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Educational Options

This page offers some of the options other than the typical Montgomery County Public Schools offerings. This is neither exhaustive or definitive; it is meant to jumpstart thinking outside of the box.

Early Entrance to Kindergarten and First Grade

Yes, it is possible to whole grade accelerate into Kindergarten and first grade in MCPS.  Full information here, on the MCPS website.

Regarding Kindergarten:
Per Maryland State Department of Education regulations, to be eligible to enter kindergarten for the 2009-2010 school year, children must be five years of age by September 1, 2009. Children who will turn five years old between September 2 and October 15, 2009 are eligible for consideration for the early entrance to kindergarten process. To be recommended for early entrance to kindergarten, children will need to demonstrate above average performance and development in academic skills as well as social/emotional and physical development. The standards for early entrance are very high to ensure that students are not frustrated by their advanced grade placement.

Regarding First Grade:
Per Maryland State Department of Education regulations, to be eligible to enter first grade for the 2009-2010 school year, children must be six years of age by September 1, 2009.
Parents/guardians of children who wish to apply for early entrance to first grade should complete MCPS Form 271-1, Application for Early Entrance First Grade Program. Parents/guardians should bring this form to their child's home school. For the 2009-2010 school year, applications will be accepted from July 1, 2008 through September 4, 2009. Children who are applying for early entrance to first grade will begin the school year in a kindergarten classroom. Within the first six weeks of school assessments and classroom observations will be conducted and a team of school staff will meet to make a decision on early entrance to first grade. Placement determinations will be finalized no later than October 15.

Charter School

  • Global Garden Public Charter School - a group of parents, educators and community members working to establish Montgomery County’s first charter school. They believe that charter schools are an opportunity for Montgomery County to lead the way in public school innovation and to broaden its already exemplary provision for students.

Maryland Virtual Learning Opportunities

  • The Maryland Virtual Learning Opportunities Program (MVLO), an educational service managed by the Maryland State Department of Education, is designed to expand the access of Maryland public school students to challenging curricula aligned to the Maryland Content Standards as well as to other appropriate standards through the delivery of high quality online courses.

    MVLO offers online courses for high school credit in collaboration with the local school systems through the Maryland Virtual School (MVS).  The teaching is conducted online with the teacher physically separated from the student.

    MVS is not a school and does not offer a complete high school diploma program online.  The credit earned by taking a MVS course is entered into the student’s record by the local public high school or school system.  Students may take a course through MVS only with the permission of the local system and the school principal.  Credit can only be awarded for MSDE-approved online courses.
    Approved Providers:
  • Homeschooling

    Not every school is a good match for every child. Homeschooling can be an ideal academic alternative for gifted children, because it provides an education tailored to individual intellectual, social and emotional needs.  There are countless resources, such as online learning and homeschooling cooperatives that can make the prospect of homeschooling less daunting.  This can get you started.
  • Distance Learning and Homeschooling

    • MCPS Online e-Learning - Student eLearning, through the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), is a way for high school students to take online courses outside of the traditional classroom setting. For more information or to enroll in an online class, please see your school counselor.
    • EPGY (Educational Program for Exceptional Youth) at Stanford University - EPGY's goal is to present gifted students with the opportunity to take courses suitable to their ability. Because the EPGY courses are computer-based, students can take advanced courses regardless of where they live, and without leaving their normal school environment.
    • EPGY Online High School - EPGY Online High School is a fully accredited, diploma granting, online independent school situated at Stanford University. Serving grades 7-12, the EPGY OHS prepares students from around the world for success both in life and in their future intellectual pursuits.
    • Art of Problem Solving - Art of Problem Solving online classes allow top students from around the world to hone their problem solving skills. Ideal for gifted math students in grade 6-12 who seek a greater challenge in mathematics, and those students preparing for MATHCOUNTS, the AMC, or other prominent mathematics contests.
    • Calvert School - Calvert courses are approved by the Maryland State Department of Education.
    • Guinevere's Gifted Group - Online G3 offers fast-paced online humanities courses for gifted students, with the understanding that younger children may be ready for middle school content and analytical thinking, but still desire age-appropriate activities.

