CLICK HERE to make a donation to the Excellence Fund Online

What is SEM?
Click here to watch our SEM informational video
Laurel Mountain Elementary (LME) cultivates the individual gifts and talents of every child through the implementation of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM). This enrichment program is embedded in all classrooms and practiced every day by every student.
SEM provides teachers with tools and methods that support their ability to:

  • discover your child’s preferred learning style,
  • focus on each child’s individual strengths,
  • emphasize self-esteem, and
  • encourage independent critical thinking.

Using this innovative educational philosophy, our teachers and staff create learning experiences that engage our children in challenging, meaningful and appealing instruction based on their strengths, interests and talents.

Our children thrive in this environment. Achievement levels grow, motivation increases, and self confidence is enhanced. This results in children who are excited about learning and have confidence to make a positive difference in our world. This is what sets Laurel Mountain and our students apart.
Our adoption of and commitment to these practices has won our school numerous recognitions and awards. Click here to download our 2016-17 SEM brochure for more information.

The SEM components that affect your child in the classroom every day include:

  • Outdoor learning in the 3rd Grade Longhorn Garden, LME Edible Garden and the LME Nature Preserve
  • Independent Investigative Method (IIM): Research model utilized in all grade levels with individuals, small groups and/or whole classes.
  • Compacting Math Enrichment: When students demonstrate a level of proficiency on a pre-assessment focusing on a specific math concept, they are allowed to exchange instructional time for accelerated and/or enriched work relating to the math concept being taught in class. (Grade level varies.)
  • KIDS Kits: A collection of resources organized by students’ interests – 25 different topics available for check-out by teacher.
  • PRIDE Portfolio: Includes Interest Survey, Learning Style Survey, Enrichment Cluster Reflections, PRIDE Pieces and Student Talent Development Action Record which is updated every school year.
  • Service Learning Projects: A teaching strategy through which students apply what they’re learning in school to identify, research and address community needs.
  • Special Speakers and Community Resources: Invited professionals that share world experiences with students and staff on a variety of topics in specific areas of interests.
  • Professional Development for Staff: Includes training, workshops and resources for all teachers.
  • Collaboration Resource for Teachers and Students: Our Enrichment Coordinator partners with staff and teaches on a regular basis in the classroom.
  • Enrichment Clusters: Small, student-driven groups which focus on specific interests offered in all grade levels for 6-8 weeks at a time. About fifty different clusters were offered in the 2014-2015 school year.
  • Enrichment Slot (E-Slot): Special topics or projects, based on student interests, occur every Friday from 8:00-9:00 am for all students.

2014-15 SEM Accomplishments

“What is SEM?” Prezi Overview

Contact Our Enrichment Specialist:

Nicole Levitan, 512-464-4384, Blog

Enrichment Clusters provide our students the opportunity to pursue an interest in a small group setting.

4th and 5th grade:

2nd and 3rd grade:

  • Enrichment Clusters from Jan. 8-Feb. 26th
  • Enrichment Cluster Showcase on March 4, 2016
  • 2nd and 3rd grade Enrichment Cluster Descriptions  (coming in December)

Kindergarten and 1st grade:

  • Enrichment Clusters from April 1-May 6th
  • Kinder & 1st Grade Cluster Descriptions (coming in March)

2014-15 Enrichment Cluster Descriptions:


CLICK HERE to make a donation to the Excellence Fund Online

Investing in the Future

SEM provides a first-rate academic experience and the foundation for our children’s education by emphasizing their interests, increasing knowledge and gaining an understanding of how the community and world works. The value for the parent also is quite significant. Parents now have a variety of resources and tools to understand and motivate their child. Knowing their child’s interests and preferred learning styles provides a wonderful framework to encourage endless learning opportunities together.

The Student Enrichment Model is funded exclusively by parent donations and corporate matching through the LME Excellence Fund. Our fundraising goal is $70,000 per year and we’re fortunate to have 80% of our families financially support the SEM Excellence Fund last year (2014-15). When you break down the budget for the School Wide Enrichment Model, it costs approximately $100/year per child with 100% family participation. The money raised during our Excellence Fund Campaign provides for:

  • the salary of our Enrichment Coordinator
  • learning resources for daily curricular activities in the classrooms
  • learning resources for Enrichment Clusters
  • technology needs (computers, cameras, etc.)
  • professional development for our staff

Only with the support from our parents and community are we able to create this unique learning environment where every child thrives and succeeds. As parents, you can support SEM with your time, talents and treasure.

Contribute to the Excellence Fund
Laurel Mountain’s Excellence Fund provides the financial resources that allows us to implement our SEM program. Please download our SEM brochure for more information regarding donations and levels of giving.

