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Explore, Discover, Excel | Enroll in CTD Summer Programs for Students, Families, or Educators!

Half-Day Weekend Sessions

CTD Encounters

Grades PreK - 8

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Application for fall 2024 will open in September

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Weekends throughout the academic year

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Academic Year

New dates for the academic year added regularly. Use Explore Courses to find single-day Encounters sessions in the Chicago area.


  • $95 per single-day weekend event


An Authentic View of Exciting Topics

CTD Encounters provides bright, curious students an immersive, half-day learning experience that delves deeply into a defined topic within a larger field of study. Expert teachers use hands-on, collaborative methods that support student creativity, inquiry, and investigation.

Why Choose CTD Encounters?

CTD Encounters is the perfect program for busy students with diverse interests looking for enrichment that fits their schedule. Read more about how CTD defines enrichment

Benefits Include:

  • Single-day, 3-hour experiences on weekends during the school year
  • Deep dives into high interest topics
  • Experienced instructors
  • An engaging classroom experience involving a variety of small and large-group activities
  • Opportunity to engage with like-minded peers


Application Process

The CTD Encounters program welcomes applications from any interested student. CTD Encounters courses are part of our Amber Tier, open-enrollment programs.  There is no need to provide further documentation once you submit your application.  Please do ensure that you are registering for the correct grade.  You can access the application online at

Application Deadline

Applications must be complete one-week prior to the start of the class. Applications completed after the deadline may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


CTD Encounters courses are at the Amber Tier for eligibility, which is open enrollment. There are no test scores or further documentation required for participation. Please note that successful completion of a CTD Encounters course does not pre-qualify students to enroll in future classes outside of the Amber Tier.

Requests for Grade Advancement/Acceleration

CTD course content is advanced or grade-level accelerated, as reflected in course descriptions and the standard admission requirements. Though course content is advanced, students can engage with intellectual peers who are also age- or grade-level peers. Therefore, most students should apply for courses aligned to the grade-level in which they are currently enrolled. Still, for some students demonstrating a need for an even higher level of instruction than CTD’s advanced and accelerated courses already provide, further acceleration may be an option. Visit the Requesting an Accelerated Placement web page for more information about the process, timeline, and required materials.

Fees, Withdrawals, and Financial Aid


  • $95 for single-day courses


Please see CTD withdrawal and refund information for policies.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is not available for CTD Encounters courses. If you would like to inquire about a payment plan, please contact us at

Sample Class Schedule

This is an example schedule for a CTD Encounters program. Times of activities are approximate, and schedules will vary from course to course and grade level to grade level. 

10-25 minutes Introduction
45-65 minutes Course work 
10-15 minutes Share out/Discussion
15 minutes Break
45-60 minutes Course work 
10-15 minutes Share out/Discussion
10-20 minutes Debrief


Introduction: Introduction to the topic(s) of the day, ice-breaker, discussion of class expectations

Course Work (2 or more of the following activities during each course work session - will vary depending on grade level):

  • Interactive instructor lecture and/or slide deck
  • Introductory video related to the day's topic
  • Hands-on activity (individual or small group)
  • Interactive demonstration
  • Read-aloud with discussion
  • Informational article that is read and discussed in small groups
  • Large-group discussion
  • Small-group collaborative exploration
  • Individual research
  • Practice with new skill or strategy
  • Written reflection

Share Out/Discussion: Sharing out of student products or findings from small group/individual work and follow-up large-group discussion

Break: Students take a bathroom / snack break. 

DebriefRecap learning experiences, revisit essential question(s) of the day, complete exit slips 

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Learn More

CTD Programs

Get Started on Your CTD Encounters Journey.

If this is the program for you, we’d love for you to find your course and apply today!


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