Ascent Academies of Utah (AAU) network of schools combines the Schoolwide Enrichment Model’s (SEM) research-based strategies with the Core Knowledge Sequence and instructional methods aligned to the Utah Core Standards in order to provide students throughout the network with engaging learning opportunities; this network of schools was specifically designed to:
It is the unique combination of SEM, Core Knowledge, and strong professional learning communities that sets AAU apart from other schools. Both SEM and Core Knowledge recognize the need for high academic standards, equity in education, and strategies and content that promote learning for all students.
AAU’s academic program is grounded in the following elements:
Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM)
The Schoolwide Enrichment Model is described by Dr. Renzulli, its founder, as a detailed blueprint for total school improvement that allows each school the flexibility to develop its own unique programs based on local resources, student demographics, and school dynamics as well as faculty strengths and creativity. Although this research-based model is founded on highly successful practices that originated in special programs for the gifted and talented students, its goal is to promote both challenging and enjoyable high-end learning across a wide range of school types, levels and demographic differences.
Ascent Academies of Utah utilizes the Core Knowledge Sequence as its base curriculum as well as additional research-based programs and curriculum that support the mission and vision. The sequence places a strong emphasis on mastering fundamental skills and concepts as well as ensuring a common knowledge of the history, contributions traditions and perspectives of other cultures in society.
The Core Knowledge Sequence is predicated on the realization that what children are able to learn at any given moment depends on what they already know and, equally important that what they know is a function of previous experience and teaching. Explicit identification of what children should learn at each grade level ensures a coherent approach to building knowledge across all grade levels (Core Knowledge website, 2012).