Enrichment / Twice-Exceptional Students

A number of students come to Individual U. for enrichment studies at extraordinary levels in an environment that is sensitive to and familiar with the vulnerabilities they may possess. Some of these students have interesting areas that they wish to study and only mild learning or emotional vulnerabilities. Others, often termed “twice-exceptional students,” have dramatic learning strengths in some areas, equally dramatic learning weaknesses in others, and emotional vulnerabilities as a consequence. These students may work with Individual U. mentors to explore those subjects or fields in which they exhibit high-level aptitude or interest. In many cases, this type of work helps cultivate a spark that can lead to sustained interest in a child who is otherwise languishing.

For example, a fourth grader with good-to-average general academic skills, extraordinary ability in science, and a focused interest in dinosaurs might come to Individual U. to deepen his experience in paleontology while expanding his perspective in the sciences. His overall science enrichment might bring him into close contact with a spectrum of scientists ranging from a member of the Russian Academy of Science to a former Harvard and Rockefeller University researcher from a Nobel Prize winning laboratory. The student’s work might include an examination of great thinkers of science such as Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, Einstein, or Hawking. Current topics ranging from the “death of science” and the revelations of String Theory to the Mars rovers and “near-miss meteorites” might be explored via NASA and TERC websites, print and visual media, conversations with visiting scientists, and virtual laboratory technologies.

Another example would be an inquisitive high school math student who proposes a method for solving cubic equations to her mother. She may recognize his gift for mathematics and want to cultivate it. At Individual U., she might be paired with an MIT-educated math and physics mentor who considered the same approach in his own youth. Together they might explore topics ranging from absolute zero to special relativity and from imaginary numbers to the very real possibility of a career in Physics or Applied Mathematics.

The writing enrichment at Individual U. offers a third example. A high school student with aspirations to become a professional writer might come to the Collaborative Voices™ Program in which accomplished authors write in concert with young colleagues. He might meet with a group of 7-9 professional writers/mentors (novelists, poets, essayists, journalists, playwrights, screenwriters, editors, psychotherapists, and talented student peers) who have read samples of his existing work in advance and prepared their own responses to writing prompts. The group would then gather at Individual U. to welcome him as a colleague, fellow artist, and critic in a writing workshop.

The enrichment program also works with individual students who have achieved distinct success in their academic careers and who need to prepare for advanced standardized exams.

Of importance, twice exceptional students may also attend Individual U. in a Home School Facilitation Program, permitting them to learn an entire curriculum in a format that is individualized to their specific learning profile.