U-STARS~PLUS (Using Science, Talents, and Abilities to Recognize Students ~ Promoting Learning for Underrepresented Students) is an instructional framework that empowers teachers to provide environments which nurture the intellectual and emotional well-being of young children (Grades K-3) who may be overlooked due to poverty, cultural/linguistic differences, and/or disabilities. U-STARS~PLUS provides high quality science and literature instruction using 32 popular children's books, allowing teachers to respond to children's strengths with challenging, advanced educational experiences. In addition, U-STARS~PLUS extends learning into the home, engaging families in meaningful ways to support a child's academic success. Co-published with the Council for Exceptional Children in partnership with The Association for the Gifted.
Teachers can use U-STARS~PLUS TOPS Folders as a tool to help systematically observe and recognize children who have outstanding potential and who may be gifted. TOPS Folders engage teachers to make intentional and purposeful observations so that those observations can be used to provide more effective instruction and focus on individual strengths, thus reinforcing the "at-potential" mindset. TOPS Folders are organized around nine domains; learns easily, shows advanced skills, displays curiosity and creativity, has strong interests, shows advanced reasoning and problem solving, displays spatial abilities, shows motivation, shows social perceptiveness, and displays leadership.