Schoolwide Enrichment Model

The focus of all activities is to nurture excellence in a Christ-centred Academic environment.

Committed to Quality Learning

The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) is a tool for total school improvement that allows each school to keep its unique characteristics, personality, and culture. It is a research-based model with roots in gifted education, and goals to provide challenging, high-end learning – enjoyable for all students. The Schoolwide Enrichment Model at Oakville Christian School is comprised of the three main components:

Total Talent Portfolio

The Total Talent Portfolio (TTP) is a pedagogical component of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) that allows teachers to focus on student strengths rather than deficits. Information about a student’s talents, learning styles, interests, expression styles, etc. is collected through conversations and using various assessment tools so teachers and students can use the information to make instructional and learning decisions.

Curriculum Modification Techniques

The teachers at OCS take part in collaborative and independent professional development opportunities on the topics of ability grouping, small group instruction, differentiated instruction, and curriculum compacting. These are all curriculum modification techniques that are valued and implemented, and – help us – reach our goal of providing challenging, high-end learning – enjoyable for all students.

Enrichment Learning

Enrichment activities in the Schoolwide Enrichment Model have three different classifications. Type I enrichment activities are general exploratory experiences – designed to grab the interest of students and include a variety of disciplines, topics, ideas, and concepts.

The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) emphasizes Type II skills, which are instructional methods and materials designed to promote the following:

  • General cognitive skills such as creative problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making.
  • Affective skills such as sensing, appreciating and valuing.
  • How-to skills such as note taking, interviewing, and analyzing.
  • Research skills such as researching directories, use of technology, and writing bibliographies.
  • Written, oral and visual communication skills.

One way that OCS has chosen to meet the need for research skills in classrooms is through the implementation of the Independent Investigation Method (IIM). IIM is a step-by-step process that involves students conducting their own research. IIM can be differentiated according to grade level, skill level, and academic ability needs.

Using IIM, students are taught how to find reliable sources, document sources in MLA format, record point-form note facts in their own words, and then organize those notes to create written documents, posters, PowerPoint presentations, and other document styles. In the primary and junior grades, note facts are written on paper to be sorted manually and then written as organized paragraphs. In the intermediate grades, students learn to create note fact lists on the computer and use the “cut” and “paste” features to transfer their own notes into organized groupings that can then be made into paragraphs.

Type III enrichment involves individual or small group investigations of real problems. – An example of a Type III enrichment is when a student investigates a real world problem, creates a real product or service, and presents this to a real audience. Type III enrichment activities can also take the form of enrichment clusters.

This type of enrichment can take on a practice called Problem-Based Learning (PBL). PBL is a student-driven approach to education, where children learn about a subject by working in groups to solve an open-ended problem, based on real -life circumstances. The problem – drives the motivation and the learning. This approach to education encourages the development of critical thinking skills, problem-solving, and communication skills.

What are Enrichment Clusters?

Enrichment clusters are multi-age groups of students who share common interests and come together for a designated block of time to explore those interests. Rather than teaching the students, instructors facilitate clusters. Clusters are driven by students to produce an authentic product or service to a real-world audience.

Enrichment clusters are designed so students have the opportunity to solve a real-world problem. Real-world problems first require a personal frame of reference for the students pursuing the problem. Something that is considered a problem for one individual may not be a real problem for others. A problem is considered “real” when an individual (or group) decides to do something to address the issue. Real problems do not necessarily have an existing agreed-upon solution or right answer, or prescribed strategy for a successful resolution. If there are standard solutions, then they are not real-world problems, but rather, training exercises. Employing the methodology, knowledge, and materials typically used by investigators or others working in similar disciplines, real-world problems are addressed using authentic strategies.

Enrichment clusters allow for the three enrichment types that are part of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model:

  • Type I Enrichment exposes students to new topics, arousing their interests. Examples of Type I enrichment experiences are interest development centres, special speakers, or field trips.
  • Type II Enrichment involves learning the skills related to a topic. Type II enrichment provides instructional methods and materials to help students solve problems, document findings, and present learning to an audience.
  • Type II Enrichment involves learning the skills related to a topic. Type II enrichment provides instructional methods and materials to help students solve problems, document findings, and present learning to an audience.

OCS provides two opportunities each year for our students to be engaged in multi-age and multi-grade clusters – one session of enrichment clusters and another session of service-based clusters. Previous enrichment clusters include: The Science of Baking, Robotics, Clay Creations, Circus 101, Puppets, The Buzz on Broadway, Environment Helpers, and Hooked on Computers. Service Clusters allow us to partner with local community organizations to serve those around us through activities, such as assembling radios, making cards, yardwork, and packing backpacks- for underprivileged students.

The Schoolwide Enrichment Model is a natural component representing how we “do school” here at OCS. It is a total school improvement tool that has allowed us to keep our unique characteristics of community, discipline, and excellence, helping us provide the best possible education for our students.

For more information, please browse the many articles, testimonials, and research reports on the SEM website.

To see an example of Service Clusters at OCS, click here.

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