Program for gifted kids moves to Walnut Hills

Posted at 7:38 AM, Sep 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-26 07:38:21-04

CINCINNATI -- A program for gifted children will relocate next month from the University of Cincinnati's Victory Parkway campus to Walnut Hills High School. The Super Saturday Program will begin the fall session Oct. 17 in the new location.

The program, which is run by nonprofit organization PAGE (Parent Association for Gifted Education, Inc.), provides classes on a variety of subjects for intellectually gifted youths age 4 to 14.

“It’s helped me learn cool stuff that I wouldn’t learn in school,” said 6-year-old Ramsey Patterson.

To qualify, children must either exhibit giftedness through IQ or achievement test scores at or above the 95th percentile or provide a professional recommendation from a psychologist, psychiatrist or educator.

“We will be willing to accept children into program even if they don’t have that test score that shows giftedness,” said Corrine Sandusky president and chief operating officer of PAGE.

Because some students may not be good test-takers, PAGE board members “put a lot of weight” behind professional recommendations, she said.

Classes are two hours long and are offered Saturday mornings and afternoons. Three six-week sessions are offered each year. Current course offerings cover topics including origami, theater, chess, chemistry and robotics.

Years before enrolling her son, Ramsey, PAGE Vice President Christina Patterson participated in the program as a student.

“It was really neat,” she said. “You could go and learn more than you could learn at school.”

Although board members are flexible in determining giftedness, they adhere strictly to the age ranges set for classes, Sandusky said. Gifted students are used to standing out among other children their age, but the Super Saturday Program offers a place where they can be in community with others of the same age.

“These students do sort of set apart from their age peers. They have been the smartest kid in the classroom. When they come to Super Saturday, they’re starting to see their age peers,” Sandusky said.

For Christina Patterson, the program gave her a place where she didn’t feel different.

“I felt like I fit in there,” she said. "In a group of misfits, everybody’s normal.”

Like Christina, 14-year-old William Black found a sense of belonging in the program.

“I felt a lot less alone than I did before,” he said.

Students don’t just find camaraderie with people their age in Super Saturday. They are challenged in ways they might not be in their typical school setting. Many of the classes involve problem-solving that delves deeper than equations or correctly forming a sentence.

“There is no right answer,” Sandusky said.

While the program is designed for gifted children, it provides a support group for parents as well. While their children learn, parents can listen to guest speakers, get advice from other parents and share their challenges and concerns.

“I really like some of the guest speakers they bring in,” said Angela Black, corporate secretary for PAGE and mother of William Black.

Regular registration for the Super Saturday fall session runs through this Saturday. Late registration begins Sunday and runs through Oct. 10. Parents who register late must pay an additional $25 fee on top of the $80 registration fee.