K-8 Academic Enrichment Program

The Fayetteville-Manlius K-8 Academic Enrichment Program strives to extend, enhance and enrich curriculum for all students in grades kindergarten through eight. The program differentiates curriculum and instruction for all students and strengthens critical-thinking and research skills. Collaboration among all faculty members regarding student selection and instructional design and delivery are key features and essential to the program.

Program Goals

  • Enhance the education and develop the talents of all students.
  • Develop critical-thinking and research skills.
  • Consult with teachers to meet the educational needs of high-achieving students.
  • Remain flexible to meet the needs of individual students, classrooms and building needs.

Foundational Research

The F-M K-8 Academic Enrichment Program is adapted from the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) of Dr. Joseph Renzulli and Dr. Sally Reis at the University of Connecticut’s Neag Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development.

The main focus of SEM is to apply the pedagogy of gifted education to total school improvement and to develop the strengths and talents of all students. SEM is intended to maximize unique and enriching instructional opportunities for all students and is an approach used by many schools across the country. The F-M academic enrichment program is similar to SEM in many ways:

  • Values diverse academic strengths among students.
  • Promotes high levels of achievement, creativity, motivation and respect for the uniqueness of each student.
  • Considers multiple and varied traits of highly capable students.

The F-M program supports classroom instruction by fostering collaboration and developing relationships with community partners to extend the curriculum beyond classroom experiences. It utilizes best practice techniques and integrates inquiry analysis methods into the curriculum.

Types of Service

Classroom Push-in Programs (Grades K-7)

Enrichment teachers collaborate with classroom teachers on interdisciplinary units of study that are often project-based, focusing on extending and enriching the classroom experience and student research skills.

Pull-out Programs (Grades 2-7)*

Units develop and enhance critical thinking, inquiry, and research skills.

Individual Investigation (Grade 7, optional)*

Students research a topic of interest that they then present at an Enrichment Fair.

Agents of Change (Grade 8)

Students have the option of enrolling in an elective entitled “Agents of Change.”

* students selected to receive these services

Student Selection Process

A team of administrators and teachers meets in the fall to determine which students are eligible for small group instruction. Selection is not based on any one criterion; rather the team reviews students holistically. Selection is fluid and flexible to recognize changing student needs, unit instructional focus and classroom demands.


  • Student achievement data and grades
  • Observation
  • New York State assessments
  • Classroom formative and summative assessments
  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
  • Teacher recommendations
  • Past participation and performance in the program

After a student has been identified for service, the enrichment teacher and classroom teacher(s) discuss the student’s curricular needs and plan a schedule that includes the topic to be studied as well as student expectations. Students may receive curricular extension for more than one academic subject, and some students receive the service for the entire year while others may participate for parts of the school year. Consideration may be given to individual students with unique learning needs. Students are notified in advance of the enrichment lessons, and the enrichment teacher sends a report to parents that provides an overview of the topic(s) studied and a summary of their child’s performance in the program.

Does F-M offer a Gifted and Talented Program?

No. Instead, the district offers the K-8 Academic Enrichment Program. The program strives to enrich curriculum for all students in grades kindergarten through grade eight, reflecting the district’s mission of providing an excellent education for all students.

The K-8 Academic Enrichment Program differentiates curriculum and instruction, often through project-based learning activities, while strengthening critical thinking and research skills.

Does the district advance students by grade levels or subject areas?

Because of the district wide implementation of differentiated instruction – the practice of tailoring instruction to meet students’ needs – the district no longer accelerates students in grades K-7, either in a single academic subject or an entire grade level.

Options for acceleration begin in eighth grade with high school credit bearing courses. Course offerings are outlined in the middle school course brochures. Students who may have been accelerated in the past in order to meet individual needs have been “grandfathered” under the former Advanced Curricular Topics and or Curriculum Resource enrichment programs, which have been replaced with the current K-8 Academic Enrichment Program.