Failing our geniuses

Genius kids are featured in Time this week. The argument is that we invest 10 times more money in educating students who perform way below the average than we spend on students who are way above average (145 IQ and up). Some get bored and drop out.

Earlier this year, Patrick Gonzales of the U.S. Department of Education presented a paper showing that the highest-achieving students in six other countries, including Japan, Hungary and Singapore, scored significantly higher in math than their bright U.S. counterparts, who scored about the same as the Estonians. Which all suggests we may be squandering a national resource: our best young minds.

The story argues that skipping grades is a cheap and easy way to accommodate very bright students. But is it enough? These kids tend to be a lot more than one or two grade levels ahead academically. But they’re not little adults.

We need to be willing to create genius classes or genius schools to serve these students — or encourage parents to teach them at home. Even then, these kids differ from each other so much that no one, two or three approaches will work for all of them.

Some ultra-geniuses never will fit in socially and don’t really care if they do. They have other things on their minds.

About Joanne


  1. I disagree with starting “genius” classes or “genius” schools. I may be biased, though, because I skipped two+ grades and it worked out well for me. I certainly see potential social stumbling blocks… but I’d like to see something on parents teaching them at home (or providing the means for these little “geniuses” to teach themselves). My parents were very supportive and always provided books, guidance, and other educational experiences to the kids in the family; genius classes couldn’t have done nearly the same for my development.

    And you’re right, some never fit in socially and don’t care if they do. So if they have other things on their minds then why put them in expensive genius schools?

  2. Deirdre Mundy says:

    I went to a Math/Science magnet highschool– we had a few kids who were YEARS ahead in math. The school’s answer was to arrange classes for them with college professors…

    I think it worked out pretty well– They got to work to their potential AND still have a social life…

    (Of course, most of us in the magnet would have been complete outcasts at our home schools… but since they put all the geeks together, we had a semblance of “normal” highschool life (parties, movies, street hockey, etc…..)

    So I’d say genius schools could work… or just gifted schools with extra perks(i.e. university level math tutorials) for the kids who need them….

  3. Skipping years in school is a moronic idea. A smart kid can learn everything from k-8 in about a year, so there’s no advantage to moving kids forward–plus, moving kids forward will be the new “gifted” designation and everyone will be pushing for it.

    Leave the kids in their grade. Most of the first 8 years is socializing for the top 10% of kids, with the rest of the time spent repeating material they’ve already learned.

  4. I loved the article until I got to their conclusion at the end which seemed rather disingenuous. After spelling out the numerous advantages of a charter school for the extremely gifted and noting that many of the disadvantages were still not as bad as what kids see in regular schools, I was baffled that they still advocated grade-skipping in our society. Putting a 12-year-old in classes with 15-year olds may allow them to be academically challenged but will crush them socially. As extreme a case as it was, the Brittany Benefield saga with the University of Alabama-Birmingham immediately comes to mind.

    The charter school in Reno sounds like a great idea to working with students with IQs of 145 or higher. A network of schools like these could be established in each state, similar to the schools for the blind or deaf or high schools for math and science or for the arts. We’re not talking about a large number of students since only about 1 in 800 students will have an IQ of 145 or greater; yet the investment in these students would pay enormous dividends for our society.

    Beyond these students at the very top of the intelligence ladder, we MUST focus more attention on the higher IQ students that the local public schools can serve. Students in the 115-144 IQ range could achieve a heckuva lot more if the educational system was set up to serve them. It isn’t. Our schools, by design, serve the average and below average. Compounding the problem is that NCLB encourages adequacy over excellence. Shouldn’t just as much attention be focused on pushing above average students to soar as that which is spent on ensuring below average students don’t sink?

  5. I was never crushed socially. Again, I’ll note that I could have been a special case or lucky. But my brother and I both were ahead 2 years in school and have always had plenty of friends and outside success (i.e. I made varsity soccer as a 12 year old in high school).

    The idea of putting the high IQ kids in a separate school seems like it could spell disaster (an expensive disaster at that). IQ measurements are overrated, at least in determining future success; I’m a strong believer that “soft skills”, determination, and passion play a bigger role in future success. If ultimately we want these “geniuses” to be successful, they likely need to develop these “soft skills” and a sense of determination with all their peers.

