Elementary Division 2020

Online Family Guide




Even during a global pandemic, ATDP remains committed to helping you make the most of your summer. We're glad you're joining us in rising to the challenge.

This page contains comprehensive information about our first-ever online program. Information here supersedes our usual program details found elsewhere on the website.


What to Expect

Washington School Building

ATDP remains committed to its mission

We believe that our core mission—to enable all highly motivated and prepared students to pursue their academic passions through rigorous summer coursework in a community of like-minded peers—can still be achieved through remote instruction.


An ATDP instructor works with a smiling student at a computer

We want to preserve our vibrant community

ATDP courses aren't just about the curriculum. Every summer, students come from far and wide to share their interests with one another, work in class together, and make new friends. In a time of social distancing, it is all the more important that we find ways to maintain students' opportunities for connection.


An ATDP instructor and student exchange laughter

We continue to emphasize active and collaborative learning

We heard you: the #1 factor that's important to ED families is having an engaging, live connection between students and instructors. We've always united teachers who are passionate about their subject with students who love to learn, and it's clear that our top priority should be preserving that interactive, collaborative nature of our classes. The inspired curriculum makes learning fun. ED class sessions will include a mix of live ("synchronous") and self-directed ("asynchronous") instruction and activity. nstructors will be planning face-to-face time each class day that will increase by grade. For kindergartners it will be at least 25 minutes, and for sixth graders it will be at least 45 minutes. Students will have the equivalent of three hours of class content daily, but we don’t want to overdo the screen time.



Same rigor, different format

We aim to provide the same academic challenge that students have come to expect every summer, even though we won't be able to meet at Washington School this year. Instead, we'll be using Zoom, which is UC Berkeley's officially supported remote instruction platform. (We know you might have questions about Zoom; see our technology FAQs below.) Enrolled students will be required to join video classrooms on Zoom so that they can interact with their instructor and fellow students face-to-face.

See Technology Resources for Online ATDP courses



Catalog Updates

Our instructors are working to adapt their courses to be delivered online. Some modifications may be minor, some major, and some courses may be revised entirely. Others may be canceled because the instructor isn't able to teach the course online. If you need to request a different course or wait pool, see Requesting a Course Change.

For this summer, most courses will now require that families purchase some classroom supplies (e.g. paper, glue, markers, etc.) in order for students to complete activities. Some teachers may also prepare supply kits for families to pick up. The supply pick up will be at Washington School on July 5 and July 6. The supply lists and more information about supply kits will be included in a letter from your teacher, which will be (available in your online account by late June). To account for this expense for families, we have reduced tuition fees for all Elementary Division courses by $30..

Updated calendar

Many dates and deadlines have been pushed back to give everyone a little more time to prepare. This includes new timelines for tuition payments and financial aid. See the revised ED calendar.

New & revised classes

The following courses have been added or significantly revised for the online program. Note that grades refer to a student's current grade.

Canceled classes

If you were placed in a class that has been canceled, you will be considered for any course you have already selected as an alternative or for which you are in the wait pool. You are also encouraged to provide us with additional course choices (see Requesting a Course Change).

  • Fun with Math (K)
  • Visual Storytelling (K)
  • Mathmagic! (Grade 1)
  • Exploring Light and Vision (Grade 2)
  • Rainforests (Grade 2)
  • Fluid Physics (Grade 4)
  • The Physics of Motion and Force (Grade 5)
  • Creative Problem Solving (Grade 6)
  • Coding with Greenfoot (Grade 6)




Preparing for Class

Check off each item below as your summer at ATDP approaches.

  • Review this Student Guide
    You're doing it right now! Well done!

  • Complete your Enrollment Form - due Friday, May 29th
    Review the policies and procedures below before agreeing to enroll. See the Course Placement tab in your online account for details and tuition payment instructions. Need to withdraw? See Withdrawal & Refunds.

  • Register for Explorations
    Optional. Students who have confirmed enrollment may sign up for Explorations online workshops held on Wednesdays. Parents, we even have Explorations for you! Because of the shift in format, spots are much more limited this year, so act quickly! Once you've submitted your notification of attendance, you'll find the online Explorations Registration Form in the Forms section of your online account.

