Thursday, 7 September 2017

Links to our local College

At this time of year those with year 6 students will be enrolling them at Intermediate and Colleges. I have had queries from a few of you about provision for gifted and talented students at our local school, Whangaparaoa College. So I asked their GATE coordinators - Aleisha Hazlewood and Michele Duggan.

Here is what Aleisha sent me:

The provisions currently available at Whangaparaoa College include:

·         Withdrawal groups (1 hour per week) for gifted learners in Year 7 and 8. Each term we focus on accelerating different skills including literacy skills, numeracy skills, and scientific/problem solving skills. We plan on using science badges next term.
·         We are also providing a withdrawal programme for our gifted visual artists in Year 7. They will be illustrating the stories written by our gifted writers. This will be published in a book at the end of the year.
·         We have a separate gifted programme for Mathematics. Learners attend weekly on Friday mornings before school with one of our subject specialist teachers – David Godfrey. He focuses on extending their mathematical problem solving skills as well as acceleration when needed.
·         Code club with Gary Mueggenburg after school on Thursdays.
·         EPro8 competition with Gary Mueggenburg (engineering and problem solving).
·         Mathex from years 7 – 10. The Year 7 and 8 Mathex programme includes weekly practices over the course of Term 2.
·         For those learners interested in social justice issues (particularly relevant for those sensitive learners who worry about issues going on in the world) Erin Lowry and I run Justice League. We open this up to year 7 and 8 learners every few weeks.
·         Our gifted Maori and Pasifika learners (as identified using Maori and Pasifika definitions of giftedness) are catered for with opportunities to lead in kapa haka. We also make the most of opportunities run by external organisations that develop leadership skills, such as the Sisters United Conference that’s coming up in October.
·         At a senior level, gifted learners develop leadership skills through Prefect and House Leader roles. They are given opportunities to participate in Model United Nations conferences, lead the 40 Hour Famine, and the Justice League group. Many of our gifted leaders also take part in the Duke of Edinburgh programme.
·         Learners who are gifted in music