Alverno’s Academy for Gifted Girls

Kate S. ’18 and Victoria C. ’18 collaborate on a project for the SEAL team with Caltech as a part of the Academy for Gifted Girls.

Alverno’s Academy for Gifted Girls (AAGG) accepts qualified students as young as 10 years old to bypass the remainder of their middle school studies and attend Alverno Heights Academy as high school students. AAGG also accepts typical age gifted high school students and allows acceleration through the curriculum. AAGG was created to provide an engaging environment for gifted students who are ready for a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum. Students who graduate from AAGG complete a well-rounded, college-preparatory curriculum at an early age, typically two full years ahead of most high school students.

Eligibility and Readiness

Eligibility Requirements. Applicants to AAGG should be in the fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth grade (or approximately 10-14 years old) at the time of application and should check the AAGG box when applying to Alverno Heights Academy.

Academic Readiness. AAGG applicants will have an opportunity to study in a variety of different subjects and focus areas including STEM, the arts, and humanities. Admission to the program is competitive. There are a limited number of spaces available each year for applicants to AAGG. Applicants to AAGG are required to submit entrance test scores and/or a psychoeducational report. In lieu of a psychoeducational report, students may submit scores from either the ACT or the SAT. Practice tests of these exams are offered at Alverno by appointment. If you would like to take a practice exam to see how you perform, please contact Ms. Sharon Dandorf, Director of the Academy for Gifted Girls and Learning Support Specialist, at to set up an appointment.

Social Readiness. Applicants who show academic readiness are invited to an interview with the Director of the AAGG; depending upon the time of application, a summer program to establish social readiness may be required. Students admitted to AAGG enter the Alverno community as full-fledged students; and are required to maintain an excellent GPA at an accelerated pace. The interview and aforementioned summer program help the Director of AAGG, as well as the Head of School and Director of Enrollment and Student Engagement, make a final determination on the academic and social readiness of the applicant, and whether the program will suit the applicant’s goals, needs and interests.

Admissions Requirements

• Be in the fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth grade at the time of application.
• Completed AAGG application with appropriate transcripts and recommendation letters.
• Appropriate score on the entrance exam.
• Interview at Alverno Heights Academy.
• Successful completion of summer program.

Academics in AAGG

Melody W. ’18 (AAGG), Kate S. ’18 (AAGG), and Alyssa G. ’19 work on a project in Science and Math Club.

Admitted AAGG students are typically placed on an advanced course plan. This plan may include advanced placement and honors courses in 18 subjects by the student’s fourth year. Each accepted AAGG student is provided with a customized academic program, including any necessary scaffolding; below is a sample course schedule for an AAGG student:

Freshman: Honors English 9, Honors Algebra II and Trigonometry, Honors Biology, Visual/Performing Art, Spanish I/ASL I (or higher level depending on assessment), AP Human Geography, Theology I, and Study Hall or Elective.

Sophomore: Honors World Literature, Pre-Calculus, Chemistry Honors, AP World History, Honors Spanish II/ASL II (or higher level depending on assessment), Elective 1, and Study Hall or Elective 2.

Junior: AP English Language, AP Calculus A/B, AP Biology, AP U.S. History, Honors Spanish III/ASL 3 (or higher level depending on assessment), Theology III, Elective 1, and Study Hall or Elective 2.

Senior: AP English Literature, AP Calculus B/C, Honors Physics, AP Environmental Science, AP Spanish/ASL 4, Theology IV, Elective 1, and Study Hall or Elective 2.

In addition to coursework, AAGG students are highly encouraged to participate in athletics, clubs, student government, visual and performing arts, and STEM opportunities offered on campus.

The AAGG Advantage

Students admitted to Alverno’s Academy for Gifted Girls (AAGG) have an opportunity to complete a rigorous college-prep curriculum, years ahead of most high school students. Such an achievement enhances one’s chances of gaining acceptance at top colleges and universities.

AAGG students enjoy the advantage of having committed and experienced teachers, small class sizes (the student-teacher ratio at Alverno is 12:1), and access to state-of-the-art equipment (for example, through partnerships with local universities and corporations, Alverno’s science labs have access to the highest quality and most up-to-date equipment).

Unlike larger schools where a student’s academic achievements may become diluted by the high number of students in one’s grade level, the small size of the student community at Alverno provides the benefit of more accurately reflecting a student’s actual academic accomplishments.

Alverno’s Academy for Gifted Girls (AAGG) was created, in part, as a response to the global and statewide campaign to break down the social and economic barriers that hinder the progress of women in education.

If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Sharon Dandorf, Director of the Academy for Gifted Girls, at (626) 355-3463 x. 241 or

Alverno Heights Academy, 200 North Michillinda Avenue, Sierra Madre, (626) 355-3463 or visit







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