MWMA has an established elementary Gifted & Talented identification and enrichment program, called Accelerated Learners. In addition, we offer middle school honors courses as well as an AP course for 9th grade students, AP Human Geography.
Accelerated learners: Students are screened for eligibility for the program by teacher and parent recommendation, reading level, standardized testing, and the CogAt (cognitive ability testing in the areas of verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal reasoning). If you feel that your student may qualify, please talk to their teacher. We feel that all of our students have gifts and talents, many of them academic, and recognize the existence of “twice exceptional” learners (who may have academic gifts side-by-side with other challenges).
Students who qualify for the program attend pull-out groups in either Literacy or STEM (or both), based on their CogAT scores. The groups happen weekly, and are run by our Accelerated Learners teacher and para-educator.
The underlying philosophy of our program is the development of growth mindset (based on research from Stanford University), embracing productive struggle, and feeling friendly about mistakes. The purpose of the program is to meet specific student needs by challenging students in order to avoid the "coasting" that can occur when classroom tasks are very easy for students in the area of their cognitive gifts. (This can lead to a poor work ethic or a large ego which may be burst when students graduate to a larger, more competitive arena, such as high school or college.)
Although Montessori is already individualized, we feel that providing some challenging enrichment time with peers who have similar gifts will better meet the needs of these students.
All students have gifts, in various areas. We encourage parents to carefully consider how you speak with your children about their gifts, and their learning in general. Avoid pinning your child's identity on their gifts (such as "smart") but instead emphasize, encourage, and praise EFFORT and the importance of challenging oneself, taking risks, and cooperating with others. Remember that non-cognitive skills such as working hard, taking initiative, and perseverance are equally necessary for success!