Incarnate Word Academy

Strake Jesuit College Preparatory

St. Anne Catholic School

Looking for another DeBusk program? See the complete list  of programs that receive funding from DeBusk Foundation.

We’re not on-site at our host campuses during the year and so we ask that you contact us via email. Once the program begins in June, we publish phone numbers for each site for attendee use during the program. Please do not call host schools directly, as our staff is not present there during the year.

Contact DECATS

Have a question or need assistance? Complete this short form, or reach out to us at


    What are the program’s eligibility criteria?2019-09-28T15:02:04-05:00

    95th Percentile Score

    95th Percentile Score

    Participants must have a ranking in the 95th percentile or above on any nationally standardized achievement test, creativity test or reasoning test – in a specific area, in multiple areas or as an average score overall.

    3rd - 6th Grade

    3rd - 6th Grade

    Participants must currently be completing third, fourth, fifth or sixth grade to be admitted.

    Principal Nomination

    Principal Nomination

    Students meeting the age and test score criteria are certified of their eligibility via a nomination from their school’s principal.

    What are our COVID-19 protocols for Summer 2022?2022-06-09T07:20:39-05:00

    Masks and other PPE are optional except per the protocols below. DECATS will adhere to current CDC guidance available June 2022:

    1. Did you test positive for COVID-19?From Day 0 — the first day of your symptoms — you may not attend DECATS for five days, Day 1 through Day 5. You may return on Day 6 if you are symptom-free, and you must wear a mask for five days.
    2. Were you in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19?Monitor your symptoms and wear a mask around others for 10 days. If you have symptoms, get tested and count Day 0 as the first day you had symptoms.
    Why are courses multi-age / a mix of grade levels and ages?2022-12-18T12:09:44-06:00

    We form Manners to Morals and Perspectives sections by grade level completed in the spring. As much as possible, sections of Scholars are of the same grade level in these courses. Sometimes, to create an even balance between sections, a group may be a mix of two adjacent grade levels, such as third and fourth or fifth and sixth.

    Scholars request elective courses based upon their interests and affinities, and we perform scheduling based upon those requests. We do not section elective courses by ages or grade levels and so participants should expect elective courses to include a mix of ages. Scholars, regardless of age, have varying degrees of experience and expertise with course topics they will explore during their time at DECATS. Research highlights these additional benefits of multi-age groupings:

    • Differences in perspective across multi-age groupings are more likely to allow for Scholars to engage in perspective-sharing and “cognitive conflict,” facilitating opportunities for them to learn from one another (Piaget 1976, Brown and Palinscar 1986).
    • Improved self-esteem and attitudes toward school, as well as increased time on task (Ramsey 1998, Veenman 1995).
    • Increased motivation, as Scohlars benefit form instruction tailored to their interests rather than age-based objectives or benchmarks (Banks 1991).

    Mentors design lessons that respond to the wholistic needs and interests of learners rather than just their age.

    Do Scholars select a course for first or second periods (Manners to Morals and Perspectives)?2022-12-18T12:06:44-06:00

    All Scholars participate in Manners to Morals during first period, an intense exploration of the joys and responsibilities of being a gifted leader. There is a different curriculum for each year that Scholars participate, determined by grade level:

    • Manners – Third Grade
    • Executive Functioning – Fourth Grade
    • Wellness – Fifth Grade
    • Values & Morals – Sixth Grade

    Perspectives takes place during second period and provides a forum for reflection, support and direction of gifted Scholars. The primary goal of this four-year curriculum is to instill in Scholars a sense of service to others in a spirit of gratitude, learning that “better at” does not mean “better than.” There is a different curriculum for each year that Scholars participate, determined by years of attendance:

    • Perspectives 1 – First-year Scholars
    • Perspectives 2 – Second-year Scholars
    • Perspectives 3 – Third-year Scholars
    • Perspectives 4 – Fourth-year Scholars
    Is every course offered in every elective period?2020-12-13T09:07:24-06:00

    No. Once Mentors have developed the elective courses they wish to offer for the summer, we create a master schedule that divides them as evenly as possible between the three elective periods – both numerically and by discipline / area of interest. This is different from traditional school, where the same course might be taught all day long, every period. Our innovative schedule maximizes the number of elective opportunities, offering greater variety, challenge and exposure for participants.

