Student Enrichment Model
SEM is a Cache County School District program that is operational in all of the district’s elementary schools, including River Heights Elementary. It is designed to help the very highest achieving students in Languages Arts be challenged. Only the top 5-10% of students in grades 4-6 qualify for this program. It is not a “true” gifted and talented program in that students are not given any type of I.Q. test to enter the program. The top students qualify for this program by simply having a composite SEM score that is higher than 90-95% of their peers. Students are not placed in the program because of a request from a teacher or a parent. Placement is entirely due to the objective measure of a student’s composite SEM score.
SEM is currently a Language Arts program only. The composite SEM score comes from a series of academic Language Arts assessments and also what is called a SRBCSS score (Scale for Rating Behavioral Characteristics of Superior Students). The SRBCSS is a survey current teachers fill out regarding students. They are asked to rate students on a series of Learning, Motivational, Creativity and Leadership Characteristics that have been scientifically put together. These characteristics have been correlated with students across the nation who are superior students. This survey creates a SRBCSS score for each student. The academic scores include end of level Language Arts scores (if available), and DIBELs composite scores for third grade students. Each of these academic scores and SRBCSS scores are weighted to give a final composite score based on 100. The academic scores are weighted to comprise 33% of the SEM composite score, while the SRBCSS scores is weighted to comprise the other 66% of the SEM score. Students and parents, of course, have the choice to participate in this program if their SEM score qualifies the student for participation. If they choose not to participate the next student in line to enter the program will be asked if they would like to participate. A student must meet these qualifications each year, which means a student may be asked to participate one year, but not in other years.
Some students who qualify for this program after experiencing it choose not to participate because it is extra work. Many of the things they do will require work outside of the regular school day. SEM does meet just once a week for 70-75 minutes during their regular class’s Language Arts time. It is designed to be taxing, yet we hope that it will be rewarding for those learners who desire a challenge in Language Arts. Rest assured there are many high achieving students at River Heights Elementary who may not qualify for the SEM Language Arts program under these guidelines. SEM is not a tracked program throughout a student’s academic life, it is simply a 4th, 5th and 6th program that has no bearing on inclusion in other future classes in the secondary schools. Some students who do not qualify for SEM at this time may out shine others students later in their school careers as they mature emotionally, socially and academically.