PI , or personalized instructions for gifted learners is taking place in an elementary school offering select students from the entire district an opportunity to attend “PI Academy” in one classroom.
At Southgate Elementary School in Texas, students of different ages will be together for the unique program, blending students by ability rather than age.
Two first-graders, eight second-graders, four third-graders and five fourth-graders will start started school at Southgate Elementary. Their class room is a very different environment than their peers. Lessons are based on skill level rather than grade level, and they will be learning together in one classroom. The top 10 percent of students were invited last year based upon data from reading, math and the cognitive abilities tests, and were allowed to choose whether to at attend.
“Pi Academy actually is a center where some of our most highly able students are able to go,” Educational Services Director John Alberts said.
“So we were looking at both ability as well as achievement to determine those most highly able students,” Alberts said.
The ungraded environment will be based more on where the students are in terms of skill level.
“We may have a first-grader working with a third-grader on the same math concepts, but it’s going to be based upon where they’re at in terms of skill,” Alberts said.
Although the students will be working together on academic subjects, Alberts said they will not be isolated. For classes such as Physical Education and music, students will rejoin their grade-level peers. So a first-grader will take Phy. Ed. with other first-graders.
“We want them to both be challenged academically, but we want them to be socially engaged with their class, so we’re trying to balance that way,” Alberts said.