Frisco business adds programs for gifted, college-bound students | SummitDaily.com

Frisco business adds programs for gifted, college-bound students

Joe Moylan
jmoylan@summitdaily.com

Frisco-based Colorado Learning Connections LLC is poised to celebrate both its 10th anniversary and the addition of two new programs for local students.

Founded in 2004, current owner and director Ashley Hotz said Colorado Learning Connections will soon expand its services to keep pace with how gifted children learn and how today's college-bound students shop for a university.

Although Colorado Learning Connections has been offering programs for gifted students in a one-on-one environment for nearly 10 years, recent research shows academically advanced children tend to grow when they are challenged by similarly gifted peers. Approximately 11 percent of Summit County's student population tests at gifted levels, or above 95 percent on standardized tests, Hotz said, but oftentimes gifted children find themselves isolated by their academic talents.

"We usually see gifted kids serving as a teacher's assistant or in classroom leadership roles, which doesn't provide gifted students with the opportunity to push each other intellectually," Hotz said. "It's also good to bring students together because often times gifted kids who are academically advanced tend to lack emotional and social skills. Those skills are things you can't teach in a one-on-one environment."

The new program, which aims to bring gifted students together in a small-group, collaborative environment, will be directed by Cindy Bolt, a former second-grade teacher. Although the after-school program would bring gifted students together in a first-of-its-kind group environment, Hotz said Colorado Learning Connections is not trying to undercut Summit School District services, but to complement them.

"One-on-one interaction is one piece of what gifted students need, but learning from each other is really what gets them thinking," Hotz said.

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In addition to the new program for gifted students, Hotz said she last week received her certification in independent education consulting.

Independent education consulting is an emerging profession that, essentially, eliminates the need for students to do their own college research. Junior year of high school is typically when most students begin researching colleges, but because it also is arguably the most demanding year in a student's career, many are unable to invest the time required to search for the right university, Hotz said.

The program works by having a student and his or her parents take a personality test. An independent education consultant then conducts the first phase of the college search process by matching the student with colleges that best match the personality profile.

"I would much prefer students do their own research," Hotz said. "But junior year is a busy one and as a result many students find themselves going to colleges that aren't right for them. The goal of this profession is to hopefully reduce the number of students who transfer schools."

The independent education consulting will be offered in addition to the college-essay and test-preparation courses Colorado Learning Connections already offers. For more information about the group gifted program or independent education consulting, call Hotz at 668-0954 or visit http://www.clcsummit.com.