• Elementary Challenge Program Description
     
    Valley View District 365U currently serves gifted/academically talented students in a self-contained program model that is housed in two of the twelve elementary schools in grades 2 through 5. In fact, the district has parents of children who were enrolled in the program during their own elementary years.

    In 2012, district administration was charged with the task of examining the elementary program and developing recommendations for improvement. At the start of the 2012-13 school year, the district hired an outside consultant to convene an elementary gifted committee. The committee membership spans Challenge parents, Board members, Challenge teachers, principals, and central office administrators. Tasks completed by the committee during year one included the development of a mission statement and a review of the research on gifted and talented.

    During the 2013-14 school year, a new consultant, Dr. Susan Schwicardi, was hired to work with the committee. Dr. Schwicardi proceeded to conduct a thorough program evaluation of the elementary Challenge program while working with the committee to conduct a more formalized review of the research on gifted programming for elementary students. The committee remained active during the 2014–15 school year. The committee examined gifted/talented programs that are currently operating in Woodridge District 68, Naperville District 203, and Indian Prairie District 204. The districts were chosen based on proximity to Valley View School District 365U, similar demographic data and/or size, and the type of programs offered. The comprehensive audit of the Challenge program included parent, teacher, and administrator focus groups, interviews, classroom observations, data analysis, review of the research, review of the curriculum, and the investigation of elementary gifted programming from other districts.