    Bach, Chomsky, Curie, Du Bois, T.S. Elliot, Faulkner, Milton Friedman, Steve Jobs, MLK, Thurgood Marshall, Harry Truman, Oprah, and others all skipped a grade. I’d venture that very few of them were put in these genius schools and they turned out fine. The people who are going to “achieve more” are people who can overcome difficulties; these people will certainly be able to achieve in a regular school environment.

  6. My daughter was nearly one of the genius dropouts. She was a nationally recognized student from Duke’s TIP program; had PSATs of 79 verbal, 78 math, 80 writing. Yet she barely got out of high school.

    She attended one of the best public high schools in the state, with a huge population of AP/IB students. (And a high population of gang bangers with at least 5 gangs active). She was much farther along than the other AP students and was ridiculed, harassed, ans ostracised since she wasn’t into being popular. The school offered no help and despite promises from the teachers to stay in touch they let her crash and burn one semester. She had an undiagnosed anxiety disorder that they tried to pass off as ADD. All the school was interested in was go get her tagged “gifted” (for more state money) and that she show up every day. The teachers were unable to cope with someone that could correct their grammar and zip past them in math.

    Fortunately, we got her into a private school where she got individual tutoring, and treatment for her anxiety disorder. She’d still having problems in college, but is making progress.

    I was also one of these high IQ students, but I channeled my boredom in high school into hobbies and made up for my small size with being one of the class clowns. Alas, one of my most enjoyable hobbies is considered “unsafe” and is mostly illegal. It requires expensive permits from the state police – I had a small home chem lab.

  7. I’m not a big fan of segregating super smart kids. People that are really off the charts are so rare that we can’t fill up a school with them, and we can’t staff the school suitably, either. It’s pretty hard to get Nobel Prize winners to leave MIT and teach high school kids — it’s much more practical to send those super smart kids to MIT. After all, if the goal is nurture the next Archimedes or Gauss, that can’t be done by having them be trained anyone other than the best people, and those people don’t teach high school.

    We have a really smart kid, and she declined to go to college early, mostly because she didn’t want to leave home. But having been a pretty smart kid myself, in college at 16, there are drawbacks to going to a lower-tier college (I outgrew the one that took me, and had to go somewhere else to finish).

    It isn’t that the system we have can’t work, it’s just that extraordinary ability is rare, and dealing with rare cases requires the use of judgment, not set rules. But having people use judgment opens the door to mistakes, bad feelings, and lawsuits, so it’s easier to make a really smart kid be bored for 12 years.

  8. My husband and I would both have qualified as ‘super-smart’ kids, and, through our jobs we interact with university and national lab employees (scientists and engineers), some of whom are also raising super-smart kids (and probably were themselves super-smart). Some of them are crazy about their kid being perfectly happy in school and move them around between various private schools and demand special curriculum. Some of them seem chronically stressed. We were both products of the regular public school system. My husband struggled socially at times, while I thoroughly enjoyed most of it. We both found the work to be fairly easy, but we both got scholarships to a public college, and I loved the social and extracurricular aspects (band, sports). I was blessed to have friends (in the average classes) who were proud of my accomplishments and always supportive.

    Our parents sometimes had to fight for us (his parents forced the school to add calculus, mine got me daily library trips in elementary school so that I always had a book to read in my spare time). So, I’m not sure there is a one-size-fits-all answer. My husband turned down a residential magnet school because he wasn’t ready to leave home at 15, and by spending my social time with kids who definitely weren’t nerds I’ve had lots of experiences that the average geek probably didn’t. But, miserable kids need help in some form, be it a special school, skipping grades, or homeschooling. I’m not sure what we’ll do if we find ourselves in the same situation with our kid (although our public schools just switched to Everyday Math, so the public school option may be off the table anyway).

  9. Such a program already exists in the Los Angeles Unified School District, in the form of highly-gifted magnet schools whose entry criterion is a tested IQ of 145 or more (tested by a District psychometrist, to avoid parents’ influencing the testers). The highly-gifted magnets are not separate schools; rather, they (like many other magnets) are located within home schools so that the magnet kids can take advantage of non-magnet programs that the home schools offer (e.g., sports, drama, music, etc.) The highly-gifted magnet at North Hollywood High School, which has about 240 students from across the district, is extremely successful; indeed, it probably provides the best public high-school education in the country.

