Starting an Enrichment Program in an Independent High School

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Powell, Barbara
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Gifted individuals are often overlooked in the classroom. Grasping materials easily and achieving mastery quickly, these learners are left with little curriculum challenge, varying teacher input or external motivation. In short, gifted learners may be lacking essential services needed to reach their full potential. There are numerous models of gifted learning in the field of education. Selecting which delivery model of enrichment program at the high school level that would best support the academic as well as social-emotional needs of gifted students is a complicated task. This paper will critique three such gifted delivery models: Problem-Based Learning, Advanced Placement and Cluster-Grouping. In addition, common characteristics and struggles of the gifted learner are explored along with effective counselling techniques. Information from journals, studies, statistics and other print sources are the bases of research. After review of information, it is concluded that gifted education in schools is essential for developing the full potential of gifted learners. It appears that a single gifted model will not cater to the needs of all gifted learners equally, as gifted learners are diversified in their needs as well as interests. Schools need not only a sound academic program, but also effective counselling services to support gifted potential. By providing gifted learners with flexible educational learning opportunities paired with effective social and emotional support in a positive school culture, schools will have a weighty influence in helping develop the gifted student to their full potential. Fostering this potential allows exceptional young people to develop into the next generation of innovators and leaders.