    Sometimes, very popular courses are offered in more than one period. To streamline the request and scheduling processes, we often track those multiple offerings by grade level (e.g. the fourth period session is for third and fourth graders; the fifth period session is for fifth and sixth graders).

    Here’s a sample master schedule to give you a sense of what you’ll see in the Course Catalog:

    Can I change my final schedule?2022-05-31T12:58:23-05:00

    We cannot fulfill requests to change course schedules.

    Our unique scheduling process is very different from a typical master scheduling processed utilized at an elementary, middle or high school. It’s intensive and takes into consideration many factors both on the individual Scholar level as well as the program-wide level. Allowing one person to change courses would require we extend that opportunity to everyone, and this would severely compromise the program’s ability to move forward successfully.

    We are happy to make an accommodation in the event a Scholar is no longer able to participate in a course. Examples:

    • A Scholar in a physical activity course sustains an injury before the start of the program and they are no longer able to participate in the course as it is designed
    • A Scholar in a science dissection course learns they have an allergy as a result of the materials or specimens used in the course
    Will a course “fill up” if I don’t submit my requests quickly?2020-12-06T10:25:29-06:00

    Courses do not “fill up” as requests come in, and there is no “seniority” consideration for returning Scholars.

    Once everyone’s requests are in, we perform scheduling in the order that we received the requests. This does not mean, however, that those who submit first necessarily receive all of their first choices.

    We work very hard to schedule Scholars in as many of their top choices as possible. As we perform scheduling, inevitably the combination of choices results in our moving one Scholar from first choice to second in order to prevent another Scholar from not receiving a first choice at all. The very last course request submitted can impact the very first submitted.

    We encourage you to be prompt with submitting your requests though wish to make clear there is not necessarily a distinct advantage to submitting first. We guarantee all Scholars will receive at least one first-choice course.

    How do I plan my course requests?2020-12-12T10:12:12-06:00

    Our Course Catalog and master schedule will introduce you to the courses we’re offering for the summer and in which period each will take place.

    You will build a list of the three courses you like the most in each of the three elective periods, taking into consideration:

    • Scholars receive at least one first-choice course overall (though this is not a guarantee that you will receive all first choices)
    • Scholars may take a maximum of two courses within the same discipline / area of interest (make your requests diverse!)
    • Scholars may not repeat courses taken in previous summers

    When we publish the Course Catalog, we also provide the schedule for when the course request process will begin so that everyone has an advance opportunity to review the offerings and consider their requests.

    Do I get to see the summer’s course offerings before signing up for the program?2020-12-06T10:03:48-06:00

    The upcoming summer’s Course Catalog, which includes names and descriptions of courses we’re offering as well as the master schedule for the summer, isn’t available until after sign-up and registration have concluded. To get a sense of the types of courses you can expect to be offered, you can review the previous summer’s elective courses.

    How are courses developed?2022-05-31T12:57:11-05:00

    Course ideas come from lots of places!

    • Scholars and parents tell us about courses they would like for us to develop — and ones we should offer again! — in an evaluation completed at the end of each summer.
    • The faculty hired as Mentors bring their own specialties, talents, expertise and inspiration to our course development process.
    • Our annual program theme gives us some ideas for course subjects and topics, too.

    Mentors participate in an intensive lesson planning process utilizing DECATS philosophy and methodology, creating a one-of-a-kind differentiated education program for academically gifted Scholars.

    What is the schedule for the last day of DECATS?2022-05-28T10:00:52-05:00

    DECATS concludes by noon on Thursday of the third week (the program is 14 weekdays).

    • Morning extended day and arrival follows the regular schedule on this day.
    • Scholars visit their elective courses a final time, on an abbreviated schedule.
    • The community regathers for final presentations from performance-based courses. Parents of Scholars in those performance-based courses may attend this assembly.
    • DECATS ends at approximately 11:45 a.m., when dismissal and carpool will begin.
    Does DECATS provide extended day care? How much does this cost?2022-05-28T09:56:03-05:00

    Extended day begins at 7:00 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m.

    • Morning care only: $100
    • Afternoon care only: $100
    • Both morning & afternoon care: $200

    On the last day of DECATS — Thursday of the third week — we provide only morning extended care, as the program concludes by noon on this day.