  • Review the Orientation Letter from your instructor
    By late June, instructors will have an Orientation Letter available to download. This year it will include information about class supplies and how to connect online.

  • Complete your Online Learner Readiness Checklist
    By late June, ATDP will have a checklist for families to ensure that their setup (both technological and academic) is ready for learning through Zoom class meetings. Please keep an eye on our News page for details as they become available!

  • ED Welcome & Orientation Online
    Recommended, optional. Even though we won't be able to bring everyone to Washington School for an in-person orientation, we will be organizing an online version of our Elementary Division Orientation to welcome students and families, provide updates, and answer questions. Please keep an eye on our News page for details as they become available!

In late August, ATDP will send students their instructor’s final evaluation of their class performance.



Policies & Procedures


Tuition Payment

Follow instructions for making your tuition payment as you complete the online Enrollment Form. You can pay online using a card or by mailing in a personal check or money order. Mailed payments may take much longer than usual to process this year since we cannot receive mail at our office in the usual way. We recommend paying online if at all possible.

Tuition payments are due by May 29 for currently placed families and within 10 business days for applicants just now applying during our extended period. For families electing to pay in installments, a minimum amount of half (50%) of your tuition balance is due May 29, with the remaining balance to be paid in full no later than July 17. (For families requesting financial aid, the minimum deposit is $100.)


Financial Aid
About our financial aid budget

ATDP is entirely self-supporting, and its budget for each 12-month period beginning July 1 is based on application and tuition fees received. Financial aid awards are made from a small percentage of the tuition paid for classes as well as individual donations specifically for the purpose of financial aid. The COVID-19 situation, which has resulted in lower incomes for many families, has also resulted in fewer applications to ATDP, fewer donations, and a fully online program, which comes with additional, unanticipated costs for technological and instructional supports. Thus, there is less funding for financial aid this year, requiring an adjustment to our usual financial aid process and schedule.

Changes to this year's process

Financial aid decisions have been deferred to June 5. Regardless of financial aid decisions, all families need to submit their minimum tuition deposit by May 29 in order to hold their spot in class. This year, the minimum deposit for families requesting financial aid is $100. This amount is fully refundable up until the June 26 refund deadline.

We will need to wait to see our enrollment and revenue numbers before we can determine the amount of financial aid (if any) that will be available this year. Those applying for aid (both those who already have and those who are requesting exceptions for late consideration) will receive notification regarding any adjustments to their balance.


Requesting a Course Change

All communications regarding changes in course selection must be in writing and sent to the ATDP office through the online Modify Course Selection form. You can find links to this online form in the Course Placement tab of your online account. You may only request courses for which you have not already been considered. You may also use this form to request to be added to the wait pool for a currently closed class or to request a second course (completing grades 4, 5, or 6 only). Note: We are giving priority to students in classes that were canceled. Their requests will be considered before requests from students who want to add a second class.

Allow the Director at least ten business days to review your request and do not send more than one copy of your request. We often need to wait for spaces to open up before we can make course changes, so please be patient. We will make changes until mid-June.

If you are requesting a course change and are planning to decline your current course placement, please act promptly in submitting your online Enrollment Form, selecting "no" to the notification of attendance. This will clear your spot for another student, which might improve your chance for a new placement.

We will send you a new course placement notice if we are able to accommodate your request. You will then have ten business days to accept or decline the new offer.


Withdrawals & Refunds

If you decide not to accept your course placement, you must select the appropriate option on the online Enrollment Form (in the Forms tab of your account). The form must be submitted no later than Friday, May 29th, 2020, but please complete it as soon as possible so that another student can be placed in the class. If you need to withdraw after you have completed your Enrollment Form, please email your written withdrawal notice to ATDP.

Prior to the full refund deadline (June 26th, 2020), payments are refundable. After this date, refunds are subject to the Refund Schedule; see below. No refund will be made in the case of a student who fails to attend classes or is withdrawn from ATDP for failure to meet the standards of appropriate behavior, including completion of homework. Students with outstanding balances after July 17th, 2020 will be automatically withdrawn from the program without refund.

