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 Project Based Learning Overview

Find out what's happening with our exciting Enrichment Blocks and SEM this year.

       Fifth Grade PBL Letter

                                  Fourth Grade PBL Letter

             Third Grade PBL Letter

                            Second Grade PBL Letter

      First Grade PBL Letter

                                       Kindergarten PBL Letter



Our Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) engages all MPE students in memorable activities to enhance the existing curriculum. SEM is based on a model for gifted education developed by Dr. Joseph Renzulli at the University of Connecticut. The Schoolwide Enrichment Model provides enriched learning experiences and higher learning standards for all children through three goals; developing talents in all children, providing a broad range of advanced-level enrichment experiences for all students, and providing advanced follow-up opportunities for young people based on their strengths and interests. SEM focuses on enrichment for all students through high levels of engagement and the use of enjoyable and challenging learning experiences that are constructed around students' interests, learning styles, and preferred modes of expression.

For each SEM unit, the grade level team works collaboratively to expand the required curriculum into high quality/high interest instructional plans. The model involves comprehensive, collaborative planning by teachers, specialists, administrators, and parents. Each SEM activity provides opportunities for all students to develop and communicate their skills and knowledge.

The Schoolwide Enrichment Model promotes student participation in three types of enrichment activities (Type I, Type II, and Type III) in order for students to pursue independent investigations on special topics of their interest.

Type I Learning Activities

Students are exposed to a wide variety of experiences that may or may not be available in the essential curriculum. Guest speakers, demonstrations, field trips, documentaries and other resources are available to expose students to a wide variety of disciplines, topics, occupations, and hobbies. The goal of Type I activities is to stimulate new interests that individuals or small groups of students may choose to pursue through intensive study.

Type II Learning Activities

Students learn and develop advanced research skills and thinking skills such as critical inquiry, problem solving, and creative thinking. Activities or lessons usually occur in the classroom or in small group settings. These learning activities encourage high-level thinking and reasoning skills.

Type III Learning Activities

Individual students or small groups of students engage in research investigations in an area of personal interest. These learning activities allow students to think, feel, and act like practicing professionals. Students conduct research, gather data, solve problems, and create a final product that is shared with an appropriate audience.


The Schoolwide Enrichment Model at Mountain Park Elementary is a practical model for infusing "high-end learning" into local school efforts while simultaneously challenging all students. A focus on developing student creativity and higher level thinking skills incorporates a hands-on approach to learning. The program is unique to our school based on our student population, faculty strengths and talents, and community resources. Engaging students in meaningful activities to enhance the existing curriculum is the key to the success of Mountain Park's Schoolwide Enrichment Model.

Without your generous financial support through the PTA Schoolwide Enrichment Fund contributions, SEM would not be possible. Thank you for supporting this important part of MPE’s outstanding learning experiences!

According to Joseph Renzulli (Schools for Talent Development, p. 40, 1994), "Schools should not be places where young people merely learn what is already known. Rather, they should aspire to a higher calling that includes creating a learning environment in which present knowledge is viewed as stepping stones to the creation of new knowledge, to the solutions of unsolved problems, and to invention, artistic production, and examination of ways to improve life on Earth."

In response to a letter we wrote to Dr. Joseph Renzulli describing our Schoolwide Enrichment Program, his words about our program reflect the pride we share in becoming what we are today. "For me, this is what it is all about - knowing that our work is helping educators help kids. Your letter is more rewarding to me than awards or publications or any other things that professors gauge their productivity by." (Dr. Joseph Renzulli, University of Connecticut, 1998)

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