Providing quality programming for talented and gifted students involves a continuous process that is responsive to the district’s vision, state mandates, changing student populations, and ever evolving societal needs.
The Expanded Learning Program (ELP) was implemented in the Waterloo School District to provide consistency as well as articulation and structure in district programming and instruction services for gifted learners. The Autonomous Learner Model for Gifted and Talented, developed by Dr. George Betts and Jolene Knapp-Kercher, was adopted by the Board in 1984. The Autonomous Learner Model (ALM) provides the framework for the Expanded Learning Program. Put simply, the goal of the model is to help students meet their cognitive, emotional, and social needs in becoming independent lifelong learners.
The process of becoming an autonomous learner requires commitment and time. Emphasis is placed on meeting the learners’ needs through the use of activities in the five major dimensions of the model.
The Orientation dimension provides is the foundation for independent learning. Students have the opportunity to build a basic understanding of giftedness, their own interests and abilities, the ALM, and the opportunities and responsibilities of the Expanded Learning Program.
The Individual Development dimension helps students improve their learning skills, consider future career possibilities, and develop a positive attitude for lifelong learning.
Enrichment Activities emphasize awareness of what is outside the classroom to be studied, how to pursue these topics, and how to synthesize the information into a meaningful product.
The fourth dimension, Seminar, provides opportunities for students to design, implement, and evaluate a structured learning experience that is shared with other interested people in the school and community.
The final dimension, In-depth Study, provides an opportunity for learners to select an area of interest that will be studied in-depth over a long period of time.
The students/learners will: