Intellectual Engagement & Social Connection with Like-Minded Peers, Guided by Expert Mentors Who Get Bright & Quirky Kids

Welcome to Catalyst, Bright & Quirky's program for twice exceptional kids and teens

Parents, if your child faces these challenges, you're in the right place...

  • Difficulty finding intellectually compatible peers who share similar interests
  • Difficulty finding teachers who 'get' twice exceptional kids
  • Difficulty feeling engaged or motivated
  • Difficulty finding highly qualified and inspiring mentors
  • Craving social connection and productive use of time while sheltering in place
Schoolboy playing online game on laptop at home sitting table, teenage free time

Introducing Catalyst: A Program for 2e Kids, Ages 7-18!

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Catalyst classes are designed especially with bright and quirky kids in mind. We've searched high and low for the best instructors who really 'get' our twice exceptional (2e) kids. Our instructors understand that your child needs intellectual engagement and certain supports at the same time. Explore interests and strengths under the wing of experienced mentors.

Check out all that's on offer below.

Your bright & quirky tribe awaits!

Join for less than the cost of one piano or sports lesson per week.

Browse the listing below and enroll your child in the class(es) they find most intriguing:

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Minecraft Build & Share

Do you like playing Minecraft? If so, you'll fit right in with our Minecraft Build & Share Group. In this group, you and your classmates will vote on the weekly challenge, then you’ll get to build your own world and share it with a small group of like-minded friends. Sharpen your ability to interact and communicate as a team, all while having fun and honing your Minecraft skills.

No prior experience required.

AGES: 8-16

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

A Japanese KANJI "Zen".

Zen of Self: Calligraphy & Philosophy

Does your child grapple with the big existential questions of life? Through the art of Japanese calligraphy and philosophical conversation, acclaimed 2e instructor, Mike Cantlon, MEd, will create the space to practice mindfulness, introspection and connection.

AGES: 12-18

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

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Dungeons & dragons

Is your child interested in fantasy, storytelling, or adventure? Join experienced Dungeon Masters Jen and David Lott for Dungeons & Dragons, to build peer connections, social skills, and creative problem-solving abilities in a small-group campaign!

No prior experience required.

AGES: 11-13

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

Group Of Teenage Students Collaborating On Project In Classroom

Young Entrepreneurs

Let’s face it, some of the most innovative minds in the world are 2e. In this class, twice-exceptional teens can delve into entrepreneurship and learn skills like goal-setting, planning, self-reflection, effective communication, marketing, and analysis to start creating actual plans to bring their ideas to market. Toward the end of our session, students will present their products and services in a Shark-Tank-styled exhibition.

AGES: 13-18

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

Little girl playing with her homemade planetarium as she holds an astronaut and spacecraft. Arms raised as she flies them over the planets.

STEM Class

Many bright and quirky kids are naturally inclined towards STEM subjects; science, technology, engineering and math. Join Professor Chris Kobus for a weekly STEM learn and challenge in which students learn key STEM concepts, design their own creations, complete tasks, run simulations, and share them with a like-minded community of 2e peers.

AGES: 8-16

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

Student writing on Calendar

Intro to Executive Function Skills

When a bright and quirky child has executive function lags, you might be seeing poor grades, difficulty turning homework in, planning assignments, managing time, keeping organized, and/or getting work done. You might even be experiencing your child tuning out parental suggestions. One of the best strategies we know is to bring someone into your 'village' who is not the parent, who knows the exact tools needed to build the skills of executive function. This group coaching class is an introduction to many of those tools and skills curated by the team at Beyond BookSmart.

AGES: 7-18

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

mathematical-sculptures

Mathematical Sculptures

Does your child enjoy working with their hands and making creative designs? In this class, Ms. Math, Dr. Rachel McAnallen, will guide students to construct the five Platonic solids and other math sculptures. With patience they can make a Calder type mobile that can be hung from a ceiling. Math art is a great way to hone mathematical skills while being highly creative.

AGES: 7-14

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

A group of diverse students reading lines for drama

Improv for Interaction

I need an occupation... a place... and two different types of aquatic mammals. Sound strange? Not in Improv! If your child struggles socially, you won't want to miss this. We're bringing you this very special series in partnership with our friends at The Miracle Project.

AGES: 7-18

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

Female child singing with a mic and headphones

Creative Expression

Is your child a "creative" who shines on stage? Or is your child shy, looking for a safe space to dabble in self expression? Either way, join this creative expression group to enhance flexibility, spontaneity, and self-confidence through physical activity, singing, mindfulness, and group acting activities. Brought to you in partnership with our friends at The Miracle Project.

AGES: 7-13

BONUS: Includes monthly parent Zoom coffee with Debbie and quarterly remarkable mentor talks

Meet your instructors, who truly understand bright & quirky kids! 