    High School and Homeschooling

    Some books to explore:


    Although a GED is not a necessary component of homeschooling for high school -- completion of a homeschooling program in accordance with the state regulations is all that is necessary in the vast majority of instances -- there are special cases where a GED can be useful.  For example, if you homeschool in *New York state* AND your child plans to play a sport in a Division I or Division II school. The NCAA will require the GED from these homeschoolers.
    • Maryland General Educational Development (GED) Test - Eligibility to take the GED Test requires that an individual:
             a. Has been a Maryland resident for at least three months at the time of testing;
             b. Is at least 16 years old; and
             c. Either:
                 i. Meets both of the following requirements:
                     1.  Has not obtained a Maryland high school diploma or a high school certificate or diploma
                          issued by another state or  non-U.S. or correspondence school; and
                      2. Has been officially withdrawn from a regular full-time public or private school for at least
                          three months at the time of  testing; or
                 ii. Has obtained a Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion in accordance
                     with COMAR 13A.03.02.09D

    Independent Schools

    Local Early College Options

    Some students find that they are "done" with high school earlier than the norm, for these students, early entrance college options are worth exploring.  Check this Wikipedia citation for a listing of early college programs around the country

    Montgomery College

    Students younger than 16 years of age CAN  take courses at Montgomery College.  Most college-level classes offered for credit, whether day, evening, or extension center (online and classroom) offerings, are open to Early Placement students. Students may register for summer, fall, and spring sessions. From the MC website:

    In order to be eligible for the Early Placement Program students will:

    1. Have completed their sophomore year prior to their participation in the program.

    2. Have an articulated plan for school and college attendance during their junior and/or senior year, which will include ALL courses required for high school graduation with time remaining in the schedule to include college courses.

    3. Have an overall 3.0 grade point average at the end of their sophomore year or overall 2.75 grade point average at the end of their junior year and have the approval of their parents (or guardians), principal, and/or guidance counselor as an early placement candidate.

    4. Home school students must submit documentation indicating they are in compliance with state and county educational guidelines and must meet the same aforementioned requirements.

    5. Students in a  public or private high school or equivalent, who do not meet these requirements, but whose achievement in a certain field of study is clearly exceptional, surpassing the level of courses offered by the school attended may be admitted on an exceptional case-by-case basis. 

    6. Students under the age of 16 must be interviewed and approved, with a parent, by the Dean of Student Development.

    Application Procedures

    Students may obtain a Montgomery College application and Early Placement form in their high school career center. Students must return the completed form, high school transcript, and MC application for admission to the Office of Admissions, Records, and Registration at the campus they wish to attend.

    Assessment and Prerequisites
    As with all students at Montgomery College, students in the Early Placement Program will be required to meet all assessment and prerequisite course requirements. MC counselors will assist you in appropriate course selections.

    Tuition and Fees
    A student enrolled in the Early Placement Program is considered a Montgomery College student; therefore, he or she is subject to all Montgomery College academic regulations, tuition, and fees.

    Financial Assistance
    Early Placement students are not eligible for federal financial aid. Grants for which you may be eligible:

    Maryland State Dual Enrollment Grant
    Applicants for this grant and their parents must be residents of Maryland. The grant can only be used to pay for the cost of tuition and fees of one three credit hour course. Home-school students are not eligible for this grant.

    MC Board of Trustees High School Grant
    Applicants for this grant must be Montgomery County residents. The grant can only be used to pay for the cost of tuition and fees of one three credit hour course. Home-school students are eligible for this grant.

    MC College Institute Grant
    Applicants for this grant must be Wootton or Gaithersburg High School students enrolled in the MC College Institute. This grant pays for tuition and fees, as well as a book allowance that is determined by the Scholarship Coordinator. The maximum grant per student depends on financial need and available funds.

    For more information about these financial aid programs, please contact the Scholarship Coordinator, Montgomery College, 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, MD 20850.

    University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    • UMBC is very welcoming of early entrant students and has an informal "Young Scholars" group that offers guidance and support. 

    Mary Baldwin College

    • PEG, the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted at Mary Baldwin College, offers an opportunity for bright and accomplished young women to complete college during their high school years. PEG students live in a fully supervised, state of the art residence hall with their true peers on the beautiful campus of Mary Baldwin College.