    Unfortunately, the HGM at NHHS is having problems filling its freshman classes — not from a lack of qualified applicants, but because many parents are leery of putting their kids into the very rigorous program. They believe their kids’ GPAs might not end up as high as they would if the kids went to regular high schools, thus adversely affecting the kids’ chances of getting into Harvard. That concern, even though demonstrably incorrect, is particularly widespread among Korean and Korean-American parents, many of whom are more interested in the colleges their kids are admitted to than in the education their kids get on the way. Unfortunately, but true.

    More information (from Wikipedia, but largely accurate): Also see

  10. I find this discussion interesting; much more so than the Time article. In that article I felt that the author was trying to suggest that the kids he was profiling were all future discoverers of a cure for cancer, when it might well be that all of them are going to grow up to be the smart guy in the cubicle next to you. If they all grow up to be the corner cubicle person, that doesn’t make them less valuable as human beings or their happiness less important to their families, but it does mean that what happens to them isn’t a public policy issue until there are lots of them. And there aren’t lots of them because they are defined to be rare. I don’t know anyone who came up with a cure for cancer, but I’ve taken classes from and/or worked with a few Nobel-caliber people (including 2 that had the actual prize), and from what I know of their histories, I don’t know how you’d identify them in high school. Some were regular kids, one skipped high school and most of college, but I never heard any of them suggest that what they needed was a gifted kids program.

    I think that it stinks that there is so little support for gifted kids, or even really above average kids, at most schools, but it’s not a surprise. In my experience many teachers hate dealing with gifted kids (even more than those that love it), and even more parents (especially Asian immigrant parents around here) hate the idea that any kid is exceeding theirs academically. The schools around here are abandoning even a pretense of having gifted programs to avoid having to deal with the problems caused by parents, but I expect that there are as many teachers that are happy about this as there are that are sad.

  11. Bob, neither of those links worked for me.

  12. As a “genius kid” who didn’t get any real grade-skipping until high school, my experiences with older kids were certainly mixed. Some older kids were good friends, but some older kids, if they found out my age, seemed to hold it against me in a big way and wanted to take it out on me.

    I think it’s a weird and wrong assumption that “genius kids” are somehow just like “normal kids” of a somewhat older age. Why not let the “genius kids” spend a meaningful amount of time with other “genius kids” in educational programs that are well-suited to them?

  13. Smith says, “Why not let the ‘genius kids’ spend a meaningful amount of time with other ‘genius kids’ in educational programs that are well-suited to them?”

    That’s exactly what the LAUSD highly-gifted magnet schools do, Smith. But I’m not sure it’s wrong to assume that highly-gifted kids aren’t pretty much like “normal kids.” I remember that when my daughter was 13 or so, and attending the highly-gifted magnet middle school (located at Gaspar de Portola Middle School in fabulous Tarzana), I would drive her and her friends places, listen to their conversations, and think to myself that the conversations were pretty much like those of “normal” 13-year-olds, just expressed in much larger vocabularies. I have never thought that either of my kids, both of whom attended highly-gifted magnet schools in LAUSD, were anything other than “normal” — not, at least, in anything other than being pretty dang smart. Indeed, when my daughter was in high school, one of her great wishes (which came true!) was to be a homecoming princess. She’s 26 now 26, and still has her tiara.

  14. The argument is that we invest 10 times more money in educating students who perform way below the average than we spend on students who are way above average (145 IQ and up).

    And in related news, we invest far more on students with cancer or cystic fibrosis than on students who are bursting with good health.

    Why would we think that the amount of money spent on educating students who perform way below the average should be related to the amount we spend on students who are way above average? There are clearly some problems with things like drop-out rates that justify some special programmes. But the problems and the implications for society of the two groups are very different, there’s no reason to believe that the right level of funding would work out the same.

  15. “Unfortunately, the HGM at NHHS is having problems filling its freshman classes — not from a lack of qualified applicants, but because many parents are leery of putting their kids into the very rigorous program. They believe their kids’ GPAs might not end up as high as they would if the kids went to regular high schools, thus adversely affecting the kids’ chances of getting into Harvard. That concern, even though demonstrably incorrect, is particularly widespread among Korean and Korean-American parents, many of whom are more interested in the colleges their kids are admitted to than in the education their kids get on the way. Unfortunately, but true.”

