Minorities Participation at Md. Centers for Gifted, Talented Students Increases - Southern Maryland Headline News

Minorities Participation at Md. Centers for Gifted, Talented Students Increases

The program maintained African American applications while Hispanic applications increased in 2006.

BALTIMORE – The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) announced on Tuesday that the 2006 Maryland Summer Centers for Gifted and Talented Students operated at near capacity and had increases in applications and participation among minority students.

The Maryland Summer Centers Program is sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education and funded by the Maryland General Assembly. The Program, in partnership with public and nonpublic agencies, provides Maryland’s diverse gifted and talented student population with advanced, rigorous, experiential learning opportunities that nurture these students’ talents and abilities within unique learning environments.

The areas of study include aquatic research, the fine and performing arts, Chinese studies, historical research, law and government, mathematics, paleontology, environmental studies, maritime studies, geology, and space science.

According to MSDE data, 1,395 students applied to attend the Summer Centers in 2006, the highest number of applicants since 2002. There were 956 students who attended the Centers, representing a 98 percent capacity fill rate as compared to capacity fill rates in the 80 percent range over the past several decades. While African American application rates held steady at 22 percent, with a slight drop in attendance from 19 to 17 percent, Hispanic students nearly doubled their application and participation rates, with a participation rate of 3.6 percent. In addition, females continue to comprise the majority of participants with more female students beginning to attend more traditionally male-oriented Centers such as the Centers for Mathematics, Space Science, Future Engineers, and Law and Government.

In 2006, 18 Summer Centers operated in 12 of the 24 local school systems with the largest number of students attending the Centers coming from Baltimore, Montgomery, Wicomico, and Harford Counties.

“It is wonderful that so many Maryland students have the opportunity each summer to interact with experts and use real-world technology in remarkable areas of study through the Maryland Summer Centers,” said Nancy S. Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools. “I am awed by the caliber of young students from all cultural backgrounds who are engaged in creative learning.”

MSDE Summer Center’s personnel attribute the high application rate to increased visibility of the program’s brochure via the MSDE website, an online registration option, and materials being translated into Spanish. In addition, Directors have actively recruited students through mailings and presentations at the schools.

The Maryland Summer Centers will celebrate 40 years in 2007. For more information visit http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/summercenters.

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