Volunteer to Share your Passion
Students learn best when they are engaged and passionate about their work. Consider volunteering some of your time to share your passions with our students. We are always looking for new and interesting ideas to share with them, so fill out a parent resource survey to let us know what you are interested in. Feel free to contact Nicole Levitan directly if you would like to propose an idea for an enrichment cluster or enrichment activity. You can also volunteer to be an assistant facilitator during an enrichment cluster and simply provide an extra set of helping hands to the teacher or facilitator. This is a great way to see SEM in action while developing your own passions.

Other Ways to Volunteer
Contact your child’s teacher to see how you can help out in an E-Slot activity. You can also contact Nicole Levitan to volunteer to be on the SEM Parent Action Committee or inquire how your your individual talents can be best used to serve.

2016-2017 Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) Goals

  • Type III Learning Lab: Mrs. Levitan will create an opportunity during the school day for students to pursue a Type III project, or Passion Project. According the Dr. Renzulli and Dr. Reis, Type III Enrichment activities are individual or small group investigations of real problems based on students interests and skills with the aim to produce a product for real audiences.
  • PRIDE Portfolios: This year, we will be adding in a learning style inventory to help both the teacher and the student in the classroom.
  • Differentiation through Intervention: This year, Mrs. Levitan will differentiate instruction for students who need more academic support. She will be working with Mrs. Kaplan and Mrs. Jackson of the Rocket Room.  Her goal is to focus on the students’ interests and learning styles while reinforcing the academic concepts taught in the classroom.
  • The Schoolwide Enrichment Model Reading Framework (SEM-R): According to the Neag School of Education, SEM-R is an enrichment-based reading program designed to:
    • Stimulate interest in and enjoyment of reading
    • Promote and develop higher reading achievement
    • Improve self-regulation and automaticity in reading
    • Encourage students to select high-interest books that are slightly to moderately above their current reading levels
    • Create independent, lifelong readers
  • Enrichment Team (E-Team): This year, the Enrichment Team will be comprised of representatives from each grade level who have attended Confratute. This team will be the liaison between Mrs. Levitan and the teachers.  They will help facilitate the growth of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model and be an advocate for its’ continued development at our school.

We will continue to grow in the following areas already in action at LME:

  • Independent Investigative Method (IIM): The Independent Investigative Method (IIM) of research will continue in all grade levels K-5. We will continue to focus on increasing the level of questioning in the students’ research questions by focusing on Bloom’s Taxonomy and Kaplan’s Depth and Complexity Model.  We will increase the quality of authentic products by focusing on what professionals would make who work in the field of study.
  • Differentiation in the Classroom: Mrs. Levitan will help in various classrooms during math and language arts to provide differentiation support in a variety of grade levels. She will work alongside the classroom teacher to help differentiate instruction and work with small groups of students.  Based on their academic needs, she will either enrich or provide more support within the curriculum.
  • Collaboration and Resource: Mrs. Levitan collaborates with teachers in a variety of areas, such as IIM, service learning, enrichment clusters, enrichment slot activities, differentiation, and more.  This helps LME to reach all of our diverse learners.
  • PRIDE Portfolios: The major purposes of the PRIDE Portfolios are:
    • To collect several different types of information that portrays a student’s strength areas, and to regularly updates this information.
    • To periodically review and analyze student work in order to make purposeful decisions about providing opportunities for enrichment experiences in the regular curriculum, the enrichment clusters, and the continuum of special services.
    • To use the information as a vehicle for educational, personal, and career counseling and for communicating with parents about the school’s talent development opportunities and their child’s involvement in them.
    • This year, we will continue to work towards giving students’ ownership of the PRIDE Portfolios. The PRIDE Portfolios will provide a time for students to reflect on work and create a collection of the students’ talents and strengths.
  • Enrichment Clusters: In grades K-5, students will continue to participate in Enrichment Clusters for 6-8 weeks. We offer a wide variety of topics based on student’s interests. We work towards more student driven clusters guaranteeing that each enrichment cluster round is different, since the students participating are different.  Furthermore, we will work on developing more student driven authentic products and services by focusing on what would the enrichment cluster look like in the “real world”.
  • Enrichment Cluster Tours: Enrichment Cluster Tours are for parents and interested community members. These tours allow our parents and guests to witness enrichment clusters in action.
  • Enrichment Cluster Showcases: Students will continue to be the docents for the displays from their enrichment cluster showcases.  They will share what they accomplished and learned during their enrichment cluster.  This provides a more authentic experience for the parents and guests.  But most importantly, it provides an authentic experience for our students.
  • Parent and/or Community Experts: We utilize parent and/or community experts to assist with enrichment, enrichment clusters and/or Enrichment slots (E-slots) taking place in the classroom.
  • Communication: We communicate with parents and community through the LME website, E-news, SEM blog, Twitter, Instagram, emails and Parent University classes.