SEM LEARNING PROGRAM
NACS intends to establish a school culture characterized by high expectations for student achievement and talent development. To this end, the school will function as a data-driven decision-making organization with precise focus on engagement, enrichment, and differentiating curriculum to meet the needs of individual students, as well as opportunities for all students to engage in enriching learning and project based learning resources to respond to those needs in a specific and timely manner. The school will continuously raise the level of instruction through assessment data, a standards- aligned curriculum, and evidence-based strategies and best practices designed to meet the needs of all learners, including EL, special education students, and gifted and talented students.
At its conception, the theme of the proposed school will be its ability to utilize the highly successful Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) developed by Joseph Renzulli and Sally Reis.
The SEM, which is used by thousands of schools both in the United States and across the world, is based on successful programs for gifted students but it is also widely used a theme for magnet, charter, and both public and private schools. The major goal of a SEM school is the development of talents in all students and the opportunities, resources, and encouragement to promote challenging and engaging high-end learning across all student achievement levels and demographic diversity. The SEM focus is to create a variety of student-centered, engagement, enrichment, and differentiated strategies that can be integrated into every classroom resulting in “a rising tide lifts all ships” approach. The effect of implementing this approach is a collaborative school culture that takes advantage of resources and appropriate decision-making opportunities to create meaningful, high-level and potentially creative opportunities for students to develop their talents. SEM successfully addresses the problem of students who are underachieving, those who are under-challenged, and those who are not engaged in school and provides additional learning opportunities for students at all levels of academic challenge and engagement through three specific services: identifying interests and strengths of all students, providing various types and levels of enrichment for all students, and identifying differentiated learning and teaching strategies for students at all achievement levels.
The SEM provides enriched learning experiences and higher standards for all children through three goals: developing talents in all children, providing a broad range of advanced level enrichment experiences for all students, and providing follow-up advanced learning for children based on interests. The SEM emphasizes engagement and the use of enjoyable and challenging learning experiences constructed around students’ interests, learning styles, and product styles for all students in a variety of educational settings and in schools serving diverse ethnic and socioeconomic populations. These studies also suggest that the pedagogy of the SEM can be applied to various content areas resulting in higher achievement when implemented in a wide variety of settings. The model is effective with diverse populations of students, including high ability students with learning disabilities and those who underachieve. A comprehensive list of studies on the SEM that extend the use of gifted education pedagogy to all students is included at the following website: https://gifted.uconn.edu/schoolwide-enrichment- model/semresearch/