They are only in fifth grade, but these Huntington School District SEARCH program participants moved around the courtroom like seasoned professionals.
A team of Woodhull Intermediate School fifth graders in the Huntington School District’s SEARCH program captured honorable mention recognition in the Toshiba ExploraVision contest, which drew entries from K-12 students across the United States and Canada.
SEARCH was authorized by the Huntington School Board following a 1980 request from community members for a stimulating and challenging program designed specifically for students who had been identified as academically talented.
Parents wanted this program of study to take place during the child’s regular school day in order to offer an increased level of challenge not provided in regular classrooms due to the diverse set of academic abilities found there.
The differentiated SEARCH curriculum is geared to the top three to five percent of the group, using hands on, interactive experiences.
The Huntington School Board and community were involved in selecting the methods used in the identification of these children, and decided to accept the top ten percent of each grade’s population into the SEARCH (Scholastic Enrichment And Resource For Children In Huntington).
The purpose and goal of the SEARCH program was, and still is, to provide hands-on group instruction to those students achieving in the top ten percent of their grade’s population. The program continues to challenge, stimulate and provide students with a differentiated curriculum of study, involving all aspects of Bloom’s taxonomy of learning, with self-actualization being the ultimate goal.
Jessica Risalvato has been the Huntington School District’s SEARCH and Math Olympiad program teacher since August 2017.
Ms. Risalvato obtained undergraduate (sociology) and graduate (childhood special education) degrees at Fordham University in 2007 and 2008, respectively. She earned an advanced graduate certificate in gifted education at SUNY Buffalo in 2015.
Prior to her appointment in Huntington, Ms. Risalvato had been working as an elementary grade level gifted program teacher in New York City since September 2013. She earlier spent a year working as an elementary teacher at Our World Neighborhood Charter School and five years as an elementary grade teacher at Bronx Charter School for Excellence.