Gifted LearningLinks (GLL) Core Essentials courses at Center for Talent Development (CTD) allow students in grades 3 through 8 to master essential subject-area content that goes above and beyond what is traditionally offered at their grade levels.
Gifted students are often ready to study topics in their areas of strength earlier than many of their age peers. Further, gifted students can often acquire new knowledge and master new skills with less repetition than typical students. Therefore, opportunities for academic acceleration can be essential to keeping gifted students motivated and engaged. Additionally, gifted students are often abstract thinkers who thrive on opportunities to explore big ideas in their domains of interest.
GLL Core Essentials courses are designed to provide opportunities for gifted students everywhere to access the accelerated and enriched curriculum they need to grow and excel in core academic content areas.
Guided by their instructors and using a variety of online tools, students engage with academically challenging curriculum in language arts, math and science.
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Core Essentials and Math Acceleration:
Many gifted and high ability students seek and benefit from opportunities for accelerated learning in math. GLL offers courses that can help student successfully make the jump into Algebra through it’s Pre-Algebra I, Pre Algebra II and Pre-Algebra Condensed courses.
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Some Gifted LearningLinks (GLL) Core Essentials courses comprise part of a course series running the entire academic year (i.e., fall, winter and spring sessions). Depending on the course, there may be prerequisites (see course descriptions for details); students may enroll in one, two, or all three sessions in a series.
The GLL program welcomes applications from new applicants, returning applicants and portfolio applicants. To begin the application process, click on the applicant type best suited to you based on the descriptions below.
You are a new applicant if you meet one of the following criteria:
You have never attended any Center for Talent Development program (CTD) and you have qualifying talent search test scores (EXPLORE®, ACT® or SAT®) from an American academic talent search program such as Northwestern University's Midwest Academic Talent Search (NUMATS), Western Academic Talent Search (WATS), Duke Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP), Center for Talented Youth (CTY) Talent Search, or Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS). Students from India, Kuwait, Singapore or the United Arab Emirates who have participated in the ASSET Talent Search and earned scores at or above the 90th percentile may also qualify on the basis of their test scores. (More information is available on CTD’s ASSET Talent Search page.)
- You have previously attended another CTD program, but are now applying for a course in a different subject area and you have qualifying test scores.
You are a returning applicant if you meet both of the following criteria:
- You have successfully completed a Center for Talent Development (CTD) course through the Saturday Enrichment Program, Summer Program or Gifted LearningLinks Program.
- You are now applying for a GLL course in the same subject area of the CTD course you previously completed and wish to use your old scores as evidence of your qualifications for the program.
You are a portfolio applicant if you meet the following criterion:
- You do not have qualifying test scores because you have either:
- Never taken a nationally normed standardized achievement test.
- Taken a nationally normed standardized test, but did not achieve a qualifying test score.
- A portfolio application consists of the following documents uploaded to the MyCTD application:
- Two teacher recommendations indicating student is performing 1.5 to 2 years above grade level in the subject area of the online course to which student is applying;
- A copy of the student's current school report card indicating exceptional performance in the subject area of the online course to which student is applying;
- Most recent state testing report, if available; and
- Any results of EXPLORE®, ACT®, SAT®, or other nationally normed tests, if available.
A Homeschooler Admission Porfolio includes the following:
- Two teacher recommendation forms from adults unrelated to the applicant; and
- Parent's statement describing the student's learning in the appropriate academic area over the past year, including references to curricula, books, projects, and activities.
Additionally, the Homeschooler Admission Portfolio may include any or all of the following, depending on availability:
- Copies of the student's best work in the appropriate academic area;
- Copies of teacher evaluations from any classes taken from umbrella schools, co-ops, etc.;
- Copies of any available standardized test reports taken in the last 24 months;
- Copy of transcript or grade report for current academic year (Please indicate if this was produced by a parent); and
- Any other information that might provide insight into the student's academic strengths and help us place him/her in the appropriate course.
