S.O.A.R. Like an Eagle

Student: Finley R.
OCS sixth grader Finley highlights the academic enrichment program.

I remember when I was accepted into our advanced learning program, S.O.A.R., and I was overjoyed, but scared, too. The teacher, Mrs. Marion Cianciolo, who is funny and caring, and the exciting activities we complete helped me to appreciate the opportunity, though. Mrs. Cianciolo assists all S.O.A.R. students in grades 1-6 to build their math and literature understanding, in addition to everyday classes. S.O.A.R happens once a week and takes the place of math and reading class for first through fifth grade and reading class only for sixth grade. It engages students in “think-outside-of-the-box" ways that all gifted kids enjoy.“ The projects are challenging, but we always have to work together and do something we love,” Sophie, a fifth-grade student, informs us. 

S.O.A.R. benefits students in many ways, such as expanding our knowledge, specifically math and literature. We learn curriculum unrelated to current classes, so we are learning double the lessons, while having ten times the fun! Mrs. Cianciolo informs us, “The goal of this program is to identify and serve gifted and high-ability students in reading and math... These activities will include, but are not limited to, brainstorming, creative problem solving, critical-thinking lessons, and higher-order thinking skills.”  

S.O.A.R. has taught students many lessons, but not just in academics. Numerous students have been pushed to think beyond normal standards to complete an activity. “It has allowed me to be in a more advanced environment, allowing me to be as smart as I possibly can,” Bernadette, a third grader, admits. These self-determination and perseverance skills have been applied to sports, helping all players keep a positive mindset. “S.O.A.R. is hard, we learn advanced curriculum, so we have to keep moving and never give up. I apply this to volleyball,” says Kate, a sixth-grade S.O.A.R. student and volleyball player.  

Mrs. Cianciolo makes S.O.A.R. loads of fun by either helping us with worksheets or giving us fun and hands-on group projects. “My favorite thing is that students engaged in learning activities that interest them, and want them to learn more about the topic. I love it when students soar beyond expectations in the classroom,” Mrs. Cianciolo adds. This reminds me of when I was in fourth grade, we completed a detective and fingerprint unit with chocolate! Emme, a sixth grader tells us, “I really like how nice and forgiving Mrs. Cianciolo is. She makes it more like a fun activity rather than a math and literature class. I like how the activities aren’t boring.” 
Our S.O.A.R. program makes Overbrook amazing because we are given the opportunity to learn more. We also have lots of fun! I know from personal experience that Overbrook students learn more than they ever could have imagined. S.O.A.R. has taught us to use our brains for challenges and our hearts to push others to try their hardest. Grant, a third grader, tells us his favorite part about S.O.A.R., “I love all the fun projects we get to do.” I hope this article allowed you to see that S.O.A.R. is a part of what makes Overbrook, Overbrook. 
4210 Harding Pike Nashville, Tennessee 37205
Phone: (615) 292–5134 Fax: (615) 783–0560