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Curriculum

 

Curriculum Overview

All students who attend the School for the Talented and Gifted pursue the Distinguished Achievement Program for graduation, as well as participate in activities unique to the magnet itself, such as the TAG Forum, TAG TREK, interim-term mini-courses (TAG-IT), and grade-level interdisciplinary seminars.  The variety of experiences afforded these students has resulted in one of the best programs in the nation.

Preparation for College

Since our school has a strong college-preparatory and AP curriculum, it is incumbent that we give our students and parents as much information as possible regarding choices for higher education.  Among the opportunities for understanding the need for planning and preparing for college, our counseling office provides the following:

  • PSAT for all freshmen, sophomores and juniors, in preparation for the SAT
  • Required SAT for all seniors (ACT is optional)
  •  Updates on scholarship offers presented to parents
  •  Individual conferences with parents and students as needed
  • Small group in-house visits with college representatives
  • Encouragement for on-campus visits to colleges and universities
  • Financial aid workshop
  • Career interest survey for all students
  • Career exploration through TAG Forum
  • Senior exit interviews, resumes, and recommendations on file
  • District-wide college night

Typical Schedule for 9th through 12th Grade

9th Grade

10th Grade

AP Human Geography

Pre-AP English II

Pre-AP English I

Pre-AP Algebra II, Pre-Calculus Pre-AP or Fast Track Math

Pre-AP Algebra II or Pre-AP Geometry

Pre-AP Chemistry

Pre-AP Biology

Theater Arts

Pre-AP Computer Science I

Physical Education (Semester) / Health (Semester)

Foreign Language (3 years of same)

AP World History

Physical Education

Elective

Elective

Elective

11th Grade

12th Grade

AP English Language & Composition

AP English Literature & Composition

AP Calculus AB or Pre-Calculus Pre-AP

AP Calculus AB or BC

AP US History

AP US Government (Fall) / AP Economics (Spring)

AP Statistics

Pre-AP Psychology/AP Psychology

AP Physics B or Pre-AP Physics

AP Science (Physics C, E&M, Chemistry, Biology, Environmental Science)

Speech

Independent Studies (Senior Thesis)

Elective

Elective

Elective

Elective

Curriculum Goals

Our curriculum goals adhere to the four categories of gifted education: content, process, product, and affective development. The four categories are defined as follows:

Content: Present content that is related to broad-based issues, themes, or problems in an interdisciplinary format

  • Process: Develop critical and higher-level thinking skills in both cognitive and affective areas.
  • Product: Develop products that redefine or challenge existing ideas, incorporate new and innovative ideas, and utilize techniques, materials, forms, and a body of knowledge in an innovative way.
  • Affective: Encourage the development of sound relationships, including tolerance of human differences, respect for the needs and rights of others, and recognition of the contributions of others.

Although our students are required to follow an extensive Pre-AP and Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum that includes a minimum of eleven (11) AP courses, our program is enhanced by an array of additional opportunities which provide services to our gifted and talented learners.  These include the interdisciplinary focus of the grade-level seminars, TAG Trek, and TAG-IT, Advanced Research and Technology, and field-based research in conjunction with local universities and other collaborative institutions.

For the past thirty years, general principles about appropriate curriculum for gifted learners have been delineated. Experts such as Joseph Renzulli, Sally Reis, Joyce Van Tassel-Baska, Carol Ann Tomlinson, Sandra Kaplan and many others continue to present effective curriculum and instructional models for gifted and talented education.  Many models for gifted curriculum are available.  Because each approach responds to different needs and characteristics of gifted students, it has been found over a span of years that it is not advantageous to select one model over another when planning.  Therefore, TAG uses many programs and models.  In this way, such areas as enrichment, accelerated content, interdisciplinary instruction and creative problem solving are addressed.  Among the models utilized are:

  • Dallas Collaborative Model
  • Enrichment Triad Model (Renzulli)
  • Autonomous Learner Model (Betts)
  • Learning Styles (Dunn, Dunn)
  • Critical Thinking Skills (Ennis)
  • Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Bloom)
  • Integrated/Interdisciplinary Curriculum (Roger Taylor)
  • Cognitive Research Trust Thinking Skills (deBono)
  • Creative Problem Solving (Parnes)
  • Structure of the Intellect (Guilford, Meeker)
  • Strategic Reasoning (Upton)
  • Socratic Seminar