Students will be independently engaged in academically stimulating and engaging activities designed to develop higher-order thinking skills. A student should have a keen interest in the subject and be eager to work through challenges, both academic and technical. Our dedicated instructors will initiate and guide the dialogue, but students should possess effective communication skills including proficient reading and writing skills and feel comfortable asking questions.
While students will have flexibility in terms of when they log on, pacing guides help students stay on track each week. Students should expect to spend 2-5 hours per week engaged in course activities. The student’s ability to manage time and adjust their work levels as needed is key to success.
Some Core Essentials students participate in their courses at home, while others learn online in school in a computer lab, media center, gifted resource room, or study hall and take online courses as alternatives to traditional study a regular classroom setting.
- Acceptance notifications are sent via e-mail upon receipt of a completed application.
- Prior to the course start date, students receive login information allowing them to gain access to the learning management system (LMS), Schoology, which houses online courses.
- Course access begins on the official start date.
- The GLL experience starts with a virtual online orientation for all new students (returning students are welcome to repeat the orientation).
- Syllabi, assignments, timelines, discussion boards, links and more are found on the course site, which is available 24/7.
- Primary communication with the course instructor and/or classmates occurs within the learning management system. Depending on the nature of the subject matter and student preferences, instructors may use additional tools including, but not limited to, discussion boards, the phone and online class meetings such as Skype, Adobe Connect and/or Google apps.
Students will be emailed a narrative evaluation that includes a letter grade, comments on the student's academic performance and online learning skills, including communication and time management, as well as future course recommendations.
Evaluations can also be accessed via the family's MyCTD Toolbox account.
For information on how schools can partner with Gifted LearningLinks, visit our Partner Opportunities page.
Middle school educators are also invited to explore the Gifted LearningLinks Honors program for additional standards-aligned course options for gifted middle and high school students. GLL Honors courses can provide middle school students who would benefit from acceleration in one or more individual subject areas with access to accredited high school courses in their areas of strength without moving between school buildings.
- Students need access to a stable internet connection and updated web browser.
- Participation in “live” online sessions may require a computer microphone or headset.
- While iPads and tablet computers may be sufficient for most coursework, some web tools and/or websites may require the use of a computer or laptop.
What is the difference between the various categories of courses?
Family Program courses are for students in grades K-3. Your child does not need test scores to qualify for these courses, which are designed for parents and children to work on together. These courses begin four (4) times each year.
Core Essentials and Enrichment courses are for students in grades 3-8. Core Essentials courses are standard academic offerings while Enrichment courses are electives. Sessions begin four (4) times each year and last nine (9) weeks. They require approximately 2-5 hours of activity per week.
Honors and Honors Electives courses are designed for students in grades 6-12. They begin on the 15th of each month throughout the year. These are credit bearing high school-level courses that require approximately 5-7 hours of activity per week. Honors courses last 36 weeks while Honors Electives courses last 18 weeks.
AP® courses are one and two semester courses that have been authorized by the College Board. They are designed to prepare students for college-level work and for the AP® exams in May.
ASO (Accelerated Summer Option) courses are offered over the summer. They condense one and two semester high school level classes into intense nine (9) week sessions. One credit courses typically require 10-15 hours of activity each week for successful on-time completion, and two credit courses typically require 20-30 hours per week.
Why do students need to qualify for GLL classes?
Our classes are designed for students working 1-2 grade levels above their chronological age. Not all students are ready for these courses, which are designed for learners who are advanced for their age and learn at a faster pace than most students. Our goal is not to be exclusive, but to ensure students are placed in a course that is appropriately challenging.
How can my child qualify?
Students can qualify in one of three ways:
Fast Track Returning Student – this method is for any student who has been accepted into a similar CTD course within the past two years. If you were previously accepted into a Core Essentials or Enrichment course and are now applying for an Honors, Honors Electives, AP® or ASO course, you may NOT apply as a “fast track” participant.
