CTYFor the second year in a row, Nueva hosted the prestigious Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth camp. Nearly 200 Bay Area students in grades two through six attended the three-week day program on Nueva’s Hillsborough campus this summer and learned about everything from the physics of engineering to the edible world of food science.

“The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth camp is an academic program for high-ability and talented students,” Assistant Program Manager Peter Bruno said.

“The goal is enrichment — taking high-achieving students and giving them a chance to explore topics they wouldn’t normally see,” Bruno said. “It’s a combination of learning new things, exploring new ideas, and figuring out who they are and who they want to be.”

Courses vary by subject matter and include writing, literature, history, global politics, math and logic, and the sciences. The “Ancient World” course focused on ancient civilization and the connections between the past and present, “Cloudy with a Chance of Science” explored how science and literature are related, and in the “Graphic Novel” class students examined literary techniques and analyzed how artists and writers marry visual art and literature, according to CTY’s website.

“It’s a chance to collaborate with other students,” Bruno said. “Instructors try to use new ideas and as much student-centered teaching as they can.”

Camper Mia T., who participated in the physics of engineering course, said she enjoyed the program.

“Every year it’s awesome,” the sixth-grader said. “One of my favorite parts is the kids are interested in the same topic as you and you go into depth. Also, it’s really easy to make friends because the others students are interested in the same things as you.

“I really like the small class sizes as well,” Mia said. “It really allowed for one-on-one work time with the teachers.”

In “Physics of Engineering,” she was educated on velocity through a running lab, participated in an egg-drop challenge to study force, and learned about planes and bridges.

To attend the camp, students must score well on the CTY-administered School and College Ability Test (SCAT), an assessment that measures math and verbal reasoning skills in gifted children.

“We take kids at the top end of the bell curve and give them another test and take the top students who perform well on that,” Bruno said. “We believe as a whole that gifted students can at times be misunderstood by school systems. We give them a chance to explore curriculum in an environment that feels safe.”

This approach is similar to Nueva’s philosophy — high-ability students are immersed in a dynamic educational environment of inquiry-based interdisciplinary studies and constructivist project-based learning and are encouraged to explore and experiment alongside teachers.

August 26, 2016



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