West is one of six DC public schools with an advanced-learner program (Schoolwide Enrichment Model) designed to provide ALL students the opportunity to engage in enriched and stimulating learning within and outside of the regular classroom curriculum.
SEM (Renzulli, 1977; Renzulli & Reis, 1985, 1997) is widely implemented as an enrichment program used with academically gifted and talented students and a magnet theme/enrichment approach for schools interested in high-end learning and developing the strengths and talents of all students. The major goal of SEM is the application of gifted education pedagogy to total school improvement.
Through SEM, West provides enriched learning experiences and higher learning standards for all children through three goals; developing talents in all children, providing a broad range of advanced-level enrichment experiences for all students, and providing advanced follow-up opportunities for young people based on their strengths and interests.
SEM focuses on enrichment for all students through high levels of engagement and the use of enjoyable and challenging learning experiences that are constructed around students' interests, learning styles and preferred modes of expression. At West, students participate one afternoon per week in enrichment clusters, a class offered outside of the standard curriculum. Students are provided a menu of choices each semester and rank those that interest them most. They then are placed into a cluster based on interest, analysis of their skills/needs, and available space. Twice a year, we present a showcase of student projects.