The Academically Advanced Program (TAAP) at Mt. Daniel and Thomas Jefferson strives to support and enrich the general education program. The TAAP specialists help the classroom teachers with the process of differentiation and are available to model lessons, create learning centers, and help plan lessons that will extend the understanding of the Screening Pool students. Additionally, the specialists work with the Screening Pool students for approximately one hour each week.
Kindergarten is a time for teachers and children to get acquainted. There is an emphasis on working together while improving listening skills and following multiple step directions. The TAAP specialist visits with each class weekly – sometimes in a small group situation, at other times sharing a story with the whole class. The TAAP specialist administers the Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary Students (SAGES) and the Raven Progressive Coloured Matrices test to all Mt. Daniel kindergarten students in the early spring as part of the process of developing the matrix used in selecting students for the first grade TAAP Screening Pool.
First grade TAAP Screening Pool students meet on a weekly basis. They begin to expand their thinking by considering the other side of various historical events and making connections between these events. They also spend time learning more about the world and their place in it through the use of maps and other documents. They listen to many biographies and are encouraged to see how each person they hear about is connected to their lives.
The goals of the second grade program are to develop students who are strategic thinkers and to help the students learn to be more aware of the world around them. Through a variety of games and activities, second grade Screening Pool students are taught to think carefully about what they do and say, to slow down, and learn the value of reining in their impulsivity. They expand their knowledge of the world by reading about current events in Time for Kids, as well as taking a peek into various cultures around the globe through stories, research and other activities.
Third graders in the TAAP Screening Pool spend part of each year learning the components of logic. They discover how to solve problems using both deductive reasoning and inferring. The students make use of Venn diagrams to unravel problems, and begin to understand how to crack various sequencing problems. The Screening Pool students in third grade read a number of biographies, as well. As the students read about gifted people in the arts, sports, and politics, they learn about the traits that can contribute to success and how to use their gifts in a positive way. Third grade Screening Pool students end the year by exploring a number of algebraic concepts.
A child in the fourth grade Screening Pool will read a number of complex short stories which contain metaphoric and symbolic elements. The students learn to pull apart a story and search for hidden meanings and greater depth. For each unit in math, students take a pretest to determine an appropriate class placement. Those students who are placed in the enrichment class(es) will spend a significant portion of time on mathematical problem solving and explore the concept of patterns in mathematics. Academic contests available to all fourth graders include the National Geographic Geography Bee and the Science Olympiad. Some students might be interested in trying out for the Math Olympiad team.
The TAAP specialists also help to make parents aware of special programs, such as the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, the University of Virginia Summer Enrichment Program, and the George Mason University Summer Enrichment Camp.