The Grayson School is a kindergarten through eighth grade private, non-profit school founded specifically to serve gifted students. In a familiar day school campus setting, Grayson students attend core classes and electives with their intellectual peers, enjoy recess and lunch, and extracurricular activities.
However, at Grayson, academic coursework is individually tailored to each student’s advanced abilities. Students begin the school year at their measured instructional level, and are grouped together based on measured levels of mastery rather than age alone. Pre-testing on each new topic they take allows them to work on material they have not yet mastered, so rather than spending time on content they already know, they can move through each unit—or even a year’s worth of curriculum—at their own pace. They spend their days with other academically advanced peers, giving students an opportunity to relate to and grow with each other. Grayson’s teachers are trained in understanding the social and emotional needs of gifted learners, in addition to the delivery of accelerated curriculum. Throughout every day, research-based principles and best practices in gifted education provide the foundation for student success.
In addition to individualized pacing and learning, Grayson has created a unique formula that weaves its core curriculum together with interdisciplinary projects and guided independent inquiry. Through such project-based learning, students are given real problems to solve and the space to address these problems in the manner of real practitioners in the field, a highly-effective and flexible educational paradigm supported by research in the field of gifted education.
At Grayson, even the youngest students have the opportunity to pursue advanced work with faculty guidance through projects and focused study while also developing important collaboration and leadership skills, including working on teams, communicating effectively, practicing flexible thinking skills, and assessing their own work.
In addition, through a range of innovative electives, Grayson students may expand beyond the core curriculum by essentially designing their own courses of study and exploring their personal interests. Overall, these learning structures, combined with rigor and innovation, allow for a unique and challenging education unmatched by anything else in the region.
To deliver such a rich and varied array of educational opportunities, Grayson’s faculty members are flexible and creative, experienced in the classroom, experts in their subject areas, and well-versed in the needs—both emotional and intellectual—of gifted children. To ensure that Grayson’s faculty continues to evolve and improve alongside their students, the school insists on extensive professional development requirements, which may be fulfilled through in-house trainings led by administrators and senior staff. Grayson will also offer access to online webinars from renowned researchers on the gifted and talented and from organizations such as Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG). Additionally, faculty and staff attend conferences such as that held annually by Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education (PAGE); the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)’s Annual Convention; and the biennial Wallace Research & Policy Symposium on Talent Development.
Grayson’s team of administrators and staff are also deeply committed to providing the best possible educational environment for gifted students. Their expertise in the field is supplemented by the Grayson Research Advisory Board, a group of a dozen researchers who are luminaries in gifted education; these thought leaders in high-ability learning support programming and our mission and are available to us for consultation and professional development. Similarly, we have a Field Advisory Board comprised of experts in the fields of education, media, giftedness, and the social-emotional development of children; these leaders in the field have proven track records of excellence, and we are gratified to be able to call upon them for information, advice, and best practices. Finally, Grayson is supported by the efforts of its Executive Board of Directors, whose members are passionate supporters of gifted children and their education as well as being prominent community members in the greater Philadelphia area.