    Can the program be extended beyond the sixth grade?2020-08-10T17:37:21-05:00

    Currently, no. Foundational research that was core to the program’s creation indicates that the optimum time for influence in the lives of gifted students is between third and sixth grades. Scholars who have graduated from DECATS often apply to serve as Graduate Assistants for the program.

    Can parents visit DECATS for morning or afternoon assemblies?2022-05-28T09:51:00-05:00

    Yes! Parents may join us for our morning and afternoon assemblies. Please consult the daily schedule for those times.

    In the morning, we kick off each day with great songs, fellowship, fun activities and prayer.

    In the afternoon, we regather as a community for song, fellowship, great course presentations and prayer. Each day, two courses will give a brief presentation or demonstration on what’s happening in that course, and one course will lead the community in a creative or thematic closing prayer to end the day. The presentation & prayer schedule of courses will be available to participants in myStatus.

    What do Scholars bring to the program daily?2022-05-27T20:03:49-05:00
    • A lunch that doesn’t require heating or refrigeration.
    • A non-glass water bottle – filled with water only, please! You’ll be able to refill it during the day.
    • A simple backpack to hold your lunch, water bottle and anything you’ll carry with you throughout the day. We’ve got a fully-stocked supply bag and notebook waiting for you!
    What is the program’s daily schedule?2021-03-28T13:50:13-05:00

    7:00 – 8:15 a.m. Extended Day*
    8:15 – 8:30 a.m. Morning Carpool & Dropoff
    8:30 – 8:50 a.m. Morning Assembly: Song, Fellowship & Prayer
    8:50 – 9:50 a.m. First Period: Manners to Morals
    9:55 – 10:55 a.m. Second Period: Perspectives
    11:00 am – 12:00 p.m. Third Period: Elective Course
    12:05 – 12:55 p.m. Lunch & Recreation
    1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Fourth Period: Elective Course
    2:05 – 3:05 p.m. Fifth Period: Elective Course
    3:10 – 3:40 p.m. Afternoon Assembly: Song, Fellowship, Course Presentations & Prayer
    3:45 – 4:00 p.m. Afternoon Carpool & Pickup
    4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Extended Day*

    *Extra fee required

    What do Scholars wear to the program?2022-05-31T11:21:02-05:00

    Our dress code is summer casual: t-shirts, shorts and sneakers, with designated DECATS t-shirt days on Tuesday and Thursday of each week. While in a comfortable and relaxed academic setting, with time for movement both indoors and outdoors, clothes must remain tasteful and appropriate for our setting.

    Scholars must wear the current summer’s thematic shirt on the last Tuesday* of the program for our annual group photo.

    (*Returning Families: in previous years, this was the first Tuesday. Beginning in 2021, this now takes place on the last Tuesday.)

    Are there homework assignments?2020-08-10T17:19:22-05:00

    Generally speaking, no. Mentors may give Scholars the option to complete work or to continue working at home.

    Do Scholars need to buy school supplies or bring anything special?2022-05-27T20:05:59-05:00

    Taking a photography course? We provide the camera. Ready to refine your fine arts? We’ve got your pallete and paint. Headed for the science lab? A lab kit of goggles, apron and gloves are all ready for you.

    In other words, we’ve got everything you’ll need.

    Each Scholar receives a personal pencil bag of supplies for use throughout the program that includes: pencil bag, pens, pencils, scissors, eraser, highlighter, sharpener, glue stick, markers, colored pencils. Scholars scheduled in technology courses also receive a flash drive for storing their materials. All of these items may be taken home at the conclusion of the program.

    Scholars might be offered the option to bring in items to be used in their courses. This is always optional. We strongly encourage Scholars to leave all valuables at home.

    Are Scholars required to attend the entire program?2022-05-31T11:17:47-05:00

    Yes, and we require that full commitment up front with your application.

    We take our invitation and your desire to attend DECATS seriously. From our mentors, who commit several months to building curriculum, to you, the participants, who commit a month of your summer to come to DECATS, one of the defining strengths of our community is an intense dedication so that the program will be as educationally enriching, engaging, fun and successful as possible for all involved.

    To gain the most benefit from the program, and because there is likewise very high demand to be admitted, nominees may only apply if they are committed to attending the entire three-week program.

