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Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) - FAQs

Does DCPS screen or label students as “gifted and talented”?

No. DCPS believes in developing student’s abilities through learning opportunities, rather than labeling a student and placing them on a restrictive track. We believe that it is more important to invest in the design, implementation, and growth of specific instructional programs to meet the needs of high-ability learners, rather than in conducting a screening program that limits who can participate in advanced learning opportunities.


What schools are SEM-designated schools?

A list of the SEM-designated schools may be found on the DCPS Schools Profile Page. Under Select Programs, choose SEM (gifted/talented program) in the dropdown menu to view all current year SEM-designated schools.


What if I think my child needs to be served in a separate track/program/school for gifted learners?

We believe an advanced or high-ability student is best served through enrichment-based and advanced learning opportunities. From elementary to high school, we offer programming that gives advanced learners new challenges and opportunities, such as through Advanced Placement, Junior Great Books and much more.


How are students selected to participate in an enrichment cluster?

Students with demonstrated levels of high ability, as determined by individual school administrators and teachers, are given priority to participate in an enrichment cluster. However, because SEM is appropriate for a wide range of student abilities, teachers and administrators may also recommend students who have shown intense interest in one of the designated academic learning areas. In many of our SEM schools, all students participate in weekly enrichment clusters.


In what grade can students begin participating in programs designed for advanced/high-ability learners?

DCPS does not have a specific entry grade to participate in these programs. We offer elementary programs, such as Junior Great Books, as early as kindergarten at many of our schools.


Who can provide additional information about programs designed for advanced and high ability students?

Parents should first speak to their school’s principal. For additional resources, please contact Felicia Messina-D’Haiti.


What summer learning opportunities does DCPS offer for advanced students?

DCPS runs the Summer Enrichment Program for elementary and middle school students at several locations in July. Applications are available in February and students are accepted on a rolling basis.

Beyond the DCPS program, DCPS also encourages students in grades 2-12 to apply to the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins or The Summer Institute for the Gifted. These programs have summer learning programs in Maryland, as well as online learning throughout the school year.


Contact Information

Felicia Messina-D’Haiti, Manager, Academic Enrichment Programs
Matthew Reif, Director, Advanced and Enriched Instruction.