The HG curriculum is grounded in the findings of growth mindset research - the belief that intelligence can be developed, which leads to an individual's desire to learn and willingness to take responsible risks to do so. Students are taught to embrace challenges and persist in the face of setbacks, developing an understanding that their failures are opportunities to learn so whatever happens, they will win. We promote the belief that effort is the path to mastery therefore hard work is a necessary part of learning and success in life. We also teach that constructive criticism is a valuable part of learning and to value that feedback as an important source of information and growth. Finally, we challenge students to find lessons and inspiration in the success of others. These critical tenets of developing one's intelligence help students feel a greater sense of control over their own learning, develop resiliency to setbacks, and help them reach ever greater levels of achievement.
To provide tools for problem solving situations which do not have an immediately obvious solution, we teach our students the 16 Habits of Mind. These habits provide a framework for making intelligent decisions and offer a reflection of who we are and what we value. We teach the tenets of growth mindset and habits of mind through weekly social emotional learning lessons and reinforce them on a daily basis embedded within all areas of instruction. Increasingly complex culminating performance tasks will be created at the end of each year in each grade level. By sixth grade, students will engage in year long rite of passage explorations (ROPEs) project involving a community mentor and presentation of exploration results to a panel of community members.
At Rogers Park HG we provide a social setting where students consistently interact with similar age peers who operate within a similar cognitive ability range to maximize student engagement and rigor. Differentiating instructional tasks, a technique of modifying tasks specific to the needs, readiness, and interests of groups of learners, helps to ensure appropriate levels of challenge for all students throughout the different areas of our curriculum. Instruction is developmentally appropriate, while offering content acceleration tailored to the particular needs of individuals or a given classroom of students. Enrichment activities and opportunities that extend student thinking skills are routine. The Common Core State Standards are the basis for curricular materials with modifications for the highly gifted population as recommended by the National Association of Gifted Children and other educational leaders within the field.
Students develop literacy skills through a Reader's and Writer's Workshop delivery model. The "workshop" model was developed by Lucy Calkins from the research conducted at Columbia University's Teachers' College. The goal of the workshop model is to explicitly teach students strategies to become more skillful at comprehending and writing text. It involves authentic reading and writing experiences that focus on the strengths and needs of each individual student. It emphasizes the importance of student engagement and the interaction between readers and the text. It emphasizes the idea that our lives are worth writing about and that students need to care about what they write. Students read and write across the genres every day in every grade level.
In math, students are grouped by ability and work through the GO Math! and Big Ideas materials at an accelerated pace. Algebra and geometry classes are offered by a teacher with highly qualified high school certification to those students who have demonstrated skills, readiness, and interest. Please see the specific math placement section for more details.
Science kits, experiments, and science fair projects allow students the opportunity to be scientists rather than just read about science. Social studies projects and simulations offer both student involvement and enrichment. Other projects such as Mini-Society, National History Day or Create a Culture, provide opportunities for student choice and creativity.
HG students also participate in health, P.E., music, library, and art classes. All Rogers Park students work on applied technology skills and projects utilizing a variety of tools.
HG program staff are trained in gifted education research, providing knowledge and skills to address a variety of gifted-related issues including perfectionism and underachievement.