The Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth

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Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth (WCATY, pronounced WI-kuh-tee) is a non-profit organization for children advanced in the areas of English, reading, and leadership. The program is based in Madison, Wisconsin, with classes throughout the state. Created by Dr. Ellie Schatz in 1991, it hosted its first summer program in 1992. A variety of programs are offered, either residentially during the summer (the best known of which is the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) for high school aged students), or year round with internet based courses. WCATY is accredited through NCA-CASI.[1] WCATY is the Wisconsin affiliate for Midwest Academic Talent Search, through which students take out of level tests to qualify for programs or courses. These courses include meetings of the students three times throughout the course, and are known in the WCATY community as Face to Face meetings, of F2F's for short. The courses also include a Final Project in which the students encompass the skills learned from the course to create an overall representation of what they have learned.

Summer Programs[edit]

Accelerated Learning Program[edit]

The Accelerated Learning Program [2] was originally held on the campus of University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, followed by the campus of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, and most recently the University of Wisconsin–Madison. This program serves students of high school age (plus qualified middle school students), offering courses from freshman high school classes to AP or college level coursework. Courses taken during these three weeks are eligible for their equivalent high school credits.

The Accelerated Learning Program gives gifted high school students the chance to learn and live alongside each other on the beautiful UW-Madison campus. While the campus is big, ALP is limited to 100 students and centers on an engaged and intimate learning environment; students enroll in just one class during the three-week period for an in-depth focus. As WCATY’s flagship program, it is an intense, three-week summer camp designed to push students to the next academic level.

While the academics are rigorous at ALP, they account for only a portion of the camp experience. A wide variety of organized activities and ample free time allow for students to explore new interests and make lasting friendships with other students who share their enthusiasm and gift for learning.

Summer Transitional Education Program[edit]

The Summer Transitional Education Program is for students in the middle school years. Lasting only two weeks, it allows students an educational enrichment experience with a group of gifted peers. This program was designed to transition students more smoothly between the Young Students Summer Program and the Accelerated Learning Program, and has been held at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, and Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. The Summer Transitional Program is currently held on the UW- Madison campus.

Young Students Summer Program[edit]

The Young Students Summer Program is for talented and gifted students in grades four through six, and lasts just one week. This program has been held at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin.

The primary purpose of this camp is to promote early camp experience, intellectual challenge, single subject focus, and exposure to new disciplines.

Year round programs[edit]

Throughout the year the center coordinates various enrichment programs and courses.

The Academy[edit]

The Academy (also known as Online District Coops) allows students from a district, small region, or school to participate in a blend of online coursework and face to face meetings. The courses are written and staffed by WCATY instructors. Courses take one academic quarter to complete, and districts agree to allow students to use the curriculum as a replacement of one of their regular courses.

Each nine-week credit class is designed to replace a district’s classroom offerings with cross-curricular, gifted-focused content. There is no minimum enrollment, and classes are available for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters. In the 2010-2011 school year, over 1,500 students from 135 schools participated in 90 partnership classes offered across Wisconsin.

Girls in Science[edit]

Girls in Science was open to females entering middle school (grades 6-8) and was hosted at University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. It is no longer offered through WCATY, but continues to run as a Community Outreach program for youth through the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Young Scholar Program[edit]

The Young Scholar Program paired talent identified 7th and 8th graders with mentors in a field of the students interest. This program was grounded in Dr. Schatz' work on pairing gifted students with mentors.[3] Generally held in September, the Young Scholar Fair served as a project showcase for what students have accomplished while working with their mentors. This program is no longer offered with WCATY.

Harlan O. Roberson Poetry Award[edit]

This poetry contest was administered by WCATY each March and had a cash prize. Submissions were accepted from high school age students, but this program is no longer offered.

Math 24[edit]

WCATY works with WATG (Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted) to host a math competition at UW-Madison called, "Math 24."

University Connections[edit]

WCATY is currently partnered with the following groups and organizations: University of Wisconsin at Madison Education, Outreach, and Partnerships (EOP) in the School of Education Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted (WATG) National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)


  1. ^ Institution Summary, AdvancED, Retrieved 2012-07-08
  2. ^ "Accelerated Learning Program." Accelerated Learning Program. WCATY, 2012. Web. 24 Oct. 2012.
  3. ^ Schatz, Ellie (1999), "Mentors: Matchmaking for young people.", Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, US: Prufrock Press, 11 (2), pp. 67–87 .

External links[edit]

Official website