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Project Conn-Cept Description

Javits Frasier Scholarship

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as it relates to the Parallel Curriculum Model (PCM)
Support Materials Distance Learning Opportunity

Project CONN-CEPT is an innovative, capacity-building, three-year initiative that responds to seven intractable Connecticut issues that are a reflected nationally. It addresses the need to provide:

  1. rigorous, standards-based learning for all students,
  2. differentiated curriculum units for gifted and talented (g/t) students,
  3. alternative methods to identify g/t students from low-income and culturally diverse homes,
  4. teachers with access to rigorous content knowledge,
  5. high-quality, effective staff development,
  6. emphasis on science and social studies, K-8, and
  7. increased collaboration between gifted and regular education.

Grant activities will focus on the development of eight products. The first is an on-line, introductory learning opportunity based on the Parallel Curriculum Model (PCM), an integrated approach to curriculum development that offers four different methods for delivering differentiated, discipline-based content (e.g., Core Curriculum and the Curricula of Connections, Practice, and Identity). This no cost distance learning opportunity will continue through all three years of the initiative. The second product is the development of a novice-friendly, K-8 reference book that supports teachers' acquisition of discipline-based content knowledge in science and social studies. To complete this product, content experts will identify, define, and illustrate sets of core concepts, principles, skills, and representative topics in 24 selected fields in science and social studies.

Concurrently, a cadre of Connecticut and national-level writers will create procedures and templates for writing curriculum units based on PCM. Subsequently, they will create 24 six-week replacement units and accompanying professional development modules that build upon the concepts, principles, skills, and topics identified in the first phase of this project. Each unit will contain pre- and post-assessments, rigorous core content lessons for all students, 6 lessons that require ascending levels of intellectual demand from students, 6 parallel lessons for use in the regular classroom that emphasize one of the three other parallels of the model, and 6 aligned lessons that can be implemented by a g/t teacher. The units will be field tested by teams of K-8 classroom teachers and teachers of the gifted in multiple, diverse school settings in Year Two.

During Year Three all grant-funded products will be disseminated through collaborating State Departments of Education (AL, CA, CO, IN, LA, MN, OH, VA), NAGC, and NAGC affiliates. The project also will support a video, an NAGC website, and face-to-face professional development to encourage the successful upscaling of the 24 curriculum units, as well as the use of the model and related templates to create additional curriculum units for all students, including those who are gifted and talented.

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