Due to the major change in our program format, families that withdraw may request that their application processing fee be refunded or credited towards an application for summer 2021. To make your request, send a brief email to atdpoffice@berkeley.edu with your student's name and whether you would like a credit or refund. Refunds will not be processed until later in the fall. Families also have the option of contributing their application fee towards ATDP's budget for financial aid, which may be heavily impacted this year.

Refund Schedule
Friday, June 26th 100% Refund of tuition paid to date
Friday, July 3rd 40% Refund of tuition if paid in full
Friday, July 10th 20% Refund of tuition if paid in full
No refund after July 10th
  • All withdrawals from the Program must be made in writing (email).
  • Withdrawal date is the email date.
  • The refund amounts indicated are based on tuition paid in full.
  • If paying in installments, refunds are issued only if tuition paid to date exceeds the refund amount according to the percentages above.
  • Refunds will be issued by the end of August.


Live online class meetings

All students are expected to attend online meetings via the Zoom video-conferencing platform. Students will abide by all ATDP policies, including those regarding behavior, academic integrity, and attendance (see below) no differently than if attending an in-person class. Students who anticipate any problems in meeting the technology requirements of online class meetings must inform ATDP as soon as possible. (List these in the 'Concerns' section of your online Enrollment Form.)

Technology malfunctions or other difficulties that prevent full participation in class may constitute an absence and are not the responsibility of ATDP. Even provided good faith efforts on the part of the student and of ATDP to resolve technical issues, missing too much live class time may result in dismissal from the program without refund.


Attendance policy

Missing too much class time for any reason may result in dismissal from the program without refund. There are no excused absences at ATDP. As expectations are high and courses are fast-paced, even one absence makes it difficult to keep pace; students are expected to attend every live online class meeting. Even in the case of unanticipated circumstances, there are some things that cannot be "made up" (such as introductions, class participation, group activities, etc). Students cannot miss the first two days of class.

Students who miss class time may not receive a final evaluation.

Anticipated attendance conflicts

All matters affecting regular attendance—absence, coming late, or leaving early—must be communicated in writing to the ATDP main office (not the instructor) by the parent/guardian (not the student). If there are special circumstances that will affect a student's ability to attend every live online class meeting please contact the program office in writing as soon as possible (you may use the 'Concerns' section of your online Enrollment Form). Anticipated absences not addressed prior to the June 26 refund deadline will not be accommodated.

Unanticipated attendance issues

If there is an unexpected absence (e.g., illness, emergencies)—including leaving before the end of the class meeting—the parent or guardian must contact the ATDP main office. Please note that unlike the regular school year, there are no excused absences at ATDP.


Students must be on time to live online class meetings, and are expected to be ready to begin class exactly on time. Students who are tardy twice accrue an absence. Students who are tardy a third time may be dismissed from the program without refund.


Code of Conduct

Inappropriate/unacceptable conduct includes but is not limited to behavior that disrupts instruction, disrespects any member of the ATDP community, misuses technology used for instruction, or exhibits uncivil behavior. This also includes transmitting any inappropriate or objectionable behavior, imagery, speech, or other content during online meetings, whether intentional or unintentional. Any student who commits an act of inappropriate conduct, or whose family member commits such acts while interacting with ATDP staff, faculty or students, is subject to dismissal from ATDP without refund.


Conditions of Enrollment

Parents or guardians of attending students must inform ATDP of any special circumstances or potential conflicts that may affect the student's ability to attend live online class meetings, complete coursework, or abide by behavioral standards required by the Program. (List these in the 'Concerns' section of your Enrollment Form.) In the event of a conflict with these policies, ATDP reserves the right to dismiss students from the program without refund and to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.


Because participation at ATDP is voluntary, the University requires parents/guardians of participating minors to sign the following releases and waivers:

  • Photo and Video Release
  • Waiver of Liability

These legal agreements are included as part of your Enrollment Form.


Our Mission
Research participation

ATDP has a responsibility to conduct research that contributes new knowledge that leads to growth and improvement in our understanding of how academically talented students learn and how they can be better served. We ask our students and their families to assist in this effort by contributing between 1 and 3 hours per year to participating in this research. However, opting not to participate in research will in no way affect admission into the program. Before a student can participate in a study, ATDP gives detailed information about it to the student and his or her parent(s) and obtains their informed consent in writing.


