A Message from the Renzullis

Sally M. Reis, Ph.D. Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Teaching Fellow Department of Educational Psychology University of Connecticut 2131 Hillside Road Unit 3007 Storrs, CT 06269-3007 Ph: 860-486-0618 Fax: 860-486-2900 sally.reis@uconn.edu Visit our award winning website www.gifted.uconn.edu/ for information about our summer and academic year programs including Confratute, Three Summers Master’s Degree Program, On-Line Courses, UConn Mentor Connection, Parenting Specialist Help, and the latest research from The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. Sally M. Reis speaking with a colleague

Tens of thousands of high potential culturally diverse youth from homes of poverty attend urban schools where they spend their days in classrooms in which their abilities and potentials are unrecognized. With limited opportunities for breaking the cycle of poverty, these students too often experience an educational setting characterized by boredom and lack of engagement, classroom disruption, and pressure to hide their talents and skills from their unsympathetic peers and teachers/ Even outstanding teachers who teach in urban classrooms traditionally feel the need to focus their attention on remediation and the education of the lowest achieving students, frequently failing to address the needs of high potential students. Research demonstrates that up to 50% of high potential and gifted students in urban schools underachieve and for those who do graduate, only limited numbers enter higher education and they often have lower skills and competencies required for high-level performance.

Research also shows that culturally and linguistically diverse youth from ethnic and linguistic minority communities achieve higher levels of academic success when they are more engaged in school, are grouped with other students who want to learn and have opportunities to participate in enriching, accelerated learning opportunities, learn in classes that use differentiated content and instruction; participate in extra-curricular activities, and have teachers whom the students perceive to be caring about them and their futures.

In response to these concerns, the Bell Academy was created [in 2007] and the school has been very successful during this time period. Results have far exceeded expectations, as the students who attend the Academy score well and go to the most competitive high schools in the city!

The Bell Academy offers high quality and distinctive programs for all youth. The Academy utilizes our Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) model to integrate these services into an approach that uses enrichment pedagogy and accelerated learning and reflects the idea that “a rising tide lifts all ships.” The SEM provides enriched learning experiences and higher standards for all children through three goals in this grant: providing a broad range of advanced level enrichment experiences for all students, providing follow-up advanced learning for children based on interests, and developing self regulation and continuous matriculation through all later school experiences. SEM emphasizes engagement and the use of enjoyable and challenging learning experiences focused on students’ interests, learning styles, and product styles. The mission of the Academy is to instill in young people a lifelong desire to learn and excel and to develop their intellectual aptitude, motivation, engagement and self-regulation in learning by focusing on their strengths and interests.