Academic Talent Development Program (UC Berkeley)
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Academic Talent Development Program (UC Berkeley)
Alternatives to ATDP?
I love all the comments about the Academic Talent Development Program. But the
price tag is staggering. I'm sure it's worth the money but 4 half days for $700. I
only see positive posts on BPN. Anyone disappointed with the program? Can someone
recommend another academic camps?
- mom of 2
You didn't mention it, so I assume you know the program is three weeks? My kids are
older now (as a matter of fact, oldest did the secondary program last summer on the
Cal campus), but we did it for several years and I always felt it was well worth the
money. You might not agree, but wanted to make sure you had all information.
My son enjoyed his Chemistry classes with Dr. Paul Daubenmire. It was a
lot of homework, but he learned a lot at the end of the camp. On the
other hand, he had a bad experience with the Expressive Art Through
Drawing classes. The instructor was very boring. At the end of each
class, students walked out looking very miserable.
So, I think the quality of ATDP greatly depends on the instructor.
Parents paid a lot of money for the camp and students are there eager to
I have heard many things about ATDP, but it's not even something we can consider, since I
work, and can't drop everything in the middle of the day to run all the way to Richmond and
pick up my child. Plus it's expensive. I can't remember the specifics of your question, but
if I recall correctly, you were looking for academic alternatives. I do know Head Royce has
academic summer school, where the kids usually have classes in the morning, and more
recreation in the afternoon.
-Good luck in your search
Editor: Camp Galileo was also recommended.
Re: Science & Math Camps that Girls Actually Attend
My daughter is a rising 6th grader and definitely a math/science kid. We also live in
Oakland. We also do a lot of afterschool enrichment (Berkeley Math Circle, she did a
year of the QuantumCamp afterschool classes and camps, etc.)
Don't discount ATDP, even from Oakland. The camps are really, really good. And
balanced, gender-wise for both students and teachers. My daughter has gone for three
years and really enjoyed it. And if you pair it with the Cal camp in the afternoon, you
have a whole day. There are also a lot of opportunities for carpooling from Oakland,
minimizing the drive time. We had a full (!) carpool of 5 kids in Montclair/Piedmont,
but even after that was arranged I got a half-dozen calls from other parents looking for
I know you said that the ATDP commute seemed a bit much, but I will put in a plug
anyway. My sixth grade girl (going into 7th next week) did the trig program this summer
and really got alot out of it. Although it was predominantly boys there were many girls
as well. We combined it with the 6th grade writing program, (she didnt want to do the
Cal Adventures camp), which made for 4 full days. We carpooled from Oakland with another
family (alternating pick up and drop off). Although it IS out of the way, most days the
commute was around 20 mins each way. It is a serious program (day one was rough, she
wasnt sure she was properly prepared with her public school math background)but the
teacher and assistant were excellent and she now has a much greater appreciation and
understanding of math principals and is looking forward to doing the program next year
(on the Berkeley campus). I can't speak for the science program, but we were very happy
with the math and writing.
Worth the commute
Try ATDP for the summer, the Academic Talent Development Program
that's run by UC Berkeley's school of education. Google ATDP and
it will come up right away.
My kids have done the writing courses for years, and the
creative writing class in third grade is especially rewarding
and valuable. Heather MacLeod is teaching it again, I believe,
and she is a wonderful, warm, encouraging, and thoughtful
teacher. Both kids have learned so much and love to write!
Good luck - the application process is a bit complicated, and
the deadline is in March, so best get started as soon as
possible. You won't be sorry, it's been great for our kids.
Parent of writers
My daughter attended ATDP the summer after 3rd Grade and took a
wonderful writing class for 3 weeks with Heather MacLeod called
Author's Corner. Here's the link for ATDP
http://atdp.berkeley.edu/about/overview/ The application process
is somewhat onerous but my kids have loved EVERY class they have
done so far! And Heather is a dynamic and inspiring teacher!