    Absences for illness that occur during DECATS may be excused. Routine medical appointments and non-emergency surgery or procedures may not be scheduled during DECATS hours. Any planned absence must be approved in advance by program administration. Unapproved absences not due to illness or emergency may result in my Scholar not being allowed to complete the current summer session and could result in the forfeiture of the opportunity to return to DECATS in future years.

    What are the campus locations, and do I get to select a particular campus to attend?2020-12-06T12:12:53-06:00

    You have your choice of any of our three campuses when you sign-up.

    Corpus Christi Catholic School

    Strake Jesuit College Preparatory

    St. Anne Catholic School

    I absolutely want a guaranteed space: what should I do?2023-01-21T09:52:29-06:00

    If you definitely want to participate at DECATS Houston this summer, our recommendation is to sign-up at a campus that has guaranteed spaces available versus subscribing to the waitlist.

    What is the cost of attendance?2020-12-06T12:05:10-06:00

    The current cost of attendance is maintained on our main enrollment information page.

    DeBusk Foundation, which provides the leading grant for DECATS, makes it possible for us to keep the cost of attendance as low as possible. As a non-profit academic institution, we depend on grants, tuition and donor generosity to maintain and sustain the operation of the program year after year.

    Are there other programs or locations?2022-05-31T11:22:30-05:00

    The DECATS Coalition is a state-wide network of all DECATS programs that receive a grant from DeBusk Foundation. DECATS is the Foundation’s signature program.

    Operating independently from our three campus locations, there are also DECATS programs in Sugar Land, Austin and Dallas. Contact those programs directly with any questions you have about their campus.

    Visit DeBusk Foundation
    Are there additional fees beyond tuition?2022-05-31T13:08:05-05:00

    Tuition covers the entire cost of attendance due in order to participate.

    Aside from tuition (and your deposit, which is applied toward your tuition), the only additional optional fees are for extended day services and any merchandise offered for sale, like extra program t-shirts.

    Why is there a waitlist?2023-01-21T10:02:42-06:00

    Spaces in the program fill on a first-come, first-served basis. When a campus reaches capacity, we still accept sign-ups for that campus, and we place them on a waitlist – also in order of first-come, first-served.

    How do I submit payments?2021-03-30T17:33:40-05:00

    All payments must be submitted electronically using your myStatus portal, which will guide you through the payment steps. Deposits are due in full at the time of assessment. Remaining tuition and fees due by the designated deadline on the calendar and may be paid in customized installments via your portal.

    DECATS Houston accepts credit, debit and ACH e-check payments.

    • Credit / debit card transaction fee: 2.3% of amount paid
    • ACH e-check transaction fee: 0.25 cents per transaction

    DECATS Houston does not receive any transaction fees paid.

    How do I see my place on the waitlist?2023-01-21T10:02:44-06:00

    Your place on the waitlist is indicated on the Home tab of your myStatus Portal. The higher the number, the more registrants there are in front of you waiting in line for a space. (Example: If your place is 10, then 10 spaces must become available in order to offer you admission to the program – one each for those waiting ahead of you, and then yours.)

    When is the program typically scheduled?2020-12-06T12:16:16-06:00

    The final three weeks in June, which in some years also includes the first day or two of July.

    What are my chances of admission from the waitlist?2023-01-21T10:02:45-06:00

    This depends on the number of spaces that become available due to withdrawals. When an admitted participant withdraws, we immediately offer that space to the next person on the waitlist. Throughout the spring as other important enrollment deadlines pass, admitted participants who do not complete certain requirements forfeit their space, which we then offer to the next person on the waitlist. Lastly, someone ahead of you on the waitlist may also withdraw, which advances your place. Though uncommon, we may face an exceptional circumstance that necessitates admitting someone currently placed after you on the waitlist. (Note that we will not discuss another participant’s circumstances for admission with anyone other than that immediate family.)

    What is the refund policy?2020-12-06T12:09:52-06:00

    Our withdrawal and refund policy is listed on our main enrollment information page.

    I need a receipt or tax information.2021-03-30T17:33:58-05:00

    Receipts for all payments and donations are provided at the time the payment is made. Contact us at if you need a replacement copy.

    DeBusk Enrichment Center of Texas is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization, EIN 82-4711738.

    How long will I have to wait?2023-01-21T10:07:45-06:00

    This depends on the circumstances for spaces becoming available, described above. Circumstances change each year, and as the program nears, it becomes less likely that those in the program will have reason to withdraw.

