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    Gifted Education/SWEP

    Classes for students identified as academically gifted are offered as part of the School-Wide Enrichment Program (SWEP).

    Many opportunities are available for students to explore topics, which interest them via the School-Wide Enrichment Program. Mini-assemblies, mentorships and independent study projects are all part of SWEP.

    The School-Wide Enrichment Program is a three-pronged approach, which consists of SWEP I, SWEP II and SWEP III Activities.

    SWEP I activities are Exploratory Activities and are for all students. These may take the form of talks, demonstrations, simulations, or presentations on topics of interest to the student such as “environment”, woodworking”, or “acting” The size of the exploratory groups is small, usually less than 20. Parents are asked to assist their children in selecting an Exploratory Activity each year. During the first semester a menu of offerings is sent home for parents and children to discuss and make a selection. SWEP I Activities are typically offered during the second semester.

    SWEP II activities consist of Process Training skills for students who are identified as academically gifted. The teachers of the elementary gifted classes in all three elementary schools use Renzulli’s "Talents Unlimited" model as the basis for their work with gifted students. In addition, they focus on creative and critical thinking and a menu of advanced course options in which students elect to take part.

    The regular classroom teacher is a strong contributor to programming for gifted students through the district’s continuous progress program in reading and mathematics and extensions of other curriculum areas. An addendum, which is part of each gifted student’s IEP, describes accommodations, which are made in the regular classroom.

    SWEP III activities are Investigative Enrichment projects and are for all students. Students who are interested in working on an investigative enrichment activity may work individually or in a small group. They contract with a teacher leader to produce a final product of some type. The goal of Investigative Enrichment is students’ creative and productive involvement in advanced level follow-up with topics related to student interest, topics presented in the regular curriculum or topics presented as Exploratory (SWEP I) Activities.

    Investigative Enrichment activities require students to demonstrate the ability to leave their regular classes to undertake a special project, and also to have the task persistence to see their project through to completion. The major responsibility for the investigation’s execution and completion rests with the student, and some work may need to be completed at home. Some students also identify an adult in the community whose special interest or expertise makes them especially helpful as a mentor. The librarians and art teachers in each school work with the SWEP teachers to direct Investigative Enrichment activities.

    It is our hope that all students will complete an investigation project at some point in their elementary career, and that many students will complete several. Students can become involved in a SWEP III project by indicating their interest to their classroom teacher or building librarian.

    If you think your child may be eligible for special education services, please contact your child’s classroom teacher or building principal. The pupil services department also has information about support groups for parents of gifted or special needs youngsters. Two such groups are Partners in Education and Upper St. Clair Guild for the Gifted.