Book Review – The Schoolwide Enrichment Model

enrichmentcoverThe Schoolwide Enrichment Model – A How-to Guide for Talent Development

Joseph S.Renzulli, Ed.D. & Sally M. Reis, PhD.
Prufrock Press Inc.
available in paperback, 425 pp., PDF, bundled, or digital formats
ISBN-13: 978-1-61821-164-4

Publisher’s Description:

The Schoolwide Enrichment Model: A How-to Guide for Talent Development (3rd ed.) presents a common sense approach for helping students achieve and engage in joyful learning. Based on years of research, the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) is founded on highly successful practices originally developed for programs for gifted students. The SEM promotes “a rising tide lifts all ships” approach to school improvement by applying general enrichment strategies to all students and opportunities for advanced level follow-up opportunities for superior learners and highly motivated students. This guidebook shows educators step by step how to develop their own SEM program based on their own local resources, student population, and faculty strengths and interests. Instead of offering students a one-size-fits-all curriculum, the model helps educators look at each student’s strengths, interests, learning styles, and preferred modes of expression and capitalize on these assets. The book highlights the model’s fundamentals and underlying research and provides information about organizational components, service delivery options, and resources for implementation. The book suggests methods for engaging and challenging identified gifted students and provides practical resources for teachers using the SEM with all students.

Reviewed by Elaine S. Wiener

click here to get the PDF version of this article
Reviewing anything by Drs. Renzulli and Reis is like reviewing a perfect dissertation. It is all too flawless, too complete, and too organized. But who would want it any different?

I am not even sure that I agree with the authors’ premise: A How-to Guide for Talent Development. Measuring IQ and then calling it “talent” is so biased toward a fixed belief. On the other hand, calling the ability of children an “IQ” is probably biased in another way. We all pick our favorite philosophies…or prejudices.

On page 7, The Schoolwide Enrichment Model starts with an absolute lesson plan for how to read this book:

“…a model should include a shared mission and set of objectives.”

Yet at the same time, the Renzullis say that “We believe that the SEM [Schoolwide Enrichment Model] enables teachers to be more creative, to make choices about what is in the best interests of their students, and to have more choice in the instructional strategies they use and the curriculum they implement.”

And so I am assuming that while this book offers oh so many ideas to run a classroom, it allows teachers the ability to be creative and original.

Teachers would tell you that they love that freedom but they are too busy to always create original curriculum; therefore they welcome all the help “The Schoolwide Enrichment Model” can offer. The Table of Contents will tempt you to read every page even though this is really a compilation to be used only when needed and not usually to be read through and through. 426 pages is a huge important amount, but the Appendixes are worth the whole show!

Preface:     Your Own Creativity Is the Best Way to Get to Rome

Chapter 1.   A Vision and a Plan: The “Why” of Schoolwide Enrichment

Chapter 2.   The Four Theories Underlying the SEM

Chapter 3.   An Overview of the SEM: Focusing on Student Strengths…

Chapter 4.   Identifying Students for SEM Programs: The Talent Pool…

Chapter 5.   The Enrichment Triad Model in an SEM Program

Chapter 6.   Overview of Type 11 Enrichment: Developing Thinking…

Chapter 7.   Implementing Type 111 Enrichment: Thinking, Feeling…

Chapter 8.   The Total Talent Portfolio and Renzulli Learning System…

Chapter 9.   Curriculum Compacting and Instructional Differentiation…

Chapter 10. Implementing Enrichment Clusters for All Students…

Chapter 11. Extensions of the SEM: Reading…

Chapter 12. Renzulli and Schoolwide Enrichment Academies

Chapter 13. In Conclusion


Appendix A   Titles of Some of Our Favorite How-to Books

Appendix B   Oh, the People You’ll Meet! Writing a Biography

Appendix C   Interest-A-Lyzers

Appendix D   Total Talent Portfolio Examples

The Authors


List of Figures

The List of Figures show 81 graphs and models that will supply the reader with a lifetime of teaching aids.


ElaineElaine S. Wiener is Associate Editor for Book Reviews for the Gifted Education Communicator.

She is retired from the Garden Grove Unified School District GATE program and can be reached at


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