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A Design for Gifted and Talented Education
Using a Schoolwide Enrichment Model
Revised May 2009
Dr. Debra Dunn, Superintendent of Schools
Anita Bernhardt, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
York School Department's Vision Statement declares the commitment to ensuring that York students will become life-long learners, creative problem solvers, and responsible citizens. It further states that our schools strive to educate each student to become the most he or she can be. Educators recognize the necessity of a strong partnership among home, school and community, and the Vision Statement recognizes the necessity of identifying, nurturing and developing the talents and abilities of all students, while meeting individual student needs.
At every level, in every York school, students exhibit outstanding potential in some field or endeavor. It is essential that these students be recognized and educated as individuals with distinct and varied differences in capabilities, interests and needs. In an era of school reform, York educators are challenged to raise academic standards for all students. The 1989 Education Summit set six National Education Goals and declared that meeting them will require that the performance of our highest achievers be boosted to levels that equal or exceed the performance of the best students anywhereî (National Excellence, 1993, p.3).
The Horizons Program is designed to address the needs of all students within the York Public Schools with a rich and varied curriculum. All Horizons Program activities are aligned with the Maine Learning Results and the district's K-12 adopted curriculum in the areas of English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Health, Physical Education, Visual and Performing Arts and Career Preparation. The program seeks to provide an array of differentiated learning experiences in an effort to identify and develop the particular gifts and talents of all students. York Public Schools is committed to providing educators with the resources and training necessary for excellent instruction for all students. Within the classroom, there are whole class and differentiated assignments and an emphasis on independent thinking and creative problem solving. Outside of the classroom, there are opportunities for all students to participate in enrichment activities. Additionally, those who possess unusually high abilities, creativity and task commitment are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities to nurture and challenge these characteristics. These activities may be short or long term, in-class or pull-out offerings. They may be cross-grade level, and at times, cross-school.
We should view our children as precious capital assets (Walberg and Stariha, 1992). The investments made in educating York students to aspire to excellence through challenging programs will yield successful adults who are capable, creative and confident citizens of the 21st Century. We should also understand that "a rising tide lifts all ships" (Renzulli, 1994) and use gifted education strategies to provide educational opportunities to challenge all of York's students.