QUEST, West Hartford Public School’s Gifted and Talented Program, has been addressing the learning needs of highly capable students since 1994. Guiding students to become independent, lifelong learners who will know how to act upon their own interests and talents to become the innovators, the artists, the scientists, the political and philosophical thinkers, the humanitarians and the leaders in our community and beyond has become the hallmark of the program’s work.
QUEST identified students in grades 4-8 are provided opportunities to advance their learning and understanding of themselves through diverse and challenging experiences found in QUEST, Math QUEST and Art QUEST.
QUEST is built on the Enrichment Triad Model (Renzulli, 1977) and the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (Renzulli and Reis, 1985). Students are identified in grade 3 and beginning in grade 4 experience three types of enrichment learning activities, with each type of enrichment guiding the learner to greater depth, complexity and independency. The levels are:
- Type I Enrichment: exploration and discovery are the key elements in Type I enrichment. Students are exposed to general exploratory experiences such as presentations, performances, workshops, interest development centers, etc.
- Type II Enrichment: “How to” is the key element in Type II enrichment. Students engage in individual, small group or classroom lessons to develop the skills and processes necessary for independent learning.
- Type III Enrichment: “Practicing professional” is the highest level of enrichment learning. Students conduct an in-depth independent/small group investigation based on their personal interests and motivation.
Math QUEST is an accelerated math program that allows students who demonstrate the need to grow two grade levels beyond their current grade placement. Math QUEST is offered in grades 4 and 5 for students who qualify based on specific criteria. Elementary QUEST teachers deliver the instruction. In grade 6, students take grade 7 Honors Math. Students must qualify each year to continue in Math QUEST.
Art QUEST invites all incoming 5th grade student across the district to submit a portfolio for review as the new school year begins. Approximately 30 fifth graders are selected for 20 weeks of after-school visual art exploration classes in two school locations, staffed by 4 art teachers. An Art QUEST Exhibit celebrates the students’ work at the conclusion of the program.