Enrichment Opportunities

  • There is an array of enrichment opportunities available within the district. Below is a summary of each. These opportunities are meant to enhance the core curriculum, not replace the curriculum. These programs are not, in and of themselves, gifted services and should not be included on the Written Education Plan.  Possibilities will vary across the district, as each school principal and staff may elect which enrichment opportunities they will provide to students based on school priorities and students interest. Gifted Resource Specialists are available to assist classroom teachers with embedding enrichment programs into the regular classroom instruction where possible, and other staff or parents may choose to run any of the programs as extracurricular options.  
    Sample Programs

    Breakfast of Science Champions at OSU: The Ohio State University invites CCS students in grades 6 through 8 to participate in laboratory experiments while enjoying a visit to the local campus. University departments team up with teachers to provide pre-visit experiences and post-visit experiences either at the school face to face or via Skype. The experiences can be tailored to complement the Columbus City Schools’ classroom pacing guides or standards.

    Chess: Elementary, middle, and high school students learn, play and compete at chess tournaments occurring in schools, between schools and at local tournaments. Competitions occur at two district-wide tournaments for elementary, a middle school tournament, and a multi-event high school league. Top players may receive advanced instruction to prepare them for state and national tournaments. The High School league occurs in winter, Middle tournament is held in February, and the Rookie and Elementary School tournaments in May.

    Debate: Columbus students in grades 5 through 8 participate in 4-person policy debate teams. Topics are assigned in the fall. Students research the topic, organize their data, and outline strategies defending their positions. CCS students will debate in in the winter and again in the spring at Capital University. There will be a different topic for each debate. The teams will be judged and receive awards based on their performance. Each school may bring up to 2 four-person teams. This event is hosted and run by Capital University and Dr. Koch, Communications Professor of and Director of Capital University Debate Team.

    Destination Imagination: Students in grades K through 12 form teams of 2 to 10 for this problem-solving competition. The team researches and designs a creative solution and presentation to a selected challenge and presents that design at a regional competition. The team also participates in an instant challenge at the competition to test on-the-spot creative thinking skills. Winning teams may advance to state, national, or world competitions.

    Fantastic Fridays at CSCC: Columbus State Community College invites CCS students to participate in laboratory experiments while enjoying a visit to the local campus. Fantastic Fridays allows students in grades 6 through 8 to experience age appropriate hands-on laboratory activities. The experiences can be tailored to complement the Columbus City Schools’ classroom pacing guides or standards.

    First LEGO League Robotics: FIRST LEGO League® has regional and state FLL competitions in Ohio for students in grades 4 through 8. The challenge is announced in September, and student teams have eight weeks to design, strategize, build and program a robot to complete as many missions on the playing field as possible within two and a half minutes. In addition, student teams must make a research presentation about the science behind the challenge theme, and a technical presentation about their strategy for designing, building and programming their robot. Judges evaluate these presentations and the teamwork effort demonstrated by each team. Students compete at regional competitions in December.

    Invention Convention: Students in grades K through 8 interact in this creative problem-solving, scientific inquiry activity during which each student invents a new product. The students’ inventions are displayed during a group gathering called a convention. A student’s invention may advance to state and national conventions. The district-wide Invention Convention for elementary and middle school students is held in March at Aladdin Shrine Center.

    JA Biztown: Fourth through sixth grade students participate in an 8-week economics unit in class based on lessons from the Junior Achievement of Central Ohio. The unit ends with a daylong visit to JA Biztown, a simulated city where students role play as members of a market economy.

    Laws of Life Writing Tournament: Students in middle or high school write a personal essay in response to the prompt in this competition sponsored by the Better Business Bureau Center for Character Ethics. Select entries from the local competition are submitted to the state competition, where students can potentially earn cash awards.

    Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory: Students develop public speaking skills and self-confidence through this opportunity. Elementary, middle, and high school students may participate in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Essay and Oratorical Contests held in December and January. It is sponsored by the City of Columbus and includes local and state levels of competition.

