Our Academic Approach
The academic curriculum model at SIG combines enrichment and acceleration. We offer open-ended and flexible courses in multidisciplinary fields that encourage students to explore interests and passions, as well as engage in concepts they may not encounter in core school curriculum at their age level, and to progress within those concepts at a rigorous and challenging pace that is appropriate for them. Each course is conceptual in its description and will therefore vary somewhat by campus as it evolves according to students’ interests and needs. One advantage of offering a summer learning environment is the flexibility of structure that may not be available in traditional educational environments. This flexibility enhances an environment that:
- unleashes the abilities, ideas, and thinking of fertile minds.
- encourages students to enhance, discover, and pursue their talents and passions.
Most types of gifted, talented, and creative learners who show great potential in wide-ranging human endeavors will thrive in a learning environment like SIG’s. We value each student’s unique learning preferences. We encourage students to accept responsibility for the direction of their learning and to participate in self-assessment while at SIG, through course activities as well as through the development of personal objectives. Personalized learning is enjoyable. At SIG, students:
- engage in real and authentic content.
- employ their skills, interests, and learning styles.
- think individually.
- expand the ways they think and approach challenges.
- gain tools for lifelong learning.
Social and Emotional Well-Being
Be SIG happy! Parallel to the academic enrichment program is our social/emotional emphasis, so it is fitting to mention briefly this component within our approach to academics. We believe that students’ emotional happiness is paramount to their overall self-fulfillment and is as important in our programs as the academic component.
- provide student activities to enhance social interaction, acceptance, and fun.
- develop long-lasting friendships so essential to maintaining fulfilling relationships with intellectual peers.
We design instruction to challenge the student through course content, processes, and products within a learning environment that is flexible and open-ended. Our courses encourage students to:
- think critically, creatively, and complexly.
- apply new knowledge to real problems.
- do what professionals do in their fields of study.
- learn to self-assess their work.
- pursue their own interests and questions.
- become intrigued and delve deeply into topics that matter to them!
Our hope is that students will continue to pursue interests, questions, and projects that they have begun during a SIG session well into the coming year and beyond, as they develop content expertise and practice sophisticated habits of mind.
Academic Performance and Student Evaluation
Parents receive a final Student Performance Review (SPR) that assesses personal accomplishments and attainment of goals. This report is available online shortly after the program ends and can be sent to the student’s school, with parental permission. A letter indicating successful student participation in, and completion of, the Summer Institute for the Gifted program also can be sent to the student’s school, if parents so indicate.