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Information for Parents

Working with a Child Reluctant to Attend

It’s not uncommon for first-time students to be apprehensive about attending CTY. They may feel unsure about being away from home for three weeks or about spending some of their summer inside a classroom. These concerns can put parents in a difficult position. There is a fine line between encouraging children to overcome normal apprehension and forcing them into a situation for which they are not yet ready. Although many initially nervous students later report being grateful that their parents encouraged them to attend CTY, we do not recommend sending a very reluctant child to the program.

Supporting Your Child

Parents are a vital component of a successful summer. The demanding nature of the academic program and the residential setting are often new to students. We encourage you, well in advance of the session, to discuss with summer programs staff any issues that may affect your child’s experience in the classroom or residence hall. Keep in mind that issues that have not been significant in the regular school environment could be in the summer program setting.

We have encountered a range of mindsets from parents concerning academic performance in the program. Some say, “just have a good time,” while others demand unrealistically high achievement. The following advice can help you prepare your child for success in the classroom:

  • Encourage your child to do the best they can. Make it clear that a best effort (as opposed to a particular outcome) is what’s most important.
  • Help your child understand that a true challenge is not easily accomplished, and that our courses require a greater and different kind of effort than she may be accustomed to making.
  • Reassure your child that constructive criticism is a means for learning. Some of our students are unaccustomed to criticism of their work and see it as a sign of failure.
  • Encourage your child to think of accomplishment in terms of his or her own efforts and growth. Your child will be among many very bright young people, and comparisons to other students should be discouraged.

It is important for parents and students to understand that the program is designed to provide a safe and supportive environment where students grow not only intellectually, but also socially. Parents can play an important role in preparing students for the residential experience:

  • Speak with your child about what it’s like to live in a diverse community. Students at CTY have a wide variety of backgrounds, beliefs, and opinions, which they may share freely. While this can create an uncomfortable moment or two in the beginning, we feel strongly that the diversity of the communities at our sites makes CTY especially rewarding, both academically and socially.
  • Encourage your child to take advantage of opportunities to meet new people. Often, particularly in the first few days, the comfort of solitary activities (like reading a book or talking on the phone) may come at the expense of meeting people with shared interests.
  • Emphasize that working through inconveniences (like sharing the bedroom or a bathroom) can lead to great rewards and is well worth the close friendships your child will build.
  • Encourage your child to share his experiences and concerns with staff members. Suggestions regarding the activities students want to participate in, as well as feedback on the issues they are facing (such as roommate conflicts or struggles in class), help us provide a supportive and enjoyable environment.
  • Review the CTY Honor Code and expectations for student conduct with your child before the summer. Our sites are highly structured and operate with only one set of rules, even though the students range in age from 12 to almost 17. Students fully committed to all aspects of the program, including the rules, report the highest levels of satisfaction with their experience.

During the summer we encourage parents to contact site administrators if a child is encountering difficulties so that we may work together to help the student.

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Homesick Students

Being away from home, especially for the first time, can be difficult, so we make every effort to create a supportive environment. Site administrators are trained to assist students who are having trouble adjusting to the program. If your child becomes homesick, contact a site administrator (such as the academic counselor) for ideas on helping your child adapt to the new environment. Keep in mind that frequent contact with your child may prolong or intensify homesickness. Please give your child a few days to become comfortable at CTY; nearly all students who initially experience homesickness ultimately succeed in, and enjoy, their summer experience.

Students with Learning, Physical, or Medical Needs

Open communication between CTY and parents is essential to meeting students’ needs. If your child has a learning, physical, dietary, mental health, or other medical need that requires accommodations, awareness, or support, you must contact CTY staff at 410-735-6215 or cty-disabilities@jhu.edu to discuss those needs in the context of the academic, social, and residential aspects of the CTY program. CTY is committed to providing reasonable, appropriate, and necessary accommodations for qualified students with disabilities and supporting students with other physical and mental health-related concerns.

In order to ensure your child has the best chance of success in the program, please inform CTY Disability Services of your child’s health, medical, or learning needs by May 15 if at all possible.

For reasonable accommodations to be provided for students with disabilities, current documentation from a qualified individual knowledgeable about the student’s disability may need to be submitted to our office. Requests and documentation are due by May 15. Requests made outside of this timeline may adversely affect our ability to provide accommodations and in certain circumstances may prevent a child from participating in our program. You must contact our office every year, even if your child received accommodations in a past CTY program or was evaluated by CTY’s Diagnostic and Counseling Center. Information of this nature is privileged and is not shared between departments at CTY without your written release.

Costs for personal attendants, personally prescribed devices, or services which involve travel and other expenses are the responsibility of the student’s family.

For further information regarding accommodations at CTY’s summer programs, please visit our summer accommodations page.

If you are unsure whether you should disclose your child’s disability, you can find more information here.

Students with Medical Dietary Needs

If your child needs special dietary arrangements or accommodations due to severe allergies or other medical issues, you must contact CTY staff at 410-735-6215 or cty-disabilities@jhu.edu by May 15 in order to discuss reasonable accommodations in the context of the CTY program and site your child is attending. Get more information on food allergy management at CTY.

For dietary arrangement requests unrelated to severe allergies or medical issues, contact ctysummer@jhu.edu.

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