EUSD aims to provide challenging learning experiences that meet the advanced needs and potential of students who possess a capacity for excellence beyond that of their chronological peers. While these needs were once met through a formal Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, EUSD now addresses these needs through a more comprehensive global competence approach. EUSD teachers are skilled at personalizing learning to meet students' individualized needs.
In 2010, California cut all GATE funding. At the same time, EUSD began looking at alternate ways to differentiate curriculum and support teachers in meeting the needs of our exceptional students. The identification process was suspended and concepts around establishing global competencies were reviewed as a value-added way of meeting the needs of our exceptional students.
As with our former GATE approach, EUSD teachers focused on differentiating instruction as the main tool to address exceptional students. Interdisciplinary, integrated and project-based approaches to teaching and learning allow our exceptional students to explore and demonstrate understanding from their unique, and often, accelerated perspectives. In addition, the passage of Proposition P has allowed EUSD to purchase one-to-one digital devices for all kindergarten – sixth grade students. Each device is equipped with a wide range of creative tools that provide students choices in demonstrating mastery of topics. This year, new adaptive programs have been added to our curriculum “tool box” to allow students to work at their own pace in acquiring concepts. As a result of this new approach, teachers have found that they are even more equipped to maintain and support the tenants established in the previous EUSD GATE plan.
TENANTS OF APPROACH
- Acceleration: Fewer tasks assigned to master standards, assessed earlier or prior to teaching, clustered by higher order thinking skills (Supported by One-to-One Digital digitally adaptive programs)
- Complexity: Use multiple higher-level skills, add more variables to study, require multiple resources (Supported by One-to-One digital devices)
- Depth: Study a concept in multiple applications, conduct original research, develop a product (Supported through project, inquiry and challenge-based learning approaches)
- Challenge: Employ advanced resources, use sophisticated content, make cross-disciplinary applications, reasoning is made explicit, reinforcing needs, interests and abilities (Supported through an interdisciplinary approach)
- Creativity (Novelty): Design/construct a model based on principles or criteria, provide alternatives for task, products and assessments, emphasize oral and written communications to a real world audience
(Supported by One-to-One digital device)
- Additional: Tiered assignments, flexible skills grouping, independent projects, learning centers (Supported by One-to-One digital devices)