SOAR is Overbrook Catholic School’s new enrichment program that was started during the 2020-2021 school year by Marion Cianciolo, a 25-year teaching veteran who holds an education specialist degree in Academically Gifted. The goal of this program is to identify and serve gifted and high-ability students in reading and math with lessons and activities that go beyond those routinely taught in the classroom.
These activities will include but are not limited to, brainstorming, creative problem-solving, critical thinking lessons, and higher-order thinking skills. The reading and math curriculum used in the SOAR program is a combination of units developed for gifted learners by professors at Vanderbilt University, The College of William and Mary, and the University of Virginia. The “Jacob’s Ladder” reading program will also be utilized in the lower grades.
Another component of the SOAR enrichment program is the Math competitions for third- and fourth-grade “Math Teams.” In addition to SOAR students, these teams will include students who have high math ability or love math challenges but are not in the SOAR program. These competitions are held monthly from November to March.
Overbrook Catholic School identifies students based on the guidelines established for identifying gifted learners in the state of Tennessee. This evaluation must include assessments in three categories: Educational Performance, Creativity/Characteristics of Gifted, and Cognitive Abilities (OLSAT-8). Students at OCS are assessed with STAR reading and STAR math benchmark tests three times a year and once a year in the spring with the CTP-5 test. The results from these individual tests are compiled on a screening data form by homeroom. These forms will be used by the enrichment team to identify students who will take the group Otis Lennon School Abilities test.
The core enrichment team members are Sister Immaculata (administration), Ahn Kohls (school counselor), and Marion Cianciolo (Academically Gifted specialist). Teachers will be asked to join the enrichment team once the evaluation and identification process has concluded and their input is required for their students’ Action Plans. Parents will be asked to join informational meetings once their child has been identified. These meetings will serve to inform the parents about the program and the expectations as outlined in the Action Plan.
Students may be referred for additional screening and comprehensive evaluation via several pathways. These include both formal and informal methods, drawing on both group assessments and the professional judgment of teachers or outside agency professionals. The referral pathways fall into three types: Grade Level Screening Referrals, Direct Referrals by Teachers, and Direct Referrals by Parents or Outside Agencies.
Overbrook Catholic School, founded in 1936, is a private co-educational elementary school located on 83 acres in the heart of Nashville, TN. Learn More.