In the spring of 2014, Ridgecrest piloted enrichment activities based on the work of Dr. Joseph Renzulli, the developer of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM). The purpose of SEM is to give students an opportunity to apply research, critical thinking, and language arts skills while exploring personal interests. Students participating in SEM deepen content area knowledge by engaging in project based learning activities related to their areas of interest or personal strengths.
What are SEM Clusters? School-wide enrichment clusters (SEM) are made up of small groups of students who share common interests. They come together during special time blocks to research/pursue these interests with adults who share their interests and want to help students develop their talents in this area. The end goal is to produce a student created product or service that will showcase their learning to an authentic audience. Enrichment Clusters are not mini-courses.
How are the Clusters created and organized? Students are surveyed about their interests prior to the start of clusters. Teachers, parents, and other community members use this information create cluster choices. Once the cluster topics are established, students choose their top 3 choices of interest. Groups are formed and students begin to go each week for an hour to their cluster.
How often do students participate in SEM Clusters? SEM Clusters are offered twice a year, in the fall and in the spring. Clusters usually run for 8-12 weeks at a time, for an hour each week. Magnet classrooms take part in both rounds of SEM Clusters. Fall Clusters are optional for general education classrooms. All students participate in the spring SEM Clusters.