Our theme for the 2016-2017 year is "Leadership."
Why Extended Studies?
By Sandi Derrig
“Two of the most important qualities our school system can help instill are a love for learning and the ability to overcome adversity.” ~ RochesterSAGE.org
Billings Public Schools’ Extended Studies is rooted in this very quote. While not an accelerated curriculum, such as advanced math or enriched reading, ours is a program designed to facilitate learning between intellectual peers. So what do you actually DO in Extended Studies? What often appear to be mere puzzles and games are actually activities designed to promote ideas which are “outside the box” through convergent and divergent thinking as well as logical reasoning. In addition, annual in-depth units of study, which are not part of the everyday curriculum, provide opportunities for creative problem solving and development of critical thinking skills at a pace and rigor suited to students’ abilities. Infusing experiences to pique interest in novel rather than repetitive concepts, as well as increasing complexity, as opposed to volume of tasks not only inspire students’ intellect, but foster lifelong learning. “Further benefits of gifted programs have been shown to include that students who had participated in gifted programs maintained their interests over time and stayed involved in creative productive work after they finished college and graduate school.”
Another fundamental component to Extended Studies lies in teaching, reinforcing, and encouraging strategies which support the unique needs of gifted learners in a broader educational spectrum. This may prove to be a time when students feel most challenged to acquire the skills necessary to study, persevere, and collaborate. “Not having these skills will harm our gifted students in their careers and lives more than any lack of knowledge. A person who never has a challenge is a person who never really succeeds.”2 Moreover, our goal is to expand students’ definition of achievement to measure effort within a growth mindset rather than simply connecting their identity to their end product or final score. As gifted advocate Ian Byrd states, “We accidentally condition our brightest students to see challenges as risks that threaten their perfect streaks and ‘smart’ status.”
At Billings Public Schools Extended Studies, we are both dedicated and honored to travel this journey with you and your child!
1Westberg, K. L. (1999, Summer). What happens to young, creative producers? NAGC: Creativity and Curriculum Division Newsletter, 3, 13–16.
2Rochester SAGE Supporting Advanced Gifted Education. N.p., 29 Mar. 2011.
Contacting your student's Extended Studies Teacher~
We would love to hear from you, and answer any questions you may have about our program. Email is the most effective way to communicate with your child's Extended Studies teacher. Please click the "Meet The Teachers" button for more information about your child's teacher, and their contact information.