April 11, 2006
Stanford to offer first online high school for gifted students
A $3.3 million gift from the Malone Family Foundation of Englewood, Colo., will fund the first online high school for gifted students.
Developed by Stanford University's Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY), the Online High School will be a three-year, fully accredited, diploma-granting high school. The program will begin accepting student applications this spring and is scheduled to begin classes in the fall. Information about the application process and the courses will be available online beginning April 25 at http://epgy.stanford.edu/ohs/.
"This groundbreaking project will have immediate impact on the educational options of gifted students," said foundation Chairman John C. Malone. "While we will continue to establish Malone scholarship endowments at schools across the country, thereby making these schools affordable to gifted students with limited financial means, this ubiquitous Stanford program will provide all gifted students everywhere the opportunity to receive an education comparable to that offered by the best schools in the world."
EPGY expects that the online school will draw gifted students from across the United States and around the world. Among those who are likely to be interested are students in rural areas or overseas, students who are being home schooled, students in Title I schools, students who need advanced instruction in a particular subject area, students interested in academic pursuits not covered by the standard high school curriculum and students who want a more intensive academic program.
"The course of study will be academically rigorous, featuring enhanced mathematical content in the natural sciences and social sciences and emphasizing discussion and argumentation in humanities courses," said Raymond Ravaglia, deputy director of EPGY.
University-level courses will be available to students in many subject areas. "We want to keep these students working at full capacity until they are old enough to enter a university," said EPGY Director Patrick Suppes, the Lucie Stern Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at Stanford. "There is no reason why the best students in the OHS [Online High School] should not be able to complete work at a level comparable to that of the best Stanford University undergraduates."
In addition to the work students do online during the academic year, they will have the option of coming to Stanford for up to eight weeks during the summer. This residential component of the high school program will allow students to do things that are difficult or impossible to do online, such as laboratory work, while providing them with an opportunity to deepen their bonds with classmates and instructors.
The program will support students who wish to attend full time, but it will not require full-time enrollment. "Part of the motivation behind the creation of the EPGY-OHS is to address the difficulties that students frequently have in pursuing advanced educational opportunities beyond those offered by their local schools," Ravaglia said.
Students in the program will be able to combine courses taken from local schools with those taken from the Online High School and other programs for gifted students in order to satisfy their requirements for the OHS diploma. The online school also will support dual-enrollment with traditional high schools, encouraging them to view the online school as a resource for their best students and not just as a competing institution.