• Discover Center Frequently Asked Questions


    Why do gifted students come to the Discover Center?

    The Discover Center is a full day program designed to meet the learning needs of gifted students in grades 3 – 5.  Gifted students need assignments that are complex, abstract, open-ended and advanced beyond grade level expectations.  They benefit from the stimulation of interacting with highly motivated peers who have diverse learning interests. 


    How do students get to Riverdale for the gifted program if they attend Capron, Meherrin, or Nottoway?

    School division buses are available to transport gifted students to Riverdale.  A separate bus will load at each elementary school after all the buses have unloaded.  That bus will bring students to Riverdale in the morning and return students to their home school in the afternoon.


    As an alternative, parents may opt to transport their children to and from the Discover Center.  There is a place at the bottom of the emergency form for you to indicate your intentions for your child’s transportation.  Please notify me with a written note if any transportation changes are made after you turn in the emergency form.


    Will my child have gifted class on early dismissal days?

    Yes, instruction will end approximately 45 minutes prior to the end of the school day to ensure buses have ample time to return students to their home schools.


    How does my child pay for breakfast and lunch?

    Discover Center students pay the same amount for breakfast and lunch as they do at their home schools, but must bring cash or a check made out to Riverdale.  In an emergency, a meal can be charged but should be reimbursed the following week.  Students who are eligible for free or reduced priced meals at their home schools will automatically receive the same benefits at Riverdale.  The Food Services Director at the School Board Office will take care of this in our school computer system. Of course students always have the option to pack a lunch from home.  Students may also bring a small snack to eat at a designated time during the day.

    Are snacks allowed?

    Yes, each student should bring a snack that they can consume at a designated “snack time” each day.


    Will my child receive a Discover Center report card?

    A progress report will be sent home 3 times per year, usually shortly after each of the three Word Masters tests.  The progress report does not have traditional grades but does have performance indicators.  Most of our content material is above grade level and is intended to help gifted learners to stretch and grow.  Therefore, many students will find that they are not able to complete assignments and activities as quickly and as perfectly as they do in their regular classrooms.  This is fine and expected, as long as they are putting forth their best efforts!  The emphasis should be on working hard and keeping a positive attitude while tackling new and difficult challenges.


    Will students have gifted homework?

    Students are not given written homework.  They are encouraged to practice their Word Masters vocabulary both verbally and using www.quizlet.com. 


    What is Word Masters?

    The Word Masters Challenge is a national program that encourages growth in vocabulary and verbal reasoning.  Three times a year, students will receive a list of 25 challenging vocabulary words that are considerably above grade level.  Students use computers and dictionaries to find multiple definitions for each word.  Definitions are written on index cards and should be kept in students’ backpacks for practice at home and returned to class each week.


    Class time is spent practicing analogies and learning word meanings through charades, discussions, and illustrations.  We will utilize online games and study resources to prepare for the three Challenge Meets (tests).  The tests consist of 20 challenging analogies that use Word Masters vocabulary.  A perfect score of 20 is extremely rare!!


    What is Hands-On Equations?

    Hands-On Equations is an early algebra program that takes complicated equations and breaks them down into easy to understand steps using number cubes, pawns and a balance scale.  The program is introduced in 3rd grade and expanded in 4th and 5th grades.  Students progress at an individual pace and strive to complete all 26 levels before the end of 5th grade.  We have a computer program with lessons that students watch before attempting each level.  This is an excellent way for math lovers to shine!


    What is STEM?  What are STEM Challenges?

    STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.  Students’ skills in these areas are tests each week in a hands-on challenge.  Students must use critical thinking skills, creativity, communication and collaboration to solve a given problem with a given set of supplies.  This is fun and challenging for the students and often proves to be their favorite part of the day.


    Please feel free to contact Ms. Melissa Leinart with any questions you may have.  Call Riverdale at 562-3007 or send an email to mleinart@southampton.k12.va.us