New Student/New Scores – If you are applying for a Core Essentials or Enrichment class, you may apply with scores at or above the 90th percentile (in the subject area of the course to which the student is applying) from any test with a national percentile ranking (NPR). We also accept ASSET test scores. You may apply for Honors, Honors Electives, AP® or ASO courses with PSAT, SAT or ACT scores. On the program page, click on “Qualifying Test Scores” to learn exactly what scores are required.
Admission Portfolio – This method is for students who do not have the appropriate tests or scores. Students must submit two (2) teacher recommendations and a recent report card. Many students qualify with the portfolio method.
What is the procedure for applying?
First, complete the online application form and pay for the course. Second, submit your qualifying materials. Finally, wait to hear from the Admissions Committee.
When do I pay for my child’s course?
In order to upload qualifying materials and be considered by the Admissions Committee, you will need to pay when you apply. If you have not paid, qualifying materials such as teacher recommendations cannot be uploaded into your application. If your child is not accepted into their course, you will receive a full refund.
What is a nationally normed test?
This is a test that compares students’ scores in the same grade across the entire nation.
What is a prerequisite?
A prerequisite is identified by the instructor as the knowledge or skills necessary to start a course. For instance, Algebra 2 has a prerequisite of Algebra 1.
How do I know when my materials have been received?
Materials will not be marked “received” until a GLL staff member checks them in. During busy periods, this can take up to five business days. You can check your MyCTD Toolbox account to see if materials have been “received.”
What does it mean when my child’s application is marked “complete”?
It means that you have submitted all of the necessary qualifying materials. The next stop for your child’s application is the Admissions Committee. They will contact you with more information.
When will I hear if my child has been accepted?
The Admissions Committee meets several weeks before course start dates. They review applications on a rolling basis and only consider completed applications (i.e. all qualifying materials have been submitted). They will contact you with their decision or with a request for more information. Login information is sent 24-48 hours before the start of class.
When will I receive textbook information?
Your acceptance email will contain a link to our online bookstore. You can purchase the book from MBS or any other bookstore.
Can my child work at his/her own pace?
Yes. Our courses are flexibly paced and independent study. Students may complete their course in less than the allotted time.
What if my child does not finish the work by the end of the session?
Core Essentials, Enrichment and Family courses end after 9 weeks. Students in Honors, Honors Electives, AP® or ASO classes may request up to 3 one month extensions from their instructor. Extensions cost $100 each.
Are there online lectures?
No. Courses are facilitated independent study. That means students log in and work according to their own schedule. Instructors, who have designed the course, grade assignments, give feedback, and are available to answer any questions. Students may be directed to other websites that may include lectures or articles
Who teaches GLL courses?
Our instructors come from various professional backgrounds and are selected because of their mastery of the subject matter, teaching experience, enthusiasm, and ability to work with gifted students. Teachers receive guidance and support from experts in online learning design.
What is the procedure for requesting financial aid?
When filling out the online application, check the box on page 6 indicating that you are interested in applying for financial aid (FA). Your registration confirmation email will contain a link to our online FA form. Fill out the form and attach the first two pages of your most recent tax return. Please understand that applications for students requesting FA will take longer to process since applications must be reviewed by both the Financial Aid and the Admissions Committees. The FA Committee does not review applications until the student has qualified academically.
What is GLL’s refund policy?
To learn more about our refund policy, please visit our "Refund & Withdrawal Policies" page.
How many courses can my child apply for at one time?
Gifted LearningLinks is accredited as a nonpublic supplementary school. Our courses are meant to provide classes not available at a student’s main school or to allow a student to work ahead of their school’s normal curriculum. Core Essentials and Enrichment courses require approximately 2-5 hours of work per week. Honors, Honors Electives and AP® courses require approximately 5-7 hours of work per week. ASO courses require up to 15 hours of work per week per credit. Please consider your child’s schedule when applying for multiple classes. Many students successfully take multiple courses at a time. However, if your child is new to online learning, we recommend starting with one or two courses and then consider increasing involvement over time once your student is comfortable in the online environment.