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Baylor Camp for Gifted & Talented Begins June 5 [06/02/2017]


Baylor School of Education’s summer enrichment program for gifted and talented students, University for Young People (UYP), launches June 5, 2017.

Baylor UYP’s program for 4th-12th grade students runs daily through June 23 on the Baylor campus. Students may choose from dozens of courses, taking one class in the morning and one in the afternoon. Courses for 2017 include developing a business, cooking, art, travel, short-form writing, computer science, history, biology of the human body, citizenship, LEGO animation, and robotics.

For 1st -4th grade students, there are two week-long programs beginning June 5 — “Creative Problem Solving Camp” and “Discovering Ideas with Technology,” both offered 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. daily at Hillcrest Professional Development School.

Baylor’s UYP program began more than 30 years ago, and expanded in 1999 to launch “Project Promise.”

Project Promise students are a subset of UYP gifted students who also meet U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) federal low-income eligibility requirements. Tuition for the students is funded through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to the City of Waco from HUD. In addition, Project Promise received a $10,000 grant from Independent Bank this year.

Project Promise’s overall goal is to develop students to aspire to higher education and to identify their strengths and interests. Most Project Promise participants attend UYP several summers in a row, beginning in 4th grade and continuing through high school.

Faculty and graduate students from the School of Education have researched the long-term effects of Project Promise through a survey of former participants and found long-term positive effects for gifted students from low-income backgrounds and their families. Researchers also identified key components to Project Promise’s success that could be replicated by new programs.

“Through the research, we learned that we are the only program like this in the nation for low-income kids,” said Dr. Susan Johnsen, professor of Educational Psychology and founder of UYP and Project Promise. “And because of our longevity, we could really look at long-term effects.”

Lead researcher Corina Kaul, MA ’14, a doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology, conducted the 2014 survey of former Project Promise students who had participated for at least three years; they were then 18-28 years old. With 89 respondents, the survey yielded rich results that Kaul described as “jaw dropping.” She said, “Not only did 100 percent of the students successfully complete high school, compared with 68 percent of a national sample, but 90 percent subsequently attended postsecondary education.”

In several articles, Kaul and Johnsen — along with Dr. Mary Witte, senior lecturer in Curriculum & Instruction and UYP director for 15 years, and Dr. Terrill Saxon, professor of Educational Psychology — identified three key components to the success of Project Promise students.

First, UYP classes focus on courses that align with student interest, including options in STEM fields, fine arts, liberal arts and life skills.

“We tried to put in a lot of the arts and other topics that they would have little opportunity to experience elsewhere,” Johnsen said. “It opened up a whole new realm of experience for Project Promise students.”

Secondly, Project Promise reached out to parents and families, inviting them to meetings and observations to learn about higher education and the importance of encouraging high expectations for their children. Also, as openings occurred, siblings were given enrollment priority.

Lastly, the program organized students into cohorts of 10 or 11 similarly-aged peers under the guidance of a mentor. The cohorts attend classes together, eat lunch together, and engage in small-group conversations. Mentors, who are undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Education, serve as role models, encouraging aspirations to higher education. These peer and mentor relationships were revealed to be significant in the research.

For more information on UYP and a catalog of courses, visit the UYP web page and click on the 2017 link.

For media coverage of UYP programs, please contact Meg Cullar:   •   254-710-6435

For more news from Baylor School of Education, visit the Instant Impact home page.


Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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