Self-Contained Gifted Programs

The Self Contained Program Philosophy

Education is fundamental in developing intellectual, emotional, social and physical growth for each child. The Self-contained Gifted Program provides for the development of the natural talents and capabilities of those students who possess a high level of cognitive, effective, and creative capacities. Cultivating intellectual pursuit by using a rich, problem-based, interdisciplinary curriculum challenges our students to think critically. Learning experiences are tailored to the individual needs of our students. This is achieved through the academic objectives that integrate:

  • Critical thinking and reasoning abilities
  • Communication and collaboration opportunities
  • Creative and innovative approaches to problem-solving 
  • Differentiated strategies for learning
  • Cognitive language skills
  • An interdisciplinary approach to the content areas including language arts, math, science, engineering, affective education, and technology.  

The Self Contained Gifted Program enables our students to develop their unique gifts to their fullest potential while preparing them for the increasingly complex academic, life, and career environments in today’s world. 

Curricular Highlights:

  • Junior Great Books
  • Classic and Contemporary literature
  • Latin-based vocabulary and grammar instruction using the works of Michael Clay Thompson
  • Math Olympiad/ Continental Math competitions
  • College of William and Mary curriculum

Technology Integration

Teachers have developed and refined a course of curriculum and instruction designed for world class thinking and problem-based learning in the 21st century learning. Technology is one of the necessary components for student success in the world today; it keeps them actively engaged as they meld classical pedagogy with today’s rapidly expanding digital information systems. Teaching and learning is differentiated for the digitally proficient students in this program so they can take an active role in their learning, thus preparing them for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities.

The Self-contained Gifted Program specializes in incorporating state of the art technology throughout the curriculum. Students are immersed in essential 21st century learning skills including navigating the Internet, doing Web-based research and collaboration and creating digital presentations. Students are involved in various project-based learning activities using classroom tools including MacBooks, Keynote, iMovie, Garage Band, and the Google-based pvLearners.

Technology incorporated in the program includes:

  • Pvlearners is PVSchools Google Suite for digital collaboration.
  • 1:1 Chromebooks for individual and small group collaboration, research, web-based learning, and production.
  • iPads for video production, research and multi-media resources

Sample Topics of Study

Language Arts

Students participate in programs from Junior Great Books, curriculum from the College of William and Mary and a variety of novel studies involving the shared inquiry process. A common thread for perspective-seeking, Socratic questioning, and reflective thinking are woven through various literary genre. The Self-Contained Program utilizes language materials based on a curriculum developed by Michael Clay Thompson for gifted learners. It represents a logical progression through the grade levels incorporating Latin word study as the building block to our English language. Students will be guided through the reflective writing process and the state standards for writing.


Mathematics instruction is generally two grade levels beyond age peers. However, students who are radically accelerated learn math at their challenge level. Teachers utilize district-adopted curricula and materials for advanced learning along with higher-level problem-solving. 

View the Math Pathways and Placement document.


Classical Era, the Middle Ages, and Post-modern US History to draw connections between the events that have shaped our current reality. The program focuses on global ideas/themes and how they intertwine with the past, present, and future. An in-depth examination of the cause-and-effect relationship between events in established history is the foundation of the self-contained program.


State standards are embedded within the curriculum utilizing research processes, shared inquiry, perspective seeking and real-world problem-solving. Opportunities will be provided for students to make worldly connections and concept exploration via a variety of materials.