Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about what gt.school does and how to join
Who is gt.school for?
Currently, we are focused on Gifted & Talented students 13-18 years old, but we will be opening enrollment for more ages in the next year! Stay tuned for updates with our newsletter.
Why is gt.school explicitly for Gifted & Talented students?
We launched gt.school with a specific focus on GT kids because we believe there is a huge unmet need for better education, support and acceleration for our GT students. You can learn more about that need here.
When do gt.kids do gt.school?
Our Life Skills Challenge involves scheduled workshops with our coaches, and personal exercises students complete on their own time. Workshops are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and offered at two different times in the afternoon - 4 pm and 8 pm CST.
If students continue in our year-round program, they will continue to develop life skills and work on their own personal goals with 1:1 coaching. Students also have access to our academic curriculum which includes accelerated learning with our adaptive learning apps. We expect students to commit at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week on accelerated academics. Students work on gt.school academics when it's most convenient for them, typically afternoons, evenings and / or weekends.
Is gt.school a replacement for regular school?
No. gt.school is an online afterschool program that accelerates students’ learning, but is not a replacement for a full academic program.
Why is there such an emphasis on mastery?
Mastery-based learning (or Mastery Learning) is one of the most important concepts in education, but one of the most neglected. All education builds on what you have learned, and if you have holes in your learning (which you do even if you have been getting low A’s and B's), it is like building a house on an unstable foundation. It eventually catches up with you, and for many students that occurs in the more advanced math/science courses in high school.
Mastery is also an important concept in life skills - no one wants to work with someone who does OK quality work. They want someone who does expert work. Mastery level work should be taught early to lay the foundation for success.
Read more about Mastery Learning here.
How long is my child enrolled in gt.school?
Parents can try gt.school and cancel anytime. Currently, gt.school is open to 13-18 year olds and students within those ranges can remain in gt.school until they are 18. We will be opening gt.school up to more ages in the next year. Stay tuned with our newsletter to be the first to know!
What about summer programs?
We are a year-round online program, so students can join and participate in gt.school year-round.
Can I speak with someone to learn more?
Yes, we would love to hear from you! You can reach out to our team with questions at any time.
Which learning apps do you use?
At gt.school we use several adaptive learning apps, and combine them with our mastery learning approach. Some common apps we use are Khan Academy, Knowre and ALEKS. We carefully vet learning apps, and combine them in the right order to enable gt.kids to dramatically accelerate their learning and master a subject.
Why do you use multiple apps instead of just one?
Using multiple apps reinforces mastery. Apps also have different styles – some are very visual, teaching through videos, while others are more conceptual or test-based. By combining apps, we enable students to learn in multiple ways, and continually reinforce their learning. That is how we enable kids to learn 3-5x as fast as traditional school, and consistently reach high goals like testing in the 99th percentile for math.
Can’t I just use the apps and not pay for gt.school?
Yes, anyone has access to adaptive learning apps. However, most parents who have purchased these apps for their children have had limited success. It is not the access to technology that limits gifted students, but the motivation, habits and hard work. Three things set gt.school apart:
- Our unique approach of mastery learning – not just casually dabbling in apps, but using them until a student masters the subject and forms a foundation for more difficult material to come.
- Our motivational models. Parents struggle to motivate their children to use apps. Again, access is not the limitation: consistent use is. That’s where our coaches come in. gt.school spends most of its energy building a world-class team of performance coaches that specialize in motivation and habit formation.
- Our gt.community. We bring the brightest kids together in one place to support and motivate each other.
The combination of apps, mastery learning, coaches, and a supportive community is what enables gt.kids to truly excel.
How do you motivate kids to use the apps?
We have no interest in gt.school being a program that is forced on kids by their parents. We hold ourselves to the standard that gt.kids must love gt.school. The shorthand we use is "gt.school needs to be more compelling than TikTok, Minecraft, or Fortnite." It’s a high bar, but we use a suite of motivational models to make gt.school as compelling as social media. You can read more about them here.
Our coaches are there to create moments of motivation every day. Coaches help match the right motivation model to the student. Just having a coach – someone that cares and is there for each success – is in itself a strong motivator for kids.
Why do you give kids a debit card?
We use a host of motivational tools to encourage and inspire kids based on their goals and passions. A few include leaderboards, teams, and contests. But sometimes money is the best motivator, so we use this as well. Parents have been using extrinsic motivators (e.g. allowances or extra video-game time) for decades, and we thoughtfully leverage these at gt.school too.
Who are the coaches?
Our coaches are high-performing athletes. Many parents find it counterintuitive to use coaches from athletic backgrounds instead of academia. We use athletes because they are not there to teach math: adaptive learning apps and mastery learning do a much better job of that, as research shows. They are there to inspire, motivate, and teach kids the right habits.
Coaches apply the athletic ethos of practice to academics. They know what it takes to put in deliberate, consistent work, continually push themselves, and even have fun along the way.
When it comes to motivation and habit formation, high-performing athletes, not academics, are the true experts.
All coaches have been thoroughly vetted for their exemplary achievements. You can get to know them here!
How does my child interact with their coach?
When your child joins, they will be placed on a team. Led by a coach, the team will go through a 2-week orientation called gt bootcamp. There will be 3 Zoom calls per week with the team and coach during bootcamp. Just like a sports trainer, coaches are there to be your child’s academic performance trainer. Specifically, coaches:
- Help students set ambitious goals. Following a mastery mindset, students set their own goals, but coaches encourage them to challenge themselves and achieve the best version of themselves.
- Help students follow through with goals. This may be quick check-ins throughout the week (“How did the Level 5 Algebra test go?”) and more in-depth sessions to evaluate, consult and adapt. Coaches work each day to create moments of motivation and inspiration, and are there for students through every success or failure.
- Teach daily habits. Advanced students often learn poor habits because they are able to get good scores without much effort. They cram the night before, or go at an easier pace because they can get by. Just like all successful athletes, students need to develop good techniques to achieve their dreams. Coaches are there to instill great habits – helping gt.kids set a foundation for success.
We have a strong belief that students only do well when they like their team members, trust their coach and know their coach cares about them. We make sure that each student is on the right team. We will move a student to a different team if the initial pairing doesn’t fit.
How do you vet coaches?
We look for athletes that have demonstrated outstanding achievements often despite major setbacks. Our coaches have demonstrated what it takes to reach super ambitious goals through daily practice and hard work. Out of thousands of applications, we select the top 1% of coaches. All coaches are screened and background-checked. You can get to know them here.
What is the gt.community?
The gt.community is our online community of diverse and gifted students in gt.school. All gt.kids have access to Discord (an online community platform) where they engage with other students in interest groups. Topics span both academic interests like math, chess, and writing, as well as fun activities like gaming, music and entertainment. Our coaches also organize weekly events for students to connect and learn from each other.
Why do you have a gt.community?
Being part of a one-of-a-kind community of gt.kids has many benefits:
- Many students find their core group of friends among our diverse group of smart kids from around the US.
- Being surrounded by super capable and accomplished peers is motivational to many.
- Students often find new interests in our variety of interest sub-groups. It is easy for your child to find one they like.
What interest groups / activities do you offer?
Interest groups span both academic (math, chess, and writing), as well as fun activities like gaming, music and entertainment. The most popular ones are chess and Fortnite. We also actively work to create events for gt.kids to engage with and meet each other.
Is the gt.community private?
Yes. The gt.community is only available to current gt.school students.
Is the gt.community moderated?
Yes. Our community in Discord is moderated by student liaisons to ensure a safe, supportive and respectful place for all students.