MikeCanton

Mike Cantlon, MEd

Mike Cantlon has dedicated his career to improving the learning environment of gifted and talented students and to helping people better understand the unique needs of highly capable children. He created a college campus residential summer camp for gifted students grades 6-12 called Satori. In Spokane Public Schools, Cantlon was instrumental in the identification of highly capable students, he taught in the Tessera Program, and was also the chair of a gifted education task force resulting in the Odyssey Program. He has been an adjunct instructor at Eastern Washington University and works collaboratively with the Gifted Education Center at Whitworth University.
Maina-round

Maina Gachugu

Maina has been teaching 6th grade for over six years in Kent, Washington. He has a passion for community involvement, so you can usually catch him helping out at after-school events. Maina runs an annual Minecraft Club using Minecraft: Education Edition for the last three years in Kent, focusing on collaborative play and Game-Based Learning. He also is a Professional Learning Specialist for Insight 2 Execution (i2e). Additionally, he is a Graduate student at the University of Washington's iSchool, working towards a Master's of Library and Information Science degree. Maina hopes to make gaming more prevalent in education as a mode of learning, not just entertainment. Maina lives with his partner and puppy in Seattle, loving learning, games, and the outdoors.

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Elaine Hall

Elaine Hall, The Miracle Project's Founder & Executive Artistic Director, has been referenced by The New York Times as “the child whisperer” and is a pioneer in using theater and movement practices as a portal for connection among individuals with autism and related disabilities. Elaine was a top Hollywood acting coach when her adopted son was diagnosed with autism. When traditional behavioral therapies did not work for him, she developed an innovative methodology combining mindfulness and the expressive arts with what she was learning from autism experts, Dr. Stanley Greenspan, Dr. Ricki Robinson, and Dr. Barry Prizant. The 2008 Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary, AUTISM: The Musical profiles Elaine’s early work with The Miracle Project, which has since been deemed evidence-based and is now being replicated nationally and internationally.

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Mark Henkels

Mark has been and continues to be a middle school math teacher for over 20 years in New York state. He's been a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert for 5 years and a Minecraft Global Mentor for 2 years. He lives with his wife, middle school age daughter, and elementary age son in the Poconos of Pennsylvania.

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Chris Kobus, PhD

Professor Krzysztof (Chris) Kobus has been teaching full-time at Oakland University since 1998. His field of interest is in the thermal-fluid sciences including topics like conventional and alternative energy, energy conservation, phase change phenomena, and experimental and theoretical techniques associated with fluid thermal processes. As the Director of Outreach, Recruitment and Retention for the OU School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS), he hosts K-12 summer STEM camps and STEM field trips and Saturday workshops during the academic year. He has been doing K-12 outreach in addition to his faculty duties for almost 12 years. He and his wife are raising their 7 children including one on the spectrum.

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David Lott

David began playing Dungeons and Dragons over 35 years ago, and was immediately taken by the storytelling and game mechanics. Over the years tabletop gaming has been the foundation of many of his most enduring friendships, including with his wife Jen. David has organized and run many simultaneous D&D campaigns, including one group which has played continuously for over ten years. When not running and playing in his numerous D&D campaigns, David spends his time developing fuel cell power systems for Plug Power. He has a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry and has been awarded over 20 patents covering all aspects of fuel cell technology. David has been an instructor at Satori Summer Camp teaching about fuel cells and alternative energy since 2014.

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Jen Lott, MS

Jen is a Mental Health Counselor who works with university students in Spokane, Washington. She has been an instructor and counselor at Satori Summer Camp since 2003, and prior to that was a Satori camper herself. She began playing Dungeons & Dragons over ten years ago after meeting her husband David, and now she runs and plays D&D games both as part of her counseling work and as a personal hobby.

Rachel

Rachel McAnallen, PhD

Known simply as Ms. Math to children across the country, Dr. Rachel McAnallen has devoted her life to sharing the joy and beauty of mathematics with learners of all ages. A professional educator for more than 60 years, she travels the globe teaching her subject at every grade level. Recently Rachel has co-authored with Carol Williams, children’s math books and teaching manuals that accompany the books. A life-long learner, Rachel approaches the world around her with a boundless curiosity and a playful sense of humor that is reflected in her teaching style. She believes that mathematics is a language to be spoken, a music to be heard, an art to be seen, and a dance to be performed.

Donna-round

Donna McLaughlin, MS

Donna McLaughlin is an Executive Function Coach with Beyond BookSmart.  She received her MS in Educational Administration from St. John Fisher College and is a dedicated, warm, and resourceful educator with a solid commitment to the social-emotional and academic growth and development of every child.  As an experienced leader, mentor and practitioner, she has a passion for working with students who are differently abled. She has over twenty years experience teaching high school English and has also held the titles of Literacy Specialist, Instructional Coach and Teacher Leader.

