduced to topics not typically presented at the high-school level. The Summer Institutes provide a taste of college life in the beautiful surroundings of the Stanford campus.

Summer Institutes subject areas include mathematics, science, writing, humanities, computer science, engineering and [ business] . The instructors are assisted by undergraduate and graduate student mentors who have expertise in the course subject areas. These mentors serve a dual role of Residential Counselor and Teaching Assistant so that the academic and social aspects of the program are tightly integrated.

Middle School Program

The university also offers the Middle School Program ("MSP"). The EPGY Summer Institutes Middle School Program (MSP) consists of three two-week sessions for students in grade 6 and 7. Similar to the Summer Institutes for high-school students, this program provides academic enrichment, a taste of college life at Stanford, and the opportunity to meet others with similar interests and abilities. However, rather than pursuing focused study on a single topic, students study several related topics within a single subject area.

Summer Institutes MSP participants live in supervised Stanford housing, and are taught by Stanford instructors. The instructors are assisted by undergraduate and graduate student mentors who have expertise in the course subject areas. These mentors serve a dual role of Residential Counselor and Teaching Assistant so that the academic and social aspects of the program are tightly integrated. The courses include material not typically presented at the middle-school level. Course offerings include Mathematics, Computer Programming, Physical Science, Expository Writing and Creative Writing. Students participate in a single intensive course while attending the Summer Institutes MSP.

Summer Institutes MSP students come mainly from California; however, students from across the U.S. and around the world also attend. Students leave with a sense of academic accomplishment, new friends, and fond memories of a wonderful time spent at Stanford University.

Summer Staff

The EPGY Summer Institute hires undergraduates, recent graduates, and graduate students to work during each summer as counselors and teaching assistants. Residential Counselors (RCs) are selected for their ability to work with young people in a residential setting, and for their academic qualifications. This arrangement allows for the social and academic portions of the program to be tightly integrated.

External links

* [ Education Program for Gifted Youth] at Stanford University
* [ OHS website]
* [ Summer Institutes website]
* [ San Francisco Chronicle article on OHS]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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