For my daughter the class really put her on the road to
considering herself a writer. She is now 10 and is an editor for
a kid's magazine called Our Words Magazine ourwordsmagazine.com
Maybe your son would like to submit a piece to the next issue,
deadline March 1st )
Heather also teaches small writing groups, here is her website
http://giftedyoungwriters.wordpress.com Good luck!
Is ATDP for top-tier students only?
I was wondering if someone has used the UC Berkeley Summer ATDP Program. I
will have 3rd and 6th graders/girls next summer and I am interested in
sending them to this program. The younger one works above grade level and
exceeds in math and loves sciences. The older one struggles a little
academically. She works very hard to achieve average grades, but she is a
hard worker. (1) I am wondering if this program is for top tier academic
students or can any child attend it? (2) If your child attended it, did he
or she enjoy it and would you send him/her again? (3) Did it help with the
academics the following year? (4) How was the social environment for the
child during the hours that he/she was there? Thank you.
My oldest boy has attended ATDP summer camp twice, following K and gr
3. The youngest has done K.
I think, academically, it is a great program. I like the intensive
study on a particular subject for an extended period. Other science
camps in the area tend to do one project a day, then move on to
another. I also like how they study the topic in different ways:
through books, hands-on 'labs,' with art and songs (esp. for younger
kids), etc. My kids have done oviparous animals & tidal pools (K) and
the anatomy/ dissection class (gr 3). It was amazing what they
learned! My youngest became a true tidal pool expert and was thrilled
when he could teach his parents things when we visited the coast, and
the older child was doing more dissections & anatomy than I ever got
at high school (and never in elementary school).
The two main drawbacks to the program: the times are horrible for
working parents, and my eldest did not enjoy the Cal sports camp
option, so I only did that once. The oldest was also not thrilled
with the idea of doing homework during summer. In fact, the homework
wasn't much and not hard, but cajoling your child to do it is
In terms of getting in, ATDP staff could answer better. It *is* a
competitive process (indeed, a bit over the top - it feels like
college application in some ways!). For younger kids, I believe the
teacher's letter is very important so it depends on whether the
teacher sees your child as bright or not. From my (brief!) view, the
kids in the classes were good, but they weren't all geniuses.
My daughter attended atdp last summer as a rising 1st grader (took the
session on tidepools). She loved it. The curriculum & teaching were
great & the social aspect seemed fine. She was not as happy with the
extended care provided by the Cal youth sports camps, but the ATDP
program seemed first rate. We will definitely be returning this year.
See responses below to your questions:
(1) I am wondering if this program is for top tier academic students
or can any child attend it?
*Our child is A/B student generally, but the application process
required an essay also, as I recall. Also, during orientation, above
all, what I remember, was the director saying specifically that ATDP
is NOT camp. I took that to mean that the children are expected to
work, and do homework if required.
(2) If your child attended it, did he or she enjoy it and would you
send him/her again?
*Our child did enjoy it, and I believe the class ultimately helped him
in his next grade level. We plan on sending him again.
(3) Did it help with the academics the following year?
(4) How was the social environment for the child during the hours that
he/she was there?
*Not sure how to answer this, as we really weren't there for the
social aspect. It's like any class, sometimes everyone gets along
famously, and other times, there's a chance for conflict resolution.
At no time did I have concern over bullying, or the program tolerating
inappropriate behavior, if that's what you mean.
Great program, glad we found it, it's NOT camp, it's academic, but
delivered in a fun, engaging way. Hope that helps.
happy parent w/atdp
Re: Academic summer program for 9 year old
UC Berkeley has a great program- Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP).
It's an excellent, three week, accelerated academic program. Definitely
worth checking out. Kids can pick from a variety of classes, (one class for
the entire session) organized by grade/age. Classes are 1/2 day and you can
supplement with a UC sports camp on site, for a full day. Last year my 9
year old son took an anatomy class. They dissected fresh eyeballs and other
animal organs provided by a local butcher.
Re: Summer Camp with academic focus for 8 year old?
The Academic Talent Development Program at UC is great. The application
deadline just passed, but it's possible that not all the classes for his
age are full. It's the last 3 weeks of July.
