Upcounty Center FAQ

What programs are available at Roberto Clemente Middle School?

Roberto Clemente Middle School offers both a Mathematics, Science and Computer Science Program and a Humanities and Communication Program. These programs are replications of the magnet programs at Takoma Park and Eastern Middle Schools.

Where do I find information about these programs?

Information about these programs can be found in our application packet.

What makes these programs different from a GT program at other middle schools in Montgomery County?

The center programs offer interdisciplinary instruction aimed at highly able students. The standard MCPS curriculum is enhanced and enriched to cover subject areas in greater depth and to introduce advanced topics at a developmentally appropriate time. Special emphasis is placed on longer-term projects that require students to think critically about a given subject matter.

How many students can attend the center programs?

Each of the two programs can serve up to fifty students per grade level that would not normally attend Clemente Middle School. Students that live in the Clemente feeder area still need to be selected for the program through the application process, but do not count against the cap of fifty students per program per grade.

Who can apply to the center programs at Clemente?

The upcounty center programs serve students within nine high school clusters: Clarksburg, Damascus, Gaithersburg, Magruder, Northwest, Poolesville, Quince Orchard, Seneca Valley, and Watkins Mill. Students who live in the boundaries of these high schools are eligible to apply for the programs at Clemente.

  • Brown Station
  • Candlewood 
  • Carson 
  • Cashell
  • Cedar Grove 
  • Clarksburg
  • Clearspring
  • Clopper Mill
  • Daly
  • Damascus 
  • Darnestown
  • Diamond 
  • Fields Road
  • Flower Hill
  • Fox Chapel
  • Jones Lane
  • Gaithersburg
  • Germantown
  • Goshen
  • Great Seneca Creek
  • Marshall
  • Lake Seneca
  • Laytonsville
  • Little Bennett
  • Mill Creek Towne
  • Poolesville
  • Matsunaga
  • McAuliffe
  • McNair
  • Monocacy
  • Sequoyah
  • Resnik
  • Ride
  • Rockwell
  • Rosemont
  • Washington Grove
  • South Lake
  • Stedwick
  • Strawberry Knoll
  • Summit Hall
  • Woodfield
  • Waters Landing
  • Watkins Mill
  • Whetstone
  • Washington Grove
  • WIlliam B. Gibbs
  • Wilson Wims

Students living outside of these high school clusters but within Montgomery County can apply to the programs at Takoma Park and Eastern Middle Schools.

How does my child apply to these programs?

Application packets are available online or from your child's elementary school. Students and parents fill out the application packet and submit the completed application to the Upcounty Center for the Highly Gifted. In addition to the application, students need to provide their counselor with the Counselor Data Collection Form and two teachers with the appropriate teacher recommendation request form.

Can students apply and attend both programs?

Students may apply to both programs. In the fortunate case that a student is accepted to both programs, he or she must chose only one in which to participate. Due to the level and amount of work in each program, we feel it is not in the best interest of a child to participate in both.

How are students selected for the program?

A team of educators including teachers, administrators, counselors, and gifted education specialists meet and evaluate the application packets. A variety of material is looked at for each student: grades, teacher recommendations, test scores, student responses to the application questions, etc. Students who have demonstrated a high level of performance on most or all of the criteria will be selected for the center programs.

What tests are given by the center program to screen students?

Four tests are used to help select students for the upcounty center programs. Two tests, one for reasoning ability (Advanced Raven) and one for reading comprehension (STEP), are given to all students. For students applying to the Mathematics, Science, and Computer Science program, a mathematics computation test (SCAT) will be given. For students applying to the Humanities and Communication Program a writing test will be given.

How can my child prepare for the test?

There is no real way to study for the tests. Students who not only complete school activities but seek out additional challenges tend to be better prepared. A test preparation packet has been assembled and is available at elementary schools or on-line that helps students get accustomed to the types of questions asked.

Do I need to reserve a spot for testing?

There is no need to reserve a testing spot for our testing date. However, if your child needs to test on the make-up/special needs date for any reason, arrangements need to be made through our online process.

If my child has an IEP or 504 plan, how can he get the appropriate accommodations for the screening tests?

Special needs testing can be arranged. To arrange for testing, please follow the directions within the application packet entitled "Testing Accommodations". Copies of the testing accommodations outlined in the IEP or 504 plan must be included with the application material.

What do we do if my child is sick on the test date or we are out of town at that time?

Students who miss the testing date can make up the test. Please follow the directions within the application packet entitled "Testing Accommodations".

My child told me he did not do well on one test. Can a student re-take the test?

Under no circumstance are students allowed to re-take any test. For this reason, students who are not feeling well on the testing date are strongly encouraged to test on the make-up day.