Program Overview

The mission of the QUEST Program is to ensure that students have an opportunity to develop their unique gifts and talents by creating a learning environment that encourages students to:

Question the world around them
Understand the need to learn and grow
Explore the past, present, and future
Search for solutions and meanings
Think creatively and critically

quest student work

QUEST, WHPS Gifted and Talented Program, has been serving the needs of high-ability, creative, and motivated students since 1994. The program honors an individual student's social, emotional, and unusually advanced academic development by offering experiences for the integration of their ingenuity, consistency of encouragement, and the fostering of goals. Students gain a greater understanding of their creative minds and talents. Through the use of 21st-century skills, the curricula provide the opportunities for inquiry-based learning with a focus on personalized projects guided by the QUEST teacher. The individualized studies garner student’s access to experts and like-minded peers. QUEST teachers encourage students to demonstrate high-level practical skills and a capacity for creative thinking, which are tools that are instrumental in students realizing their innovative potential.

A student centered program, the principles and design of QUEST are envisioned on the Enrichment Triad Model (Renzulli, 1977), the School-wide Enrichment Model (Renzulli and Reis, 1985) and the cultivation of Talent Development (Baum, 2008). The structured inquiry-based curriculum and investigative research centers on the particular needs of students for optimal learning. Students participate in experiences of self-selected high interest targets for learning that enhance the cognitive engagement of the advanced learner. The program design features three types of creative inquiry; each one guiding the learner through a higher level of depth, complexity and independence. The levels are:

Type I Enrichment: Students are exposed to general exploratory experiences such as presentations, performances, workshops, interest development centers, etc.

Type II Enrichment: Students engage in individual, small group or classroom lessons to develop the skills and processes necessary for independent learning.

Type III Enrichment: Students conduct an in-depth independent/small group investigation based on their personal or group interests.

A student who is identified in grades 4-8 has unique individual educational and social and emotional characteristics. The responsibility of the school committee is to identify specific academic student needs that require appropriate supplementary services.

Connecticut State Regulations

The identification of gifted and talented children is required under Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) 10-76d (a) (1) which states "...each local or regional board of education shall provide the professional services requisite to the identification of school-age children requiring special education, identify each such child within its jurisdiction, determine the eligibility of such children for special education pursuant to sections 10-76a to 10-76k inclusive, prescribe suitable educational programs for eligible children, maintain a record thereof and make such reports as the commissioner may require..." 

“Gifted and Talented” means a child identified (1) possessing demonstrated or potential abilities that give evidence of very superior intellectual, creative or specific academic capability and (2) needing differentiated instruction or services beyond those being provided in the regular school program in order to realize their intellectual, creative or specific academic potential. 

CT State Department of Education on Gifted and Talented

QUEST is committed to supporting the development and implementation of services that provide the social, emotional, and developmental structures to assist students in reaching their full cognitive and creative potential. An environment is cultivated to provide personalized instruction, challenging education, research materials and technology access for all students.

QUEST Goals

  • To provide students with challenging opportunities, experiences, and resources, including roles that require hands-on authentic investigations based on student interests and intellectual curiosity.

  • To create a safe learning environment that encourages the development and demonstration of students' creative and critical thinking skills.

  • To provide opportunities for students to explore academic talents and personal interests through independent investigative work. Research is followed by the creation of advanced level products incorporating their knowledge, skill, and expertise.

  • To promote continuous growth of the professional staff in the area of gifted education, with an emphasis on ability, task commitment and creative expression.

  • To advocate among the faculty, administration, student body, parents and community for recognition of the demanding and challenging roles and responsibilities that are required to meet the needs , abilities, and interests of high ability students throughout the district.

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