Re: Summer camp w/academics for incoming 6th grader
not sure if this meets your exact criteria but check out
ATDP (academic talent development) a UC Berkeley summer
program with academic topic choices for each grade level...
held in Pt. Richmond. Our daughter is younger but loved the
class she took last year. They have to apply, get recs., and
do homework but it is also felt fun and low stress.
Re: Physics & engineering for 8 y.o
Check out Cal's Academic Talent and Development Program [ATDP],
run by their school of ed. My 2 kids had a great time last year.
You might be interested in ATDP, run by UC Berkeley. See
Google the ATDP (Academic Talent Development Program?)summer camp
offered by UC Berkeley and usually held near Richmond Annex or
Point Richmond (I think). My friends kids like this program and
there is a bunch of hands on opportunities for working with
science. I think a kid who likes mechanical stuff would find
this program interesting.
You do need to apply and perhaps get a teacher's signature. Look
for it online, and in the archives of this site.
Can anyone tell me what their experience has been with these
classes for 9th graders. My daughter is thinking of taking
Marine Biology, which meets 2 days a week with 4-6 hours of
homework per class. My question is.... is this really a
hard pushing academic class? When she was in 6th grade she
took a math class which was really fun. I'm wondering if
she really needs to be taking a tough class during summer
My son had great experiences with the ATDP program the
summers after 6th, 8th and 10th grades. In the latter 2
summers, he was in the secondary division and took 2 day
per week/5 credit afternoon classes on the Berkeley
campus. The 5 credit classes, like the one probably being
considered by your daughter, are much less demanding
timewise than the 10 credit/3 day per week classes. My son
was able to sleep late every day, go to his afternoon class
2 days a week, complete the 4 to 6 hours of class prep two
other days, then have one whole weekday and the entire
weekend off (15 - 20 hrs. of work per week spread over 4
days). So, my kid liked it, had plenty of time off, slept
late, played lots of video games, but still had a light,
built-in academically oriented structure 4 days a week for
6 weeks. I think he also liked taking classes on the UC
campus, taking the bus, and eating on Telegraph or Euclid
with all the UC summer students around. Each kid's
tolerance for summer academics is different, but I would
guess that the schedule is pretty comfortable for students
who like academics and aren't trying to do a lot of other
activities on top of ATDP. Good
Does anyone know about the gifted summer camp program at UC
Berkeley ? We are thinking about signing up our son. He's 9
(4th grade) and very advanced in math. Does anyone here have
experiences with that program ?
We were not impressed with the program about which I think you ask - ATDP (Academic
Talent Development Program). Over the course of two summers both of my very bright
sons took classes there and they didn't feel that it was anything much different from
their regular public school.
The drive (at least from our neighborhood in Oakland) is a total schlep and it is
My son's kindergarten teacher has recommended that we send him to one of the
summer classes offered through the UC Academic Talent Development Program.
Can anyone who has send a kindergartner/first grader to the program tell me
what the program for that age group is like? The only review on the web
site is regarding a high school student's experience. Would you recommend
it? Did your kids like it? What is it like? How is it structured? The
concept of an "academic" summer program for a six year old gives me pause.
ATDP has wonderful classes. Yes, they're kind of academic,
but all the teachers our daughter (who started as a kindergartener)
has had in their claases have been energetic and made
the subjects fun. I would not be scared away by the academic
label at all. Location in Pt. Richmond is not as convenient
as the former location in a school near El Cerrito Plaza
BART, but it's still a wonderful program. If you decide
to do it, better move quickly since I think the deadline
is coming up soon.
My son went to ATDP the summers after 2nd and 3rd grade.
The first year he took geology and loved it. The second
year he took physics and liked it less. He also went to
the sports camp associated with ATDP, so he was there
for the full day. He went strongly objecting to the
sports camp, but actually enjoyed many aspects of it--
martial arts, team sports, arts and crafts. In geology,
they made models of the earth, of fault lines, and finally
of a volcano, using techniques that ensured that they
understood about contours and mapping as well as the
geology. They learned about lots of different kinds of
rocks. In physics they built Rube Goldberg machines.
Actually, it was a family project we built at home.
