Gifted kindergartners through eighth-graders to learn from local specialists this winter

Institute for Educational Advancement welcomes highly able students to the Academy

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SOUTH PASADENA, Calif.—Los Angeles-area kindergarten through eighth-grade gifted and talented students are stepping out of the traditional classroom to engage in advanced classes that explore disciplines such as chemistry, astronomy and humanities. Academy classes, taught by local specialists who hold doctorates in their fields, college professors and professionals, inspire Los Angeles’s brightest youth to grow socially and intellectually.

The Academy was created by South Pasadena-based Institute for Educational Advancement (IEA). IEA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing programs that help gifted children balance intellectual ability with social, emotional, physical and spiritual growth. Independent of government funding, IEA gives students the tools to work toward actualizing their full intellectual and personal potential in supportive environments such as the Academy.

IEA is meeting a need in the community by serving a demographic that often struggles with a lack of challenge in the mainstream classroom. Academy students are given work at a level appropriate for them, develop community with like-minded peers and bond with instructors who can relate to their special needs. For the students IEA serves, weekly classes at the Academy are essential in fueling and satisfying their quest to know more. “I would recommend Academy classes to anyone who enjoys learning!” says Ariane Watkins, an Academy student who completed a Neuro-Energy course last term.

The program links a broad range of students from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds with instructors who’ve been trained to teach advanced, college and high school material in a kid-friendly fashion. Winter 2013 classes include self-paced math, calculus, chemistry, ecology, humanities and astronomy. With an average class size of five students, Academy classes are a hands-on, inquiry-based and student-driven approach to learning. In Rocket to Calculus, for example, students make use of actual rockets to learn the basics of algebra, geometry and pre-calculus; in the final class, calculations are brought to life with a real rocket launch.

Scholarships for local Pasadena youth have been made possible by generous grants from the Ann Peppers Foundation and the Avery Dennison Foundation. “Due to the scholarships we provide, gifted students in our community grow. Not only do we fan the flame of life-long learning in youngsters from all backgrounds, but they become stronger representatives of the schools they attend and are better able to contribute to their communities,” says Jen Mounday, IEA Academy program coordinator.

The Academy runs year-round, with the winter 2013 session running Jan. 12 to March 14. Classes are held at the IEA offices in South Pasadena, Calif. Classes meet once a week for eight weeks and are offered after school on weekdays and during the day on Saturdays. For a full schedule of classes and to download an application, please visit the Academy page of IEA’s website or contact Jen Mounday at Academy@educationaladvancement.org or 626-403-8900.

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