    Bob — I think you make a good point. I’m pretty sure I could’ve skipped a couple of grades at least, but my parents never let me for two main reasons (I think). 1) They thought my grades wouldn’t be as high. 2) My older brother was a year ahead of me and was never very academically gifted. They were worried about how he would feel if his little sister were to jump ahead of him. Actually, a lot of people were concerned about my brother’s ego. When I jumped at the chance to apply for an early college program that would allow me to skip my senior year (which my parents were also iffy about), even some of my own classmates tried to discourage me. The program was at one of the colleges my brother was considering, and one peer told me, “You shouldn’t go if your brother ends up going because you would steal his limelight.” I’m not sure how I would’ve stolen anything, considering how large the school is, but whatever.

  16. What’s currently happening is educational reverse-triage… resources are overwhelmingly be used to treat those that will benefit little, if at all, from them. Those that can benefit greatly from increased resources, average and gifted students, are receiving less and less.
    Universal education is based upon a premise that an educated citizenry benefits all of society. By focusing resources into areas that show little promise of individual or societal benefit, society as a whole is suffering.
    I’m not saying that low-performing students should be denied an education and locked away somewhere. We are gifted in America to have enough resources to spend where there is little perceived benefit. I am saying, though, that there is a balance that needs to be maintained for society’s sake, and that schools are not maintaining it. NCLB cannot be blamed for this either as this trend began long before NCLB was even mentioned.
    Moving on…
    The best gifted program? Year advancement can help, but it is far from the best strategy. The gifted students still learn faster than their older counterparts. Schools should offer gifted programs that allow for students to leave the classroom to learn about topics not usually offered. In middle school I learned about newspaper publishing, computer programming, engineering, marine biology, etc (all topics that are usually offered now as HS electives or college courses) in addition to my standard studies. Gifted students should be exposed to a wide breadth of topics, not simply accelerated through the traditional few.
    I was able to remain with my classmates through the years, played varsity football and wrestled, graduated and entered college at the usual time, and remained as socially connected as other students my age.

    Tracy – I think the point of the comment was to demonstrate that not enough attention is being paid to this group of students, not that equal spending was expected.

  17. Grade skipping isn’t bad because the kids fail socially. It’s bad because usually it’s no better academically–what’s the difference between 5th and 6th grade math? 4th and 5th reading? practically nothing. these kids need more intellectually challenging material.

    But, most people interacting with genius kids have no idea that they still are kids, so they don’t understand that they don’t have learning skills, organizational skills, communication skills, and social skills of adults. They are probably well past their age-counterparts in most of these areas, too, but they are still far from adult. Teaching them as if they are college students is unhelpful and unnurturing.

    To tie this into a prior post, most people have no idea how to challenge bright kids to where they fail in safe environments. We have no idea how to make it so geniuses are actually more successful in their lives than non geniuses. Most data show that geniuses don’t end up doing anything particularly special. Perhaps we should ask again what our goals are, as a society, for educating smart kids and young adults.

  18. greifer hits the nail on the head about the problem with grade skipping. The reason students need to skip grades is that their grade-level classes are too easy because they are designed for below-average students. Then they skip grades. . . and end up in another class designed for below-average students. The core problem remains unaddressed. Even ‘genius schools’ won’t address the problem if they use the same curriculum, but at a faster pace. (Skipping grades in high school math to jump into college math, at least, is much more effective than earlier grade skipping, because college math is designed for future mathematicians and scientists.)

    Our best athletes aren’t in PE class. Our best musicians are rarely in the band. Our top students need something in middle and high school more challenging than the curriculum prepared for average students, rather than having to wait until college to work with a curriculum designed with their ability and interest in mind.

    It’s more critical now than ever to address these problems. Technology now allows us to leverage the efforts of the few to the benefit of the many. We know who many of these few are: our top middle school students today will make most of the medical, scientific, economic, and technological breakthroughs in the next generation. By helping them, we help everyone.

    (And, if you want to see who some of these future stars are, stop by our Online Community at, where we have the largest community of high-performing math students in the English-speaking world.)

  19. Tracy – I think the point of the comment was to demonstrate that not enough attention is being paid to this group of students, not that equal spending was expected.

    Then why phrase it in terms of money? It read to me very much like equal spending was expected.

    It would have been better to give the comparative drop-out rates, that focuses on the problem.

