Reaching Academic Potential (RAP)
The Reaching Academic Potential (RAP) Project has been developed through a partnership
with the Kentucky Department of Education, Jefferson County (Kentucky) Schools, the
University of Louisville, and Western Kentucky University. The Young Scholars model is being utilized at five elementary schools in Jefferson County. All primary
teachers in the five schools are receiving professional development in gifted education.
One teacher from each school is being supported to earn a gifted and talented endorsement.
These teachers serve as gifted instructional leaders at their sites, working within
Professional Learning Communities to transition their schools’ current methodologies
to the Young Scholars model. The effectiveness of this project is being evaluated
by the University of Louisville.
Western Kentucky University is emphasizing the statewide need for enhanced services to underrepresented gifted and talented students through raising awareness and dissemination of information about the Excellence Gap to educational leaders. Educational networks and media are being used to share lessons learned at the demonstration schools and provide tools for other districts/schools to implement the Young Scholars model.
This project is funded through a U.S. Department of Education Javits Grant. Named after the longtime U.S. Senator from New York, Jacob Javits, the grant program is part of the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act, which provides the only federal money for gifted and talented education. The purpose of the program is to carry out a coordinated program of scientifically based research, demonstration projects, innovative strategies, and similar activities designed to build and enhance the ability of elementary and secondary schools to meet the exceptional needs of gifted and talented students.
Watch news coverage from WHAS 11 on the success RAP has achieved in Jefferson County schools.
Find resources on selected response lessons for all schools as of 2018.
Project Goals and Objectives
Goal 1 — Increase identification of and services to students from underrepresented groups for the gifted and talented program to reduce Kentucky’s Excellence Gap.
- Implement the Young Scholars model at five demonstration schools and use a research design to evaluate its effectiveness
- Use a multifaceted screening system in grades K-3 to increase the identification of students from diverse backgrounds
- Increase the use of research-based best practices in the classroom to promote high academic achievement by underrepresented students
- Provide training to school counselors and other staff in supporting the social and emotional needs of gifted students
- Engage parents
Goal 2 — Increase teacher understanding of the behaviors that correlate with high potential in underrepresented populations and enhance teacher professional practice to foster and support diverse learners and emerging talent.
- Provide professional development to teachers to expand perceptions of giftedness and knowledge of advance curriculum resources, effective instructional strategies as well as lessons to promote higher order thinking
- Increase the number of teachers with a Gifted and Talented Endorsement
- Use walk-through instruments to assess classroom fidelity
- Provide modeling and coaching to project teachers on providing responsive, differentiated instruction to underrepresented, gifted students
- Project teachers work in Professional Learning Communities, at both the school and project levels, to collaboratively refine practice, review student data, and adjust instruction.
Goal 3 — Increase student readiness for gifted program participation through engagement in challenging curriculum and cluster grouping for instruction.
- Advanced curriculum and response lessons used to engage gifted students from underrepresented groups
- Students at project schools will have access to advanced learning through a two-week summer program
Goal 4 — Develop and disseminate information to educational leaders (principals, superintendents, administrators, and school council members) about Kentucky’s Excellence Gap and strategies for eliminating it by identifying and providing services for children who are gifted and talented, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented groups.
- Develop a three-part video series.
- Develop print materials
- Develop professional learning
Goal 5 — Develop tools to build state capacity to implement the Young Scholars Model and increase identification and services for diverse learners.
- Share lessons learned, create and distribute tools, and report on results via the Kentucky Gifted and Talented Advisory Council, the Kentucky Association for Gifted Education, the Kentucky Teacher newsletter, the Elementary Principal Conference, Kentucky and Jefferson County Board of Education meetings, conferences and publications.
- Post curricular and instructional resources on KDE, JCPS, and WKU webpages, with links to lesson plans, classroom videos, and other tools.
- Develop and distribute an Implementation Guide.