The University of California, in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, or age in any of its policies, procedures, or practices; nor does the University discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, University programs and activities including but not limited to academic admissions, financial aid, educational services, and student employment.





Online Course Quality
How will in-person class activities translate online?

This is one of the largest areas of focus that ATDP staff and faculty have worked together to address. We plan to offer courses of comparable value to our usual in-person offerings, even while many adaptations may be needed. Where possible, instruction will be consistent with our original course descriptions. Even for courses that have to shift their focus, we have learned much from the current strategies employed by schools and universities that will allow a valuable learning experience. For example, our Kitchen Chemistry course will include at-home labs involving common grocery ingredients. ATDP has always intentionally encouraged teachers to innovate, and this year that will be more important than ever!

Will the online courses have substantial content?

While many courses have been revised for the online format—some quite heavily—our expectations remain as high as always. Instructors will offer live interaction and feedback in their areas of expertise, and students are expected to attend every class meeting (see the attendance policy).

Could classes still be held in person later this summer?

No. Even if shelter-in-place orders are lifted before or during the summer, we are following guidelines that advise social distancing measures will be needed for quite some time. The safety and well-being of our teachers and students remains our priority concern.


I've heard Zoom isn't secure. Why are you using it for online classes instead of some other platform?

Zoom is UC Berkeley's officially supported remote instruction platform. We're paying very close attention to reports of security issues with Zoom at other schools (such as "Zoombombing"), and we'll be communicating best practices and expectations to both instructors and students. We're also currently investigating several potential approaches to our technical setup in order to keep ATDP class meetings on Zoom as secure as possible.

What if I don't have the minimum technology required for live online class meetings?

First, see our page for Technology Resources. If you anticipate having a lack of technology or technical problems, be sure to discuss it in the "Concerns" section of your online Enrollment Form. We will work with families on a case-by-case basis to see if any accommodations can be made.


Fees & costs
Why are your fees being lowered only by $30? An online course is cheaper to run than an in-person course, isn't it?

That's actually a common misconception. When you account for the large amount of curriculum planning and adaptation, online infrastructure, and technical training and testing, running an online course easily matches the cost of running it in-person. ATDP staff and faculty will be working many extra hours to ensure we maintain the value of our courses and continue to offer instruction of the highest quality.

It is also important to know that ATDP is self-supporting, funded entirely by paying families. We receive no funding from campus or from external grants.

My financial situation has changed significantly due to COVID-19. Can I still apply for financial aid?

Even though our financial aid deadlines have passed, families may request an exception for late consideration. Our ability to offer aid awards will depend on how much revenue we take in from families that are attending this year.

To request an exception for financial aid, compose a written letter of explanation (email is fine) along with copies of any supporting documents, such as pay stubs, unemployment verification, layoff notices, etc. We strongly recommend that you redact (black out) any sensitive information, such as social security numbers. Email to atdpoffice@berkeley.edu. You may fax documents to 510-642-0510, but please also notify us via email so we know to retrieve your fax from our office.


Class schedule
Do I need to be at my computer for the full 3.5 hours of class each day it meets?

No, that would be too much screen time for Elementary Division students. Each day instructors will be holding live (“synchronous”) class meetings for a minimum of 25 minutes for kindergartners and gradually increasing to 45 minutes for sixth graders. Meetings may be longer than the grade minimum. Your time in front of a screen will vary depending on your instructor's lesson plans, and each class meeting will involve a mix of live ("synchronous") and independent ("asynchronous") activity. We are strongly recommending that teachers and students limit continuous blocks of screen time, working in a variety of learning activities and breaks. Instructors may also offer more flexible face-to-face meetings such as office hours or small group meetings outside of scheduled class time.

What happens if school schedules conflict with ATDP?

We are mindful of the possibility of there being an early opening of California's public schools. We intend to follow the situation and will work with students on a case-by-case basis regarding opportunities to complete their ATDP course.

I'm an international student who was planning to attend and I would still like to do the class online, but my timezone will not work for the class times. Can I take the whole class asynchronously?

No. ATDP maintains a strict attendance policy, and this applies to all of our courses' live online class meetings. If you anticipate not being able to attend the online meetings, you will not be able to attend the program.