Elementary Learning Enrichment and Gifted Support
In the elementary school, the Learning Enrichment Program includes small groups, whole class, whole division and whole school activities. The Enrichment Teacher works closely with each division to enhance the units of study. Arranging field trips, speakers, special events and activities are part of the elementary enrichment program whole group experience. This ensures that all students have access to many learning enrichment opportunities throughout each year during their elementary career.
The Learning Enrichment program is based on a school-wide enrichment program set forth by Joseph Renzulli from the University of Connecticut. In the State College Area School District program, we seek to develop the interests and talents of all children by providing a variety of experiences throughout the year. This support is tendered through a "three-tier" approach that reaches all students. The three tiers of support are listed below:
Type One: Whole group (class, division, section or school) experiences-- Activities that Learning Enrichment teachers provide include: field trips, special events, and guest speakers. Learning Enrichment teachers also teach whole group lessons which enhance the unit of instruction.
Type Two: Small Group instruction (mini courses)--Type Two small group instruction occurs throughout the year. Groups are established based on teacher recommendation, classroom performance, assessment scores, interest and ability. Some are on-going throughout the school year but remain fluid in terms of the students who attend. An example of an on-going class are the enrichment math groups, especially at the intermediate and upper-intermediate levels. Other courses are designed to be short-term specific learning experiences that meet a group of students' interests, skills, learning styles and abilities. They may be unit-related or focus on a particular area of intelligence. Each new course brings a new group of students to the enrichment teacher. Some students may attend all or many courses while others do not attend any small group activities.
Type Three: Individual Student Projects (Independent study)--This type of activity meets an individual student's specific needs. The Learning Enrichment teacher helps the student design a Learning Enrichment Plan (LEP) that explores or enriches an interest area that is beyond the curriculum. The enrichment teacher serves as facilitator for a student's LEP and checks in with the student to see progress, provide support and establish a forum to present a finished product.
All three activity types can happen throughout the elementary, middle school and high school educational settings; however, Type Three occurs mainly in the secondary levels.
Children learn in many different ways and through a variety of techniques. Using the Multiple Intelligences Model set forth by Howard Gardner, the Learning Enrichment/Gifted Support staff provides opportunities for students to learn in a variety of modalities. The multiple intelligences areas identified by Gardner are: Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Musical, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Environmental-Nature. Examples of mini courses offered include: creative writing, reading book groups, science activities, art, music, puppetry, and nature activities.