    What typically happens with waitlist movement? “How likely” is it to get to space number X?2023-01-21T10:14:31-06:00

    We typically see the most movement on the waitlist at the end of March and the end of April, when important deadlines pass and those who are enrolled who have not completed necessary steps are withdrawn.

    Our ability to move on the waitlist is different each year, and what happened in previous years is not good indication of what may happen this year. Therefore, we cannot speculate, as we do not want this to be misinterpreted as a promise or guarantee that circumstances from previous years will happen again this year.

    The meaning of waitlist numbers also changes over time. For example, being in a low position in February may be favorable since there are still several months before the program for spaces to become available. In April and May, it becomes more unlikely that spaces will become available since major deadlines have passed and there are fewer withdrawals.

    Lastly, spaces become available in different quantities and frequencies, so movement in one day should not become an expectation that it will happen again. For example, if you moved forward 10 places in one day, while that is generally good, circumstances may not allow that to happen again. There may be several sequential days of small movement, followed by several days of no movement. It is unpredictable and so we recommend not setting an expectation or “getting hopes up” by trying to identify patterns in the movement.

    How long can I stay on the waitlist? Can I withdraw?2023-01-21T10:10:27-06:00

    You are welcome to stay on our waitlist as long as you prefer, and you may notify us if you wish to be removed from the waitlist at any time. We will continue to offer available spaces through late May / early June – as late as reasonably possible. There is no financial cost to be on the waitlist. If it becomes clear that no spaces will become available or the program is too near, we may release the waitlist and conclude any further admissions for the summer.

    When can I expect to hear updates?2023-01-21T10:05:19-06:00

    You can track your place in line in your myStatus Portal. We will contact you via email immediately if and when a space is available for you, and your portal will show you have been admitted. You will have 72 hours to submit your sign-up deposit to claim the space. After then, the space will be made available to the next person on the waitlist, and to be considered again, you will need to contact us to be re-added to the end of the list.

    Due to limited time and resources, as well as the self-service nature of the portal, we cannot facilitate status update requests over email. The number of your place in line will automatically decrease as you advance forward toward an available space. This may happen several times or not at all. Continue checking your portal to see your place in line.

    Is there anything I can do to increase my chances of enrollment?2023-01-21T10:02:50-06:00

    Because the waitlist is first-come, first-served, it operates like standing in line for checkout at a store. You must naturally reach the front of the line. We trust you joined the waitlist because of a strong desire to participate. We value that trust and pledge to diligently work toward your admission. We appreciate your interest and kindly request you not send emails of continued interest, inquiries of current status, letters of recommendation, etc, as we cannot take any action on those.

    Do waitlisted siblings of registered participants receive priority for the next available space, regardless of waitlist position number?2023-01-21T10:05:29-06:00

    When this rare circumstance occurs, we may, at our discretion, give priority to a waitlisted sibling for the next available space, regardless of waitlist position.

    Do waitlisted Returning Scholars and Legacy Scholars receive priority for the next available space, regardless of waitlist position?2023-01-21T10:05:34-06:00

    Returning Scholars were provided sign-up access two weeks in advance of first-time attendees, with several email and text messages reminders to sign-up. Similarly, Legacy Scholars (first-time attendees who have a sibling that has attended DECATS Houston before) were provided one week of early access to sign-up ahead of other first-time attendees, with several email reminders. We may, at our discretion, give priority to a waitlisted returning or legacy Scholar for the next available space, regardless of waitlist position.

    Can I switch from one campus to another?2023-01-21T10:06:14-06:00

    Yes, you may notify us via email with your request to change your campus choice. If you switch between two waitlists, you are placed at the end of the waitlist of the campus to which you switched. In other words, you cannot switch between waitlists and keep the same place number – you leave one line to walk to the end of the other.

    Can I have a space in line for more than one campus?2023-01-21T10:02:58-06:00

    No, you may only be in a position for a space at one site. If it so happens that another campus clears its waitlist, we will contact the next person on the waitlists at our other campuses (by order of sign-up date) to offer the available space. If that person passes on the offer, we will continue down the list to offer the available space. We understand you are waiting in line at your preferred campus, so you are under no obligation to switch to an available space at another campus.

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