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CMU discontinues C-MITES summer program for gifted youth

The university announced at the end of the summer that the 2014 session of the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary and Secondary Students (C-MITES) program will be its last.

A letter on the C-MITES home page announced, “As the 2014 summer workshop session ends, we are writing to inform you that the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Talented Elementary and Secondary Students (C-MITES) program at Carnegie Mellon University will not be continuing after July 31, 2014.”

C-MITES, which had just finished its 22nd year, offered summer programs for gifted elementary and middle school students across Pennsylvania. The program was founded in 1992 by Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik, who also served as its director.

The letter on the C-MITES website continues to say that C-MITES “offered challenging weekend and summer programs in mathematics, sciences and the humanities for thousands of academically talented students as well as professional development activities for educators.”

C-MITES, an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said, cost between $255 and $500 for a one- to two-week half-day program, with limited financial aid available.

In the article Alex Gray, western region coordinator of the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education, said that C-MITES was a “staple” among local opportunities for academically gifted youth.

C-MITES also administered the EXPLORE test, a standardized exam used to measure college readiness that students typically take around 8th or 9th grade. The EXPLORE test is designed to prepare students for PLAN, typically taken in 10th grade, and the ACT, typically taken in 11th or 12th grade.

The ACT announced at the beginning of the summer, however, that they will no longer offer the EXPLORE test, and will support “ACT Explore testing after June 13, 2014 only where pre-existing contractual obligations necessitate.”

The ACT is replacing EXPLORE and PLAN with the ACT Aspire test, which assesses students in “grade 3 through early high school” for college and career readiness.

According to Carnegie Mellon’s press release on the subject, C-MITES was discontinued because of “declining testing and program enrollments and an increase in similar program offerings through traditional and digital formats.”

A university representative declined to comment outside of the released statements.

Although C-MITES is no longer offered, the press release notes that the university still offers “more than 75 challenging programs for K-12 students and teachers each year,” including “Architecture Explorations, the Tech Nights program in the School of Computer Science, the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences and a Chemistry Carnival in late September.”

Carnegie Mellon offers many programs for gifted youth through the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach, which, according to its website, “work[s] with faculty, students and staff through on-campus and community-based activities that improve educational opportunities, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education for youth.”