Simone

Simone Miliaresis, EdS

Simone Miliaresis, EdS is an executive functioning coach with Beyond BookSmart, a school psychologist, and a special ed instructor. She has a Master's degree in Education and an Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology. Simone has also been the recipient of two Fulbright Fellowships. Simone's focus includes working with children with disabilities and her experience spans from working with babies as a special ed instructor, k-8 children as a school psychologist, and middle school and high school students as an executive functioning coach.

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Stephen Russell, MA

Stephen Russell, MA is an Executive Functioning Coach with Beyond BookSmart, an experienced Special Education Teacher, and father of one. He has a Master's degree in Special Education and has presented at state and national conferences. He works with students aged 7-25 on barriers to education that may not be addressed within the school setting.

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Ava Sharifi

Ava Sharifi is a Political Science graduate from the University of Washington and progressive youth activist. From a young age, she has been passionate about politics, law, activism, and academia, her first experience being the Occupy Wallstreet movement while still in middle school. Later on, she was deeply involved with speech and debate competitions, consistently ranking top three in Washington state four years in a row. In college, she took a quarter off to work for Bernie Sanders in Washington D.C. as a legislative intern, forever marking her desire to work in politics. Overall, her passions revolve around criminal justice, immigration, income inequality, human rights, civil justice, and environmental policy.

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Samuel Young

Samuel Young is a growth-minded, two-time Fulbright Scholar with a decade of educational leadership experience that has ADHD. As an ADHD learner, he has a tremendous understanding of, experience in, and respect for all things related to neurodiverse education. Additionally, Samuel has served as a Speech and Debate coach of twice-exceptional (2e) students. He has led students to both State and National Championships. He is currently working toward an EdD in Neurocognitive Diversity at the Bridges Graduate School. Samuel taught for 8 years at Bridges Academy and he has led 2e students to over 7 countries for immersive cultural and educational trips.

What People are Saying...

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Catalyst Bonuses!

When you sign up for a Catalyst class, you also get:

  • Monthly Parent Brainstorms: Community brainstorms help make the program great! There are so many incredible families in the program, from around the world. 
  • Quarterly Remarkable Mentor Talks: We'll talk with 2e mentors, also on the bright and quirky journey, who can inspire your child and be there for questions. Past mentors include Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD and Jonathan Mooney.

Ready for an adventure?

Let's create a magical oasis, with amazing mentors, friendship, and lightbulb moments for our 2e kids!

Hi Friends,

When I started Bright & Quirky, I only had parent education in mind. It's been my absolute joy getting to know our member families around the globe and learning more about your needs, from Nashville to Norway. I am moved by your stories and want to use Bright & Quirky's connections and know how to tailor unique programming for your kids and teens.

When Coronavirus hit, we knew we had to rise to the challenge. We tried a number of different kids classes, and ran a number of experiments, some successful and some not so much.

The result is the unique program we continue to iterate here: Catalyst 2.0, a one-of-a-kind program for bright and quirky kids and teens, crafted with your unique child's needs in mind.

Catalyst is a bold experiment, just like our flourishing IdeaLab was over a year ago.

Enroll in one or more of the class offerings above, and also enjoy monthly parent Zoom coffees and quarterly Remarkable Mentor talks for the kids.

It's exciting! We have the opportunity to create a magical oasis for our kids where they're accepted for who they are and their minds will be sparked with new possibilities by some of the most enthusiastic and competent 2e mentors I have ever met. The instructors are simply a dream team.

I look forward to meeting you and seeing the sparkle in your child's eyes, as we learn together.

Warmly,

Debbie Steinberg Kuntz, LMFT

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Founder, Bright & Quirky

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Catalyst Kids & Teen Program?

Think of Catalyst like after-school classes geared specifically for twice exceptional kids; bright kids with social, emotional and/or learning challenges. We've hand-picked the best instructors who are lauded for their engaging style and expertise in our uniquely wired kids. They will help your child identify his or her own budding potential.

What is the cost of classes in the Catalyst Program?

Class costs vary. Click here to get more details on each class. FYI, when you an enroll in a class, you also get monthly parent Zoom calls with Debbie, and kids get quarterly Remarkable Mentor talks with inspiring bright & quirky adults!

Are we able to use insurance, a Health Savings Account or a Flexible Spending Account?

While Bright & Quirky does not handle billing for any insurance, HSA's or FSA's, please check with your specific plan to see if you can get reimbursement or coverage. We have members who ARE getting reimbursed by their healthcare plans for certain classes.

What is your cancellation policy?

You can cancel any class within 24 hours after the first class for a full refund. Simply reach out to support@brightandquirky.com, we are happy to help!

What if I have more questions?

We're happy to help! Just email support@brightandquirky.com.