    Math Counts: This is a national program for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students that focuses on problem solving and higher-level math problems. There is a four-person team and/or individual competition. This competition begins in October at the classroom or school level then advances to a regional competition in February at Columbus State Community College. Students that finish in the top sixteen at the regional will advance to the state with the opportunity to advance to the national competition.
    Math Olympiad: This is a national program for students in grades 4 through 8 that focuses on problem solving and higher-level math problems. Students compete as part of a team of up to 35 students by individually completing written challenges at the school. This competition runs from November through March. Awards are granted to top scoring teams.

    Math Showcase - Elementary: This local team competition for students in grades 3 through 5 math classes focuses on problem solving strategies. Rounds include mental math, word problems, logical reasoning, and a spatial challenge. Each building may send a team of students to the event, which occurs in the early spring. Team trophies will be presented to the top teams.

    Math Showcase – Middle School: This local team competition for students in grades 6 through 8 math classes focuses on problem solving strategies. All in the Mind round is based on each individual’s ability to process math problems mentally without use of calculators or paper. The other two rounds, Bundle and Relay, involve team collaboration. Each building may send a team of 4 students to the event, which occurs in the spring. Team trophies will be presented to the top teams.

    Mock Trial: Students in grades 6 through 12 form prosecution and defense teams who then build a case based on a middle school novel. Students develop opening and closing arguments as well as witness questions. Witness statements are created by the Ohio Center for Law Related Education. The competition against other Ohio schools is usually held in April.

    National Geographic Geography Bee: Students in grades 4 through 8 have the opportunity at the classroom level to participate in either a written or oral competition to test geographic literacy. To better understand relationships and patterns on the Earth, students must answer questions based on the five themes of geography focusing on absolute and relative location of places around the world, human impact on the environment, movement, and regions. Each student takes a geography test through his or her social studies class. Students that qualify from the classroom level advance to the grade and/or school level competition. The school winner takes a written test that is submitted to National Geographic to be scored. The top one hundred scores in the state advance to the state level competition usually held in late March or early April. The state winner advances to the national competition in Washington, D.C. in May.

    Power of the Pen: Seventh and eighth grade students compete in this writing opportunity which offers district, regional and state competitions. This competition includes three narrative writing rounds. Students are given a prompt in which they are to write about for forty minutes. The top 15 writers (combined scores from the three rounds) will receive awards for each grade level. The four schools with the highest combined writing scores will receive a trophy. The top fifty percent of the field will advance to the regional competition in March. The various competitions are held February through May.

    Project Citizen: Project Citizen is a civic education program for grades 5 through 12 designed to develop interest in public policymaking as well as the ability to participate competently and responsibly in state and local government. There is a showcase in May.

    Spelling Bee: Students in grades K through 8 compete in spelling bees to increase vocabulary as well as to understand the meanings and origins of various words. Classroom spelling bees will begin in December and conclude with the school bee in early February, which determines eligibility to compete in the preliminary rounds of the regional spelling bee through the Scripps program. School winners will also go to the district spelling bee. The district spelling bee has no impact on the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

    TEDx Columbus Youth: Columbus students in grades 3-5 work with coaches to develop a 4-minute TEDTalk narrative offering their perspective on an assigned theme.  Select student present their TEDTalk to an audience of their peers from around the district each February.

    We the People: This program developed and supported by OCLRE (Ohio Center for Law Related Education) encourages students to learn the Constitution of the United States to better understand their rights and responsibilities as a U.S. citizen. A team of students in middle or high school attends a showcase in May to demonstrate their knowledge.

    Youth For Justice: Youth for Justice is a locally designed, planned, and implemented program in which Ohio students in Grades 3 through 12 spend time researching the problems of injustice in their schools and communities, then design solutions and action steps. Teams of students are invited to participate in a Summit in Columbus each spring.