What is the Young Scholars Program?The Young Scholars (YS) program is an academic program that embraces research-based practices for identifying and nurturing academic potential in students who have been historically underrepresented for gifted services and advanced programming. The program was originally designed and implemented in Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools’ (FCPS) in 2002. Young Scholars is one of eight nationally-recognized programs which demonstrate clear evidence of successfully supporting diverse high-ability learners.Students are considered for the Young Scholars program based on their need for:
- Access to resources and experiences that nurture their high potential
- Affirmation of their potential to develop their self-confidence and academic propensity
- Advocacy to ensure that their potential is recognized and further developed
Additionally, the Young Scholars program targets students in specific population groups due to their historic under-representation in High Potential (HP) services, Gifted & Talented (GT) services and advanced course programming.What are the Goals for the Young Scholars Program?
The long-range goal of Young Scholars is to find students with high academic potential from historically underrepresented populations at an early age, to raise their personal expectations, to support family involvement, and to prepare students for the more challenging and rigorous work of the formal High Potential Programs in later grades.How Are Students Chosen for Young Scholars?
Elementary YS specialists go into each K-3 classroom during the first third of the school year and teach lessons that are designed to help promote critical and creative thinking skills. During these lessons the classroom teacher acts as an observer and, using a specifically designed observation tool, records student observations during the lessons.
Based on these classroom observations, work samples, and test scores, students are chosen for inclusion in the YS program. Parents are notified by letter of their student’s inclusion in the program. Students are reassessed for the program each year.
What Services Do Young Scholars Students Receive?
Once identified, students work with the YS specialists in a small group setting on a regular basis. Lessons taught provide creative and critical thinking opportunities for students to question, explore, and investigate. Learning activities are also connected to students’ diverse backgrounds as well as to content taught in the regular classroom.