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Minidoka County elementary students are fostering talents through new enrichment program
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Minidoka County elementary students are fostering talents through new enrichment program

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Lanier

Acequia Elementary School teacher Kendra Lanier hands out motorized bus during an engineering enrichment program class on March 3.

RUPERT — Minidoka County elementary school principals are carving out time for students to explore interests and talents that pique their interest through a new enrichment program this year.

The evidence-based enrichment program started at Heyburn Elementary School and has expanded to the other schools in the district with each principal choosing how students participate, said Suzette Miller, director of secondary student achievement for the district.

Heyburn Principal Danelle Stutzman said the program gives the students an opportunity to interact with peers and teachers they normally wouldn’t encounter.

“It’s all about forming those connections with other grade level peers and teachers they wouldn’t ordinarily see,” Stutzman said.

Stutzman said the program also gives the students something to look forward to each week.

Heyburn offers the program to grades 3-5 and hopes to expand it to other grades next year.

At Rupert Elementary School, the program is used for students who qualify as gifted and talented, although other students participate at teachers’ requests, Principal Angela Chandler said.

Paul Elementary School Principal Ellen Austin said the school holds periodic school-wide days for enrichment activities with fifth grade participating in chess enrichment and gifted and talented classes held twice a month.

Drawing

Acequia Elementary School teacher Jaclyn Crane teaches basic drawing during an enrichment class at the school.

Acequia teacher Kendra Lanier, who is the coordinator for the school’s gifted and talented program, said it has been wonderful to offer the program to all the students at the school.

The school has a late bus schedule and other parents had to agree to pick up students later on one day a week to accommodate the new program from 3 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Everyone has been enthusiastic about the program, said Principal Heather Hepworth.

The students choose their top three options that spark their interest, like dog training, engineering, basic drawing, cooking or dance classes. They rotate classes every six weeks.

The classes help develop talent and foster critical thinking, Lanier said.

Class

Acequia Elementary School teacher Kendra Lanier's enrichment program engineering class studies a maze on March 3 at the school.

Sixteen students in Lanier’s engineering enrichment class sat on the floor hunched over a yellow board with a maze built on top as eight motorized bugs zoomed around course.

All remained attentive and invested in how well the bugs navigated through the tunnels and turns.

“You see that talent development happening,” she said.

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