Releasing Student Talents: Acceleration and Enrichment in the School and Classroom

Each day across America, certain students sit in class unchallenged. They find the content underwhelming, wanting to move faster or delve deeper. At best, these students’ talents and interests don’t get realized. At worse, some begin to experience social and emotional needs, the byproduct of being out-of-step with their peers.

For teachers, meeting the needs of these students is understandably challenging. Classrooms typically represent a wide range of skill and achievement, and meeting the needs of all students is far harder that most give credit. Moreover, the incentives of our accountability systems encourage us to focus primarily on students the furthest behind.

This six session interactive virtual series will explore the research and practice of tapping into and releasing the talent of those students needing more acceleration and enrichment. We will explore what it means to release students' talent in a variety of learning environments as educators have been charged with re-imagining the delivery of instruction. Participants will develop a framework for understanding the needs of these students. Moreover, participants will learn tools and practices that can be applied immediately back in their classrooms and receive timely feedback to enhance their teaching practices.

This workshop is open to any and all educators, but teachers and teacher supports (coaches, professional developers, and supervisors) will likely benefit the most. 

Session Schedule and Registration

The series consists of six sessions. Upon registration, educators who want to be a part of the series are expected to join every session as their schedule dictates. The schedule and registration button for the entire series is below.

Session 1

What Do We Mean by “Talent,” and Why Does It Matter So Much?

Session 1 explores what it takes to create strong accountability partners for supporting ongoing learning. Participants will also develop an understanding of a student talents framework that can inform selection and programming. 

Date and Time: Tuesday, January 26, from 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.


Session 2

Identify Talent: How Do We Screen In Instead of Screening Out?

In this session, participants will develop an understanding of common screening strategies for gifted programming and different means to identify various forms of talent in schools. Strategies for screening for talent among students from poverty as well as from diverse ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds will also be explored.

Date and Time: Tuesday, February 2, from 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Session 3

How Do We Identify and Leverage Curriculum to Release Student Talent?

During the third session, educators will develop an understanding of how American curricular approaches get in the way of releasing talent (and passion). They'll also Identify strategies for acceleration and enrichment.

Date Held: Monday, February 15, from 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.


Session 4

Pedagogy for Releasing Talent:  Fostering a Culture of Problem Solving

Session 4 strives to help participants understand why active intellectual engagement is so critical for releasing talent. The session will also dedicate time to explore practical tools for fostering a problem-solving culture in classrooms

Date and Time: Monday, March 1, from 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Session 5

Pedagogy for Releasing Talent: Stoking the Fire

Once you have students engaged, you want to ensure they remain eager to learn. In this session, participants will learn how passion and interest fuels engagement and learning from a neuroscience perspective. They'll also develop tools for identifying and tapping into student passions

Date and Time: Monday, March 15 from 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Session 6

Pedagogy for Releasing Talent: Public Exhibitions of Learning

In this final session, participants will develop an understanding of how making learning visible fosters student agency, engagement, and reflection. They'll also identify tools and strategies for embedding public exhibitions into the day-to-day work of classrooms.

Date and Time: Monday, March 29, from 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.


Facilitator Details

Richard Lemons providing instruction

Richard Lemons, Ph.D.

Introducing Richard Lemons, Ph.D.

The series will be facilitated by Dr. Richard Lemons, the Executive Director for the Connecticut Center for School Change. Dr. Lemons brings over 25 years of experience to the Center, formerly serving as a classroom teacher, literacy coach, change coach, researcher, policy advocate and university professor. Regardless of the role, Richard’s professional career is defined by a commitment to the large-scale improvement of instruction and leadership aimed at bringing about more equitable outcomes for young people. 

He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from North Carolina State University, and master’s and doctorates in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard.  Richard co-authored Change Leadership:  A Practical Guide to Transforming our Schools with his colleagues at the Harvard Change Leadership Group. He has published numerous book chapters and articles in periodicals including KappanJournal of Staff DevelopmentASCD ExpressVoices in Urban Education (VUE), and Education Canada. Dr. Lemons also serves as a faculty member for Yale University’s Education Studies Program. In addition to working with the board to provide leadership for the Center, Richard helps facilitate the Superintendents’ Network, teaches in the annual Equity Institute and works closely with numerous district clients on strategic planning, central office transformation and capacity and coherence audits.

SCECH Availability

Up to 9 SCECHs can be earned during the series, 1.5 for each session you complete. Additional details about earning SCECHs will be shared in future communications.


Please contact Jayme Lesperance ( if you have any questions about this series.