Interest Development Early Abilities: A Javits K-2 Nurturing Program funded by the United States Department of Education 2004-2009, Transforming Education for the 21st Century Learner

Project Bright IDEA 2 was designed as an integrated approach to transforming the classroom for kindergarteners, first and second graders into a vibrant community of learners and problem solvers. This unique K-2 research model, funded by the Javits Program of the United States Department of Education, was designed and implemented by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the American Association for Gifted Children at Duke University in response to a legislative mandate to increase the number of gifted children from underserved populations into gifted and academically challenging programs. Based on the success of Project Bright IDEA 1, a pilot intervention program for closing the achievement gap, Project Bright IDEA 2 was awarded the grant to “upscale” the program to more schools and to research the impact on gifted programs from underserved populations.

Bright IDEA Goals

Project Bright IDEA 2 had four goals:

  1. to scale-up the activities of Bright IDEA 1 toward increasing the number of gifted students from underserved populations via changing the dispositions and capacity of teachers to wisely use curricula tailored to teaching those students;
  2. to study the extent to which such activities increase the number of third grade students from underrepresented populations who enroll in gifted programs;
  3. to advance the quality of these students’ meta-cognitive and cognitive skills;
  4. to create a research-based multi-dimensional, pre-identification model for gifted intelligent behaviors (GIB’s) based on the Costa and Kallick’s “Habits of Mind” and on Frasier’s “Traits, Attributes and Behaviors”.

Bright IDEA 2 began in kindergarten and tailored gifted methodologies for regular classroom teachers to use with all children. Bright IDEA 2 was built on the most advanced research and best practices and focused on empowering regular classroom teachers, principals and curriculum specialists, through training and mentoring, to become curriculum architects for the future. Participants were trained to design interdisciplinary, concept-based curriculum units consistent with state standards, infused with Building Thinking Skills and Gifted Intelligent Behaviors, and to change their dispositions and classroom environments to meet the learning styles and needs of all students.

Bright IDEA 2 students were challenged to use the full range of their talents and intellectual abilities as they address authentic and complex academic tasks. The program built upon and extended the North Carolina Standard Course of Study through rigorous concept-based integrated learning tasks and a research-based thinking skills program. Bright IDEA 2 teachers and principals created scholarly environments that engaged students actively and consistently in sophisticated investigations of materials, texts, and in learning tasks that required them to understand and apply critical and creative processes that were quite advanced for K-2 students. Students were engaged in centers designed around multiple intelligences with task rotations integrated with four major learning styles.

Final Report Bright Idea 2