Background & Philosophy
Research on human abilities (Sternberg, 1988; Renzulli, 1986; Bloom, 1985; Gardner, 1983; Taylor, 1980) clearly and unequivocally demonstrates the need for a broader definition of giftedness and more flexible student selection procedures. The research also shows that creative, productive accomplishments, or gifted behavior, requires the interaction of three characteristics:
v Above average ability
v Task commitment
This broadened concept of giftedness will provide the basis for the West Hartford Public Schools’ Gifted Program, QUEST. The primary goals of the program will be:
v To create an instructional environment which encourages the intellectual and social, emotional development and demonstration of gifted behaviors.
v To provide on-going student assessment and identification.
v To integrate gifted programming strategies in the school environment/community.
These goals are consistent with the district goals of West Hartford Public Schools:
Goal One: Advance achievement for all students and reduce disparity between and among groups.
Goal Two: Nurture the intellectual, physical and emotional well being of students and create a safe and respectful learning community where all students are held to high expectations.
Goal Three: Attract, retain and develop high quality staff by providing professional development, resources and appropriate learning environments.
The Enrichment Triad Model (Renzulli, 1977) and the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (Renzulli and Reis, 1985) will provide the basis for this program. Identified students as well as the general student population will participate in a wide variety of program activities and services.
General exploratory enrichment opportunities will be provided for all students through vehicles such as schoolwide enrichment teams, interest development centers and visiting speakers. Skills or process training necessary for independent learning will be provided through small group and classroom lessons. An opportunity for more in-depth learning experiences, independent investigations, will be provided based on students’ academic needs, interests and motivation.