The Orange Scholars’ Academy recognizes that there are students who require differentiated programs and services beyond the core curriculum because of their advanced abilities in one or more of the following areas: specific aptitudes in Mathematics, the English Language Arts, Science, and related technical skills associated with the STEM disciplines. These students also possess differential cognitive and affective characteristics such as curiosity, creativity, passion, and drive that require educational responses geared to their needs. Moreover, Scholars’ Academy recognizes that gifted students may come from underrepresented groups that include diverse ethnic backgrounds, learning and physical disabilities, and non-native English speakers. These students also represent a range of giftedness within and across areas of instruction, dictating the need for more individualized approaches to be employed in working with them.
The Scholars’ Academy learning environment for the gifted provides student-centered learning, and safe risk-taking in order to enhance potential for creative production in their areas of strength and passion. Scholars’ Academy believes that these students should have a focused and articulated educational program, designed to maximize their academic strengths and to enhance personal and social growth. The program incorporates going beyond 21st Century Skills and address academic needs for advanced instruction that are challenging, hands-on, relevant to real world issues and problems, and encourages students to develop projects that are innovative. It encourages the development of higher-level thinking and problem solving skills as well as the metacognitive skills that promote self- awareness of learning needs.
These guiding principles influence the program in its design, development and implementation; and focus on the importance of flexibility in the provision of services. They ensure that top students in the core domains of English language arts, math, and science who could benefit, have access to high level learning opportunities at the Academy.