Through a unique program combining academic challenge with career guidance in elementary school gifted students are Thinking and Doing.
Fred Connolly grew up to become a commodities trader at Perdue Agribusiness, even though there was no gifted and talented program for students at his elementary school.
There is a program at the school his daughter, Ava, attends. Not only is the fourth-grader enrolled in the Thinking and Doing gifted and talented program at Pemberton Elementary School in Salisbury, her sights are on a career in community planning or architectural design.
Thinking and Doing, or TAD, is at the core of her ambition. The program for county elementary students focused a recent unit on regional planning and architectural decision-making and skill.
That led students to an opportunity to create a development plan that would transform a parcel of barren land on the Wicomico River downtown.
The program exposes students to future opportunities and offers a hands-on, real life experience.
“TAD is invaluable,” Connolly said. “It is something I never had growing up. It is giving her interest in the downtown that she never had before. Now, when we pass a vacant lot or building, she asks, ‘Why?’ Her awareness is phenomenal.”
TAD is an example of the impact of educational investments on business and industry, say area business, education and political leaders.
The investment bolsters local education and critical thinkers prepared to make a mark on global and local economies, said John Hall, a Salisbury businessman and member of the Wicomico County Council.
“I’ve been in business 37 years, and what I look for are aspiring youth who are assets to the community,” said Hall, who owns Hall’s Tidewater Travel Agency. “I see these designs coming out of different schools, and I think it is fabulous their minds are thinking like this at their age. These kids are interested in the community, and what it should look like in the future.”
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