S’12 Newsletter Issue One – Welcome!

Inside this issue…

Features

Week 1 Announcements

ATDP & Campus Resources

S’12 is ATDP’s weekly Secondary Division newsletter. Here you will find program news and announcements and learn about what is happening in different ATDP classes. You will hear from members of the ATDP family (the Faculty Director, teachers, mentors, staff, and alumni). S’12 is also about you; we provide a forum through which you can share your thoughts and work. Submit your poetry, editorials, reviews, photographs, or artwork at the ATDP office or via e-mail.

From the Faculty Director

Welcome to ATDP, first time parents and students, we hope that this will not be the last time that you are here. To the returning students and parents, welcome back for another year and another class.

Why are you here? One reason, of course, is to learn from the talented and dedicated individuals who serve as teachers for us, many of whom have been with us for many, many moons. To paraphrase our brochure, you are also here to meet others like yourselves who enjoy academic adventure. Some of you come to participate in fields of study and areas of research that may not be offered at your home schools while others are here to accelerate their pace of learning by completing a year-long course in six weeks.

What ever the reason for you being here, our vision has always remained the same: to welcome youth from all backgrounds into an academic community. Our ongoing goal is to help our students to think and understand ever more deeply, in addition to encouraging them to rise rapidly through levels of study. More than ever, we hope that our work here will inspire you to continue on the path to competent and committed citizenship.

What does it take to succeed in a program like this?  There are of course several factors.  The first is having the prerequisite knowledge and skills.  Being admitted to ATDP means that your application was evaluated and the information that you provided – grades, work product, letters of recommendation, diagnostic placement tests for mathematics courses – all of the suggest that you have these pre-requisite skills. But these are not enough.

Additional factors include what we refer to as task commitment, that is, hard work. Indeed, one answer to the question, why are you here, is to work harder than you have worked before.  But students have to do more than work harder – they also have to work smarter.  Whether completing a one-semester or a one-year course in six weeks, you are still completing more material in a shorter space of time, so you need to be committed, motivated, and focused.

At the same time, you may also run into some doubts about your academic ability. There will be others in your classes who will appear to be smarter that you, who will appear to grasp the information more easily than you.  This feeling is a manifestation of the Big-Fish-Little-Pond-effect. As this applies to you, your home school is the little pond and you are the big fish in that pond.  However, you are now entering an ocean called ATDP, and although you were one of the big fish in your little pond of school, you will see many fish that appear to be much bigger than you at ATDP – and you will begin to wonder, Can I survive as a little fish in this bigger pond?  When this question occurs to you, and it will occur on multiple occasions, you need to say, Yes I can.

Will it be easy? No.
Will you always get the highest grades in class? No.
Can you succeed at ATDP? Yes, you can.

We encourage parents to let students choose the classes that they are going to take. If you are going to be investing hard work in an academic topic, it should be a topic that you are passionate about. Finally, I want to remind you that whatever grade you get at ATDP, one important goal is to enjoying the process of learning with others who like the same things that you like – you are pacing each other on the road to excellence, So work hard this summer, enjoy the journey, make a new friend, and best wishes for the summer.

Frank C. Worrell
Faculty Director