Grayson’s program is built on principles proven to generate meaningful educational benefits for gifted children. A long and continually-growing body of research and classroom experience suggests that the best gifted education programs provide differentiation, ability grouping, enrichment, and flexibility, with increasing levels of advanced, abstract, and complex curriculum that respond to each individual learner’s needs. In the hands of highly-trained teachers leading small classes, these elements create a challenging and fulfilling learning environment for highly gifted students.
Differentiation in practice means guiding each student through his or her own educational development at the pace most advantageous to the student. Every Grayson student’s education will be guided by an Individual Growth Plan (IGP) detailing growth objectives and tracking developmental milestones.
Grayson’s differentiated curriculum is also designed to be highly flexible, and will permit each student to pursue his or her own gifted strengths as far and as fast as they wish, regardless of grade or chronological age. Demonstrated mastery of the material is the only prerequisite for advancing to the next level in a particular course of study.
Grayson believes that grade designations and age awareness do provide important guideposts, but we do not rely on age-based or grade-level curriculum to determine which courses are best suited to a particular student. Instead, classes will be grouped by subject and ability levels with as many as three years in age between the oldest and youngest students in a given class, a practice also called “cross-grade grouping”.
Grayson’s overreaching academic priority is to provide an appropriately challenging education that focuses on depth, quality, and rigor rather than speed. Because our students are often able to move through material more quickly than would be allowed in a regular class, it will be our standard practice to offer more advanced material in our classes every day.
Acceleration, in the form of grade or subject skipping, can be an appropriate response in situations where the curriculum is below the student’s level of academic functioning; however, at Grayson, all classes will offer rigorous and challenging content that is significantly accelerated when compared with that found in traditional grade-level classes. For most students, Grayson itself is the acceleration they need.