Priorties in Action

Developing student potential for high academic performance

The overall goal of the program is to find and nurture potential giftedness among those elementary students most frequently overlooked because of socioeconomic, cultural, and/ or linguistic differences.

Most educators and parents are familiar with the many stories of individual students who have risen from poor backgrounds and low academic performance to great heights and outstanding levels of achievement through the help of perhaps one individual who gave the child a lifeline of support at a critical time in his or her school career. Recent research on talent- development, brain research, and accelerated learning includes documentation of such break-through levels of progress and recommends proactive strategies for discovering and developing latent talents and exceptional abilities across a broader spectrum of a school’s or school system’s student population. Accordingly, plans for raising the level of academic challenge and achievement through new initiatives at the school and department levels, including a school for the academically gifted, will emphasize strategies for the early identification and nurturing of outstanding academic ability. Model approaches to developing students’ potential for gifted performance, such as the Program of Assessment and Diagnostic Instruction (PADI) are currently being explored for possible local implementation – with the goal of achieving a more appropriately diverse representation of students performing at exceptionally high levels in any given school or program.

Providing a quality option to the traditional high school program

Increasingly, state and national leaders in education recognize the need for high schools to develop new avenues or pathways to student success other than through the traditional approach that often results in low performance and steep declines in high school enrollment for a significant percentage of our students. The Smaller Learning Communities initiative in six high schools is an effort to address this issue. However, with additional support from the Greenville United Way, the school system and other community partners will move forward to design a high-quality alternative to the traditional high school program that will address the evident need for such an option. The alternative high school will be expected to strengthen our local capacity for economic growth and development through graduating more students from high school and building a more direct bridge to viable employment and/or further education.

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