4th & 5th Grade Enrichment

What is the purpose of the Challenge Program?

Holland Public Schools recognizes the unique academic needs of all learners. This includes providing appropriate challenges for students with advanced capabilities. At Holland High our extensive Advanced Placement course offerings and dual-enrollment options allow our students access to additional challenges. Holland Middle School will offer a variety of advanced classes for 6th through 8th graders. In the fall of 2018, our restructured K-5 schools will feature the Challenge Program for academically advanced 4th and 5th grade learners.

What are the requirements for students to participate in the Challenge Program?

Entry into the Challenge Program is based on a combination of scores from the STAR Reading and STAR Math assessments as well as input from classroom teachers. Students scoring at or above the 86th percentile on either STAR Reading or STAR Math with a score no lower than the 80th percentile on the other test are invited to take part in the program.

Where and when does the Challenge Program take place?

The program is offered at all 4 of the K-5 schools (West, Heights, Jefferson, and HLA). It is a “Pull-Out” program in that students will leave their general ed classrooms several times a week for Challenge Program instruction. Each building has a designated instructional space for the program although at times the classroom will be used for other programs as well.

Describe the the classroom experience for students in the Challenge Program:

Students in the Challenge Program work on cross-curricular projects, academic competitions, and develop their cognitive abilities in a rigorous and engaging setting. The program’s focus is on collaboration, problem-solving, and creative thinking through high quality project-based learning experiences.

Will the Challenge Program require students to do additional work or homework?

Rather than doing MORE work, the program is focused on students having an opportunity to engage in DIFFERENT work. The projects are designed to primarily occur in class. However, students may, at times, commit to completing some important project components outside of class due to time constraints and/or additional resources that may be available at home. Work missed from the regular ed classroom while participating in the Challenge Program will be made up at the discretion of the classroom teacher. Classroom teachers are encouraged to limit makeup work to the essentials and short reviews whenever possible.

Who will be the instructor for the Challenge Program?

The Challenge Program will be facilitated by Ryan Harrell. Ryan is moving to this position after spending the last 7 years teaching 8th grade at Holland Early College. Prior to his time at HEC, Ryan was the lead instructor for the former HPS Gifted & Talented Program. He has a M.A.Ed. in Educational Differentiation from Grand Valley State University and a strong background in project-based learning (PBL). Ryan’s passion for PBL and challenging young learners is greatly influenced by his summer position as the Waterfront Director at Adirondack Camp in upstate New York. He spends his summers there along with his wife and 4 boys.

My child was selected for the Challenge Program but does not want to participate. Is the program mandatory?

The Challenge Program is not mandatory but we feel that it is an essential educational experience for high achieving students. Should you decide not to participate in the Challenge Program, please arrange to meet with your child’s classroom teacher and Mr. Harrell to determine the best course of action.

Will students miss specials in order to participate in the Challenge Program?

Scheduling across 4 different buildings is very difficult. We’ve done our best to try to avoid conflicts with specials, but in a few cases a student may miss all or part of a special.

Will Mr. Harrell be available for conferences?

During K-5 conference times Mr. Harrell will be available. He will communicate his open times and locations to parents.

Contact Information:

Ryan Harrell4/5 Challenge Program FacilitatorHolland Public Schools email Mr. Harrell

Challenge Program's website