Counselor Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do we identify students for ATYP?

    First, look at the test cut-off scores that we send you in the fall. This is your first set of criteria. Some school districts send this to us at the district level so you may not be asked to do this each year. Next, talk to your English and math teachers. Who are their standout students? Who writes particularly well, or has a knack for interpreting literature, asks great questions (even if they are out-of-the box), or understands mathematical equations at a higher level? Some of these students may not do particularly well on the MEAP, but they should test for eligibility as well. What about students whose parents have come to you and asked for more challenging material? Also, behavioral and/or organizational issues should not be a factor in recommending testing. Gifted students with time on their hands can be difficult, and executive function skills and intellect do not always go together. Think outside the box when considering who should test.

  • How do we find more minority students who may qualify for ATYP?

    African-American, Latino, and lower socio-economic status students frequently face obstacles such as implicit bias and systemic racism that hinder academic success. However, studies show that the percentage of gifted students in these populations is the same as it is in suburban white populations. Consider the context of your student’s abilities. A student who seems advanced compared to others in a specific community or situation deserves a second look. The key is recognizing potential in these students. See the above question.

  • I’ve identified a student late. How do I direct them?

    If a student is identified as a potential candidate for ATYP after the fall informational meeting, please give them an ATYP Parent Brochure and ask them to read the information on our website, We are also happy to walk them through the process, either via email at or by phone at (269)387-3553. Although it works best if students test in the winter, we accept scores from tests as late as June, so parents should be encouraged to look into the process even after spring conferences.

  • How do ATYP classes differ from a standard honors course?

    A standard honors course teaches more complex material, and expects students to comprehend that material at a deeper level. ATYP takes the one-year honors course and compresses it into a one-semester course, and then teaches it to younger students (usually by one to two years), so the content is both highly advanced and accelerated.

  • How much homework does ATYP entail?

    ATYP students frequently spend between 5-10 hours per week doing homework, although this can vary widely between students. Students are encouraged to spend their study hall time working on ATYP homework, thus reducing the time they have to work on ATYP at home. Some students like to finish their regular homework during this period and work on ATYP at home, and this is fine, too.

  • Don’t students get burned out doing this much work?

    While many students thrive on the challenge of ATYP, some do become frustrated with the number of hours ATYP requires. ATYP is not for every student, and we understand when students are conflicted about participating in ATYP and still having time to participate in sports, band, and other activities. The majority of our students learn ways to balance their priorities, become fantastic time managers, and become much better students in the process. This may be the first time a student has been challenged in this way and there is usually a learning curve associated with having appropriate challenge in their day.

  • How does ATYP meet the course content expectations?

    Meeting course content expectations is a high priority at ATYP. We have reviewed the Common Core expectations and determined how we can meet them in each course sequence. The documents explaining this are available on our website.

  • How does ATYP teach the material when it only meets once per week?

    In math classes, this is done through a cyclical approach to the material, where homework is 1/3 new material, 1/3 material being reviewed for the first time, and 1/3 material being reviewed for the second time. Students are learning from their homework and from their instructor. In the English classes, students create 5-8 typed pages per week. These pages are reviewed by the instructor, returned, and then edited and rewritten by the student. Vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, and spelling are all addressed in the rewriting and correction of materials. Some assignments are rewritten as many as three or four times. This is in addition to reading assignments/literary analysis, class discussions, and presentations.

  • Does ATYP ever take older or younger students?

    ATYP does, on the rare occasion, take an older or younger student. This is done on a case-by-case basis. Questions regarding individual students should be addressed to the ATYP office.

  • Is it possible to take ATYP and receive an IB diploma?

    We have had students complete the entire ATYP math or English sequence and receive an IB diploma. IB requires students to take IB English in their junior and senior years so our students would need to wait until then to take those classes.

  • How successfully do students move from ATYP to KAMSC?

    Many ATYP students go on to study at KAMSC (and at BCAMSC). KAMSC is familiar with our students and understands how to place them. Many of our former students have gone on to do very well at KAMSC and on KAMSC’s computer science teams especially. The students continue their math studies at the math and science center but can continue to take ATYP English courses.

  • What can I do as a counselor to help my students be successful in ATYP?

    The most important things you can do as a counselor are:

    1. Make sure that the student’s schedule gives them a study hall period at the end of the day, and that the class before that is not difficult for them to miss.
    2. Ensure that the space they have to study in for that time is conducive to studying. For English and AP Computer Science students, computer access is very beneficial.
    3. Talk to the teacher in the class the student misses one day per week to make sure they have a plan, and that they will be helpful to the student in catching up on any missed material.
  • What do ATYP students do after ATYP?

    After our two-year math program, students are ready to take AP Calculus. Since that class is offered in most high schools, they can take that through their high school. After AP Calculus, the students can take AP Statistics, AP Calculus BC, or dual enroll at KVCC or WMU to take Calculus 2 and beyond. Our English program has three to four years – Honors English 9/10, Honors English 11/12, AP English (both Literature and Language), and ATYP IV – Literature, Philosophy and the Media in the Postmodern World: From Socrates to Smart Phones. After the three to four year program, students will be ready to take English electives if available, take writing intensive classes such as AP Government or AP Psychology, or dual enroll at KVCC or WMU.

  • What are the benefits of ATYP?
    1. ATYP provides advanced and accelerated instruction. The challenging curriculum ensures that students learn and grow continuously instead of sometimes spending weeks relearning the same material.
    2. ATYP classes are taught by instructors who are highly skilled in the subject matter being taught and who understand gifted students and their needs.
    3. ATYP classes are presented in a style reminiscent of a college seminar. Open discussion and debate on math and English topics engages students and helps develop critical thinking skills.
    4. The speed and depth of the content presented requires students to develop study and executive function skills. Time management, organization, prioritization, and goal setting are emphasized. Mastering these skills prepares ATYP students for high school, college, and beyond, and instills well-earned self-confidence.
    5. Bringing together like-ability peers gives students a sense of community and an understanding that they are not alone in their atypical thoughts, skills, and abilities. Many students form bonds and create friendships that last well beyond ATYP.
    6. All ATYP courses award high school credit, even if the student is still in middle school. Although each school district counts those credits differently (some toward graduation, some just acknowledging the student has learned the material), it usually frees up students to explore other courses in high school that they might enjoy, to dual enroll at a college or university, or to take more AP or IB classes for college credit.