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    T x over 5 years ago

    When I went through the Challenge Program in the 80's, the program was individualized to help each student reach their maximum potential, and I'd like to see that added back into the program.

    Back then, when it was math time, spelling time, etc., we broke up into groups at different levels and worked on different skills with different materials.  Some students were so advanced in some subjects that they were in a group by themselves!

    Currently, the Challenge Program strives to have all students exactly one year ahead in the subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Strangely, this means that once they've entered the program and made that leap, everyone learns one year of material each year, regardless of any differences in ability or interest.

    In addition, many of the students selected for the Challenge Program have learning styles that are not textbook-focused.  Challenge teachers should be trained to individualize their instruction , providing pedagogy other than workbooks.

    Similarly, motivational techniques should be varied as well.  Although some students will step up their efforts to avoid being labeled "Trouble", some will believe the label and shut down.  A mix of positive and negative motivational techniques tailored to the student would be best.

    I went through the Challenge Program in the 80's and it was incredible!  We made movies, programmed computers, went on numerous field trips, competed in creative writing contests, role-played in simulations, and so much more!

    The current focus on getting all students exactly one year ahead in the subjects of arithmetic, reading, and writing is all wrong, in my opinion.  This is essentially the equivalent of having the students skip a grade, which I think very few districts do any longer.

    These kids can learn almost anything, so why just move them up one rung up these three ladders?  There are a million other ladders out there, and showing them to the kids can really expand their horizons and excite them to learn more.

    Create a pathway of education for these students with trained Teachers and a curriculum that supports their needs. The teachers need training and access to the lastest research and techniques geared toward getting the most out of these students. 

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