Horizons Program



Enrichment Model

Experiences Offered

Differentiated Curriculum

Identifying Students

Office hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Monday through Friday, except holidays

Call Us:

207- 363-3403

Horizons Program

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

Types of Enrichment Experiences Offered Through the Horizons Program

Type I

Type I experiences are those learning activities that focus upon the needs of all students within the regular classroom. The Horizons Program Specialist serves as a resource and a mentor to all teachers as they plan instructional experiences and develop strategies, themes and projects for use within the classroom. The following list identifies some Type I experiences:

  • Theme-based activities
  • Off-site visits
  • Whole class or grade level projects
  • Residencies (experts in a specific field)
  • Speakers (parents, authorities, peers, etc.)
  • Distance Learning, Telecommunications

Type II

Type II experiences offer all students enrichment experiences that develop higher-level thinking. These are open-ended opportunities for learning and encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, research, divergent and creative thinking. They also facilitate the recognition of talent and exceptional abilities in particular areas. They are initiated by the Horizons Specialist or are student initiated. They are led by the Horizons Specialist or adults within the school or community who volunteer to share an area of expertise. These activities may also be grade level, cross-grade level, schoolwide or district-wide experiences. The Horizons Program utilizes a team approach to the delivery of these services. District Specialists (Art, Music, Technology, Physical Education, Library Media Personnel) collaborate with classroom teachers and the Horizons Program Specialist to design integrated, thematic learning activities that support the York Public Schools' curriculum and the Maine Learning Results.

Interest Clusters

The Horizons Program Specialist plans projects, based on student interest and York's curricula, that provide students with extended learning opportunities outside of the regular classroom. Working in small groups, students may choose to participate in activities that span several weeks, months or the entire school year.

The following list identifies examples of the experiences that are Interest Cluster Type II activities:

  • Plays, Performances
  • Leadership Activities
  • Clubs (Chess, Art, Music, Drama, Science, Book, etc.)
  • Sports Programs
  • Immersion Afternoon/Days
  • Mini-course Offerings (Chemistry, Poetry, Interior Design, Geography, Languages, etc.)
  • Odyssey of the Mind Program (focusing on creativity, problem-solving and teamwork)

Challenge Academic Clusters

Using the SEM approach, students are selected for participation in Challenge Classes in language arts and/or mathematics. These weekly classes provide advanced learners opportunities to extend their learning and to move at a faster pace. Selection of students is based on results of standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, self-referral or parent nomination. Work samples may also be considered. Students are reassessed each trimester for a new unit. Students may also revolve in or out of academic clusters during the year if special circumstances arise.

The following list identifies examples of the experiences that are Academic Cluster Type II Units:

  • Geometry
  • Problem-Solving Strategies
  • Junior Great Books
  • Non-fiction reading and reporting of current science news
  • Greek Mythology

Type III

Type III enrichment opportunities are those experiences that are designed for individuals. Selection of students is based on results of standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, self-referral or parent nomination. Work samples may also be considered. These advanced level activities encourage students to become proficient in the areas studied and require task commitment, above-average ability and intense interest. These experiences are offered in various forms, based upon the needs, talents, abilities and interests of the identified students. The Horizons Program Specialist coordinates direct-instruction, in-classroom support or out-of-classroom programming included in the program design. Consultation with the student, the classroom teacher and the Horizons Program Specialist results in a written plan for Individualized Study. York's Volunteer Coordinator assists in the assignment of mentors, if needed, and facilitates the communication and interaction opportunities between students and mentors. Students may communicate with mentors and the Horizons Specialist either in person or through electronic means. Individualized Study options may take place before, during or after the traditional school day and may involve acceleration and grade level advancement in particular subjects.

The following list includes some of the approaches that may be used to facilitate Type III enrichment:

  • Flexible pacing
  • Acceleration
  • Curriculum Compacting
  • Advanced Placement in a Particular Subject
  • Telescoping Curriculum
  • Individual Guided Study Projects
  • Mentoring

469 U.S. Route 1 York, Maine | Phone: 207-363-3403 | Fax: 207-363-5602 | Contact Us


As the tides of the ocean and the strength of the mountain shape our community, the York Schools' commitment to educational excellence and individual achievement shapes the future of each student.


The mission of York Schools is to educate, inspire and challenge all learners to be ethical citizens who will make a difference in a changing and complex world.