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What is DECATS?

DeBusk Enrichment Center for Academically Talented Scholars is a three-week summer enrichment program for academically gifted third to sixth-grade students from Houston- and Galveston-area schools.

How do students enroll in the DECATS program?

Students in third, fourth, fifth or sixth grade and who score at or above the 95th-percentile on a standardized achievement test, creativity test or reasoning test are nominated by their school's principal to participate in the DECATS program. After being nominated, students who are interested in attending work through an online admissions process.

Is there homework at DECATS?

In general, there is no homework. Occasionally a mentor may give Scholars the option to complete work at home.

Can the program be extended beyond the sixth grade?

No. Research indicates that the optimum time for influence in the lives of gifted students is between third and sixth grade. The guidelines of DeBusk Foundation, which provides the grant for DECATS, specifically targets third through sixth graders. However, Scholars who have graduated from DECATS often apply to return as Graduate Assistants for the program.

Are Scholars required to attend the entire program?

Yes, Scholars are required to attend the entire three-week program. Nominees may only apply if they are committed to attending the entire three weeks. First-year Scholars and their parents are also required to attend the Scholar-Parent Orientation held on either the Saturday or Sunday before DECATS begins (see calendar). This day is optional for second, third and fourth-year Scholars.

If I am a first-year Scholar and I will be out of town for the orientation, may I be excused from attending that day?

No. The orientation includes essential information about the structure and purpose of the program. Our experience has proven that hearing this information second-hand is not sufficient to prepare first-year Scholars to attend or for parents to support their Scholar. Scholars arriving Monday without having been oriented will be missing essential pieces needed to be successful on the first day of and throughout DECATS.

Additionally, in the application all applicants are required to sign a Commitment to Attend agreement, which includes commitment to attend all days of the program, including the orientation.

What do Scholars wear to DECATS?

Dress is summer casual: t-shirt, shorts and sneakers, with designated DECATS t-shirt days on Tuesday and Thursday of each week, especially important for the DECATS Photo on the first Tuesday of the program.

What is the actual cost of the program for each Scholar?

The cost of this innovative program is well over $1000. However, DeBusk Foundation provides a scholarship to each Scholar for half of that cost. Please see the Tuition & Financial Assistance page for more information.

Do Scholars have to buy school supplies?

No. All supplies are provided. Scholars may be offered the option to bring in items to be used in their courses, and this is always optional.

Do parents get an opportunity to evaluate the program?

Absolutely. Parents will be provided with an opportunity to complete an evaluation towards the end of the summer session. Scholars also get to fill out an evaluation, and both are very helpful in future planning. These evaluations are conducted online. We also welcome any feedback you have during the program, so please feel free to contact us any time.

Is there refrigeration for lunches or cafeteria catering?

No on both accounts. Scholars bring a lunch from home for every day of DECATS. Please send lunches that do not require refrigeration or heating (refrigerators and microwaves are not available).

Can Scholars bring items like a CD / MP3 player, cell phones, a deck of cards, books, etc?

Scholars may not bring cell phones, iPods, MP3 players, handheld video game consoles or any other electronic devices. Scholars are encouraged to bring books for reading or small strategy games (like card games). These items may only be used during extended day and lunch / recess.

Does DECATS provide extended day care? How much does this cost?

Extended day begins at 7:00 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. No extended care is provided on the last day of DECATS, as the program concludes before noon that day.

Please see the Tuition & Financial Assistance page for more information.

Where and when do I bring and pick up my Scholar each day?

Scholars should be dropped off in the designated driveway during morning carpool time. Mentors will be outside to facilitate.

Afternoon carpool is held in the same area. Carpool numbers should be hung on the rearview mirror (or prominently displayed if there are multiple tags). Our pick-up policy is NO TAG - NO CHILD: any car not displaying an official DECATS carpool tag will be asked to park and come in to facilitate Scholar pick-up.

Scholars attending extended day must be escorted intothe building beginning at 7:00 am and should be picked up no later than 5:00 pm. Under no circumstances should a Scholar be dropped off unless a DECATS faculty member is there to receive him or her.

What if my child takes medication?

An archdiocesan medical form is available for you to fill out via myStatus. Medication should be brought to the DECATS office with the completed form on the first day of DECATS. All medication will be administered by the Office Manager. This includes non-prescription items like aspirin, cough drops, etc. Over-the-counter medications cannot be administered without a medication form on file.

Can I visit DECATS?

Certainly! Please join us for Morning Assembly, which includes prayer and fellowship, and Afternoon Assembly, which includes course presentations, song and prayer. You are also invited to join us for the DECATS Closing Celebration on the last day of the program.

Can I obtain a list of Scholars attending DECATS or coming from my school so that I can arrange a carpool?

For confidentiality reasons, we do not make or distribute directories. However, all families are invited to participate in our "Campaign to Carpool," a protected area of the DECATS website where families can share information and form carpools.

What if my child has special needs? Can DECATS accommodate those needs?

Absolutely. DECATS is committed to serving the needs of all students. Parents can communicate those needs during application to the program, and DECATS faculty are notified and provided with modifications to accommodate Scholars. Modifications include special seating, ability to take unscheduled breaks, assistance with movement around campus and modification of curriculum to address learning differences.

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