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I am thinking about setting up a leadership afterschool program for gifted students in my community. I picture a weekly afterschool gathering - 1-2 hours, possibly an outdoor classroom. Monthly guests, hands-on science, and more. I'd like to focus on leadership skills in interaction with teen or adult professionals (possibly mentors), community giving/charitable work, and being a steward of the environment, just to name a few things I think our bright young kids should be exposed to more of.


My son is in Sonoma CA public school, but I want to both provide a social opportunity as well as advanced learning that is appropriate for his level of curiosity. He is going into 4th grade and I am thinking the program could be for 2-5th grades.


Does anyone have experience setting something like this up?


My questions are:

- Did you work with the school district, school or anyone else? Or just set up on your own?

- Are there curriculums for something like this out there so I don't have to reinvent the wheel?

- Do homeschoolers have networks I could/should tap into?

- Would people pay for this?

- What have you learned from doing it so far?


Ideas and thoughts are so appreciated! I am trying to decide if I should approach the school district first or just make it on my own and get it up & running then approach them. I prefer the former so they could set the "gifted" criteria and I would be helping them out potentially serve an underserved population. Our district has no gifted/GATE program.


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Have you looked into 4-H?  You can start a club (similar to a scout troop) and define the focus as specifically or generally as you would like. We have several in our area that are STEM-based and don't do anything with agriculture or animals. I think there's a robotics league now too?  The benefit would be that you could tie into their state and national leadership opportunities.


This is one program I researched for years and really admire, but could never figure how to fit it into our schedule.






Here's a club:  http://www.pioneervalleyrobotics.com/

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