Due much in part to the feedback I received here, DS13 (then DS 12) attended Intensive Studies last summer in between 7th and 8th grade. He did Intro to Biomedical Sciences. Just about everything stated above was true for our DS as well. My DS really found his tribe there. It was also a great experience for him to have to manage himself. He wanted to make sure he got into the bathroom early enough not to encounter the rush to shower, etc. So he figured out how to get himself up early enough to get in his shower, do that stuff, get over to the nurse to take his allergy meds (very regimented there about that), and be at breakfast on time. He also did his own laundry and just had to be a little more grownup. It was very noticeable when he got home that it matured him a bit. Like others, we were planning on that being the only time, given the cost, etc., but he will be going back this summer to do Fast Paced HS Biology. I understand he can apply for credit in high school when he starts his freshman year this fall. I do dearly wish that Neuroscience was offered in southern California because he really wanted to take that.
I especially loved the closing ceremonies in which the different sections held up signs cheering on their particular classes, "Yeah Fast-Paced Chemistry", "Whooo Model UN", "Logic Rocks!" For a kid like mine who is a little off the beaten track, it was great. The RAs were very pleasant as well and kind to all. They planned fantastic outings or events for the kids to join in on. The other nice thing was that the kids in his RA group were the same kids in his class so they could all walk over together
Good luck!!