  20. Wow, it’s good to know that we’re all so smart! 🙂

    I agree with Richard, above. Grade skipping alone is no answer, you’re just putting a kid with good smarts in with older kids studying the same dumbed-down stuff.

    I think this is actually more important, policy-wise, than how we treat under-performing kids. Given the right motivation and opportunities, one of these kids *might* go on to cure cancer, while it’s dead certain that the low-end kids aren’t, even with help.

    I’m not trying to sound elitist, but there’s no denying that our society is moved forward — technologically, ideologically and morally — by the smart, motivated ones, not the unmotivated, low-performing ones. The movers and shakers of tomorrow (in the positive sense — anyone can shoot up a classroom) will be much more likely to come from the ranks of the smart kids. The more educated we can make them, the better moving and shaking they will do later on. I’m not at all in favor of abandoning the dumb kids, they have the same human rights as anyone else. It’s foolish, however, to concentrate all of our resources on the low-performing kids.

    All of that said, I think the answer is more in attitude than in situations. These kids should be acknowledged and assisted in pursuing their own private study. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. My high-school calculus teacher recognized that she had a math genius in our class. She took him aside and said, “you’ve already got all of this figured out, why don’t you take this more advanced book and see if you can figure it out.” She would give him a library pass and he would go study on his own. Luckily, she herself was a student of higher maths (I think it was a differential equations book she gave him), so she could answer his questions.

  21. —there’s no denying that our society is moved forward…by the smart, motivated ones.

    This is true, but how does this correlate with geniuses? the answer is not very tightly. The above-average in IQ do very well without being geniuses, and high IQ is not a sufficient condition for success at all, in any sphere–public, private, intellectual, academic, financial, etc. And the notion of “motivated” is sufficiently divorced from “genius” that it may be inversely correlated.

    Most of the genuises have gone on to do nothing special. Is that because our educational system fails them? Or because their talent isn’t nurtured in other ways?

    How do we teach motivation? How do we nurture talent?

    We should look to sports, I think. Coaching in sports is about so much more than physical ability. It’s about developing the mental and emotional discipline, leadership, optimism, and other skills needed to keep going in the face of difficulty and failure. And motivation in sports comes from competition–what are the equivalent forms of competition for geniuses? Do science fairs really meet that need? Do geniuses care about competition the way outstanding athletes do? Have they been brought up to care about it, the way athletes are?

    No one told Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods to “study on his own” and left him to figure it out for himself. Each might have drilled himself, alone, but he practiced and competed with others, and was taught with coaches. They all learned the mental game from other people. We leave the bright alone too often, and expect their emotional makeup to be able to create internal motivation out of nothing. It’s unfair, and it’s a waste.

  22. Neil Schipper says:

    Like someone smart once said, “the plural of anecdote is not data”.

    Some of the super-smart do just fine in the regular stream (even if they do zone out in class a lot), engaging with peers, and using their gifts in their out of school activities. Others are intellectually frustrated, socially isolated and even victimized.

    One would hope that creativity and flexibility on the part of educators would go a long way to dealing with many of these cases. (Isn’t part of ed training devoted to this issue?) Some examples:

    – division-wide floater teachers that manage customized enrichment activities for highly gifted students (10 schools at 1/2 day per school per week?); floaters would also lobby classroom teachers to be tolerant of such students doing their own thing in class or allowing library visits for some classes.

    – state (or whatever)-wide math, science, mock parliament, business start-up, etc. camps or “getaways” for such students; pulling them out of school for a week or two is unlikely to cause lasting damage!

    – enlist folks from the local college to have weekly one hour sessions with such students (say, 1 hour per week with a lit-hist, math, science person). I like the idea of free-wheeling discussions followed by “I think you’d really like this book” or “Do you think you could try working through a few chapters on your own until I see you again” and such, over emphasis on higher level courses. My bias (subject to refutation by data) is that the naturally brainy should be permitted to test a lot of waters and latch on to their own interests, and not just go through the standard curriculum at a high rate. I like “my” geniuses to have a certain fearlessness, an absence of the urge to please. The advanced courses approach seems to emphasize having them achieve what a lot of “normals” achieve, just sooner. And being branded as a superstar so young has a tendency to make people a little smug.

    A tricky part of having such programs widely available would be staving off ambitious wannabe parents-of-genius. It may be asking too much of many principals to be this tough. Having a division-level person to act as “bad cop” might help.