Probably the hardest thing for my son in adjusting to
the program was that it was at a new school with no one
he knew. However, he made friends, particularly in the
sports camp. You can send me e-mail if you have other
My son took one of the ATDP kindergarten classes two
summers ago. If you have the opportunity to take
advantage of this program, you should. My son studied
oviparous animals, and the course was both stimulating
and challenging--he talked about it all the time and he
looked forward to going. The teacher was absolutely
fantastic. There is enough variety (reading, writing,
art, computer projects, study trips, class projects)
that he didn't get bored. The classes meet 4 days a
week for 1/2 day (students can also enroll in an
optional recreation program for the other half of the
day), and there are plenty of breaks. On Wednesdays
there are exploration classes (an additional charge);
we only did this once, though--my son is quite shy and
meeting new kids is hard, so the Wednesday classes,
which were comprised of students from a variety of
classes, didn't work so well for him. The elementary
program is held at Washington School (at the end of
Richmond Parkway) so we had to adjust our commute
schedule to make sure he got to the program on time,
and parking around the school is pretty difficult, so
if you plan to enroll, arrive early for pick up and
re-UC Academic Talent Development Program - For program specifics see their
website: http://www-atdp.berkeley.edu/ My son has attended for several
years, he started the summer after 2d grade. He loves it and looks forward
to attending every summer. He chooses the class he wants to take, not me.
The classes are 1/2 day, with a morning recess, four days/week. The
classes are pretty academic, teachers are excellent, and if your child is
interested in Geology, Simple Machines, Photography or Lab Chemistry or
whatever, they will have a blast. My son took Geology as a 2d grader, he
absolutely loved it and learned alot. The teachers do an incredible job of
introducing the class to the subject in an interesting and engaging way.
Both the kids and the teachers seem to really like the opportunity to spend
4 weeks focused on one subject. There is a small amount of daily homework.
The classes work toward a final project of some sort and there is a day at
the end of the session where the classes present their projects. It's
amazing to see what they've spent 4 weeks working on. There is also a
schedule of fun, optional one-day classes for the fifth day. There is a
sports program to fill out the day if you need a full day program. The
sports program was quite poorly run a few years ago when we first
participated, but seems to have improved significantly since then though I'm
not sure I'd enroll a to-be first grader.
My children went to the program after Kindergarten and
enjoyed it. They are in 4th grade and we will return
this year and have gone every year in between. The
teachers are great and the classes are age appropriate-
-for kindergarten the choices are rocky reefs and tide
pools or oviparous eggs. Deadline to apply is March
29th. Check out www.atdp.berkeley.edu.
Both of my children have attended summer camp at ATDP for the past 2-3
years, and they both have enjoyed it very much. It's not so much
Re: summer programs for 15-year-old
I would recommend the Summer Academic Development Program here on
campus. Their web site is: http://www-atdp.berkeley.edu/
My daughter took classes two summers in a row. She adored it. Her
taking a class in mythology totally turned her around and gave her
the direction she needed. She's now a college freshman classics
If you have a child who is very bright but is turned off to the
social aspects of high school this program gives them an opportunity
to really study something of their own choosing and be around kids
who are there for the sake of learning.
Re: Math enrichment classes for 6-year-old
Check out UC Berkeley's Academic Talent Development (ATDP) program.
It's a summer program, and although the deadline for applications has passed,
they still will accept applications for classes that have not yet filled.
For course descriptions of "Fun with Math" (for those who have just finished
Kindergarten) and "The Joy of Math" (for those who have finished 1st grade),
To inquire about course availability, you should call the ATDP office.
The staff is wonderful and will be happy to help.
My daughter, who is now a junior, attended this program last summer.
She got into her second choice class, mythology. She adored her
class and really got along great with the instructor. She also
enjoyed meeting kids from other high schools. As a result of the
class, she had a real advantage over her current classmates in
English Lit and European History, because both courses covered
certain aspects of mythology. And, she can answer all the Jeopardy
She is reapplying for this coming summer. We both highly recommend
the program. Olga
this page was last updated: Mar 9, 2014
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