Academic Enrichment and Challenge Program
Winchester Thurston maintains a rigorous and challenging curriculum for all its students, while recognizing that students come to the school with different learning needs.
The Academic Enrichment and Challenge Program (AEC) at Winchester Thurston provides high-ability learners with an appropriate education that is grounded in recognition of their unique learning needs. By using methods that address the individual learning rates, styles, and complexity of high-ability learners, we develop an instructional environment that encourages and nurtures inquiry, flexibility, and creative thinking.
Components of the AEC Program
- Whole-class and small-group activities in the classroom that complement the existing curricula.
- Interesting and fun activities - like puzzles, critical thinking games, hands-on learning experiences, and contests - that keep students engaged in learning.
- Pull-out programs in certain subjects like math and language arts that provide accelerated learning challenges to those students performing one or more grade levels beyond their classmates.
- Resource rooms at both campuses that are open to all, and whose teachers work with our classroom teachers to provide enrichment to all students.
- Highly qualified AEC teachers who develop and implement individualized learning experiences.
- Thorough and ongoing academic assessments to identify bright students for enrichment programming.
- Consistent and regular monitoring of students to ensure that their academic needs continue to be met.
What Makes Our AEC Program Unique
Many schools offer programs for high-ability learners, so what makes WT special? Too often, enrichment programming is severely constrained because of limited resources. As a result, many schools' programs take a "one-size-fits-all" approach and don't allow for the individualized process used by WT. The reality is that enrichment programming is costly - in terms of time, staffing, and space - but WT believes that it is essential to meeting the learning needs of all our students.
AEC students spend at least 45 minutes a day, five days per week with our highly trained enrichment teachers. Pull-out enrichment classes are no larger than ten students, and many have only one or two students. This allows our teachers to truly individualize and tailor their instruction to the needs of these high-ability learners. That might mean teaching calculus to an eighth-grade math whiz, or supplementing language arts instruction for an exceptionally bright third-grader. Whatever form this instruction takes, the goal is the same: to keep all WT students challenged, engaged, and excited about learning.