  23. Quoth Tracy W:

    And in related news, we invest far more on students with cancer or cystic fibrosis than on students who are bursting with good health.

    We invest far more in students with the speed, coordination and other traits for success in football and basketball than we do on the fat kids who are at risk for health problems the rest of their lives.

    We need to start treating academics at least as seriously, not like the poor relation of athletics.

  24. I find the “failing our geniuses” notion to be PR-fed hysteria, and to be beside the point. Kids who are off the charts in intelligence will not fit into any classroom, and adults may not be able to keep up. This whole “gifted” mania is fed by the contemporary refusal to track, which harms able students, not just the one-in-10-million genius.

    Top students do not need concentrated tutoring, nor enrichment exercises. They do not need special pull-out activities, nor the equivalent of a gated community to which they are allowed precisely measured access. When I hear of, and read of, adults patting themselves on the back for providing “special” activities for bright students, my heart hurts.

    If a week away from a curriculum will not hurt them, then the curriculum is not demanding enough for them. Such a curriculum is irrelevant to strong students’ success. What the top 15% of a year group need is a deeper and more demanding curriculum than the curriculum average students need. They are capable of doing more, and they should be allowed to do more. They should write more, read more, learn more math, and tackle more complicated ideas and texts.

    Putting bright students alongside average students makes them smug. There is no way around it, and it is entirely the fault of the adults in charge. Kids don’t have the layers of hypocrisy we adults pride ourselves on. They also don’t have the experience to realize that today’s standard curriculum has been “dumbed down” from the demanding curriculums of the past.

  25. Russianex91 says:

    My son is 5 years old and just entered public kindergarten. He has been reading since he was 18 months old and I have done my best to provide a rich learning environment for him at home so far. One of the things that he has shown me is that he can learn the same things as kids in his class (preschool has been our experience so far), but that he definitely needs a lot more detail and precision of presentation than other kids care to have. I think the talking in more depth about the subject, not learning more “advanced” subjects are what my son craves. I use correct terminology, discuss things on a molecular level if it’s biology, etc. Grade skipping doesn’t sound like the answer to me. My son definitely needs social/emotional growth with his peers. Working with the teacher individually to provide a more in depth education is my goal.

  26. mommyofagenius says:

    My 6yr old daughter has an IQ of over 160. She attends public school, with her age group and she is MISERABLE!!! Right now, we are unable to put her in a private school and I can’t afford to quit my job to homeschool her. I had hoped that this year would be different. The school took the top 20 kids in 1st grade and put them in the same class. They are working on adding and subtracting, and are required to write 5 sentences per day in their journals. My daughter was adding and subtracting at 3, and can now do long division in her head. She wrote a 5 chapter book over the summer because she wanted to (it’s actually a pretty interesting book!).

    We have been warned off of grade acceleration for social reasons, and because she’s already a bit small for her age, so she’d be the smallest kid in the class. But, her current teacher insists that “all of the kids in her class are at the same level, so there is no reason to provide a more accelerated curriculum”. She is so bored that she gets in trouble, because at the age of 6, she does not have the self-discipline to sit there and wait for the other “gifted” kids to catch up (nor should she be expected to have this level of maturity).

    She connects, socially, with children who are several years older than her MUCH better than with her own age group. So, next week she will be tested by her school for admission into the 3rd grade “gifted” class. I don’t know if it is the right answer, but I can’t live with seeing her learn to hate school already. When she gets to high school, we will encourage her to take whatever AP/Honors courses are available, and probably add some distance learning college courses, if that’s what she wants. Luckily, her school principal recognizes that my daughter does not “fit” any mold, and is willing to make adjustments. Even if she switches to 3rd grade, she will probably take PE with 1st or 2nd grade, depending on how the schedule works. She also takes dance with her age peers, so that will hopefully help with the social aspects.

    I do not believe that grade-skipping is the answer for MOST gifted students. But, if you have 2 children, one with an IQ of 70 and one with an IQ of 50, you cannot expect the two of them to learn the same way. I honestly believe the same holds true for the kids at the other end of the spectrum.

  27. I went to a public magnet academy that was for the 99% students. We were in a public middle school and were able to take normal electives but in our classes we were able to move at a more rapid pace. This school meant we were able to be with students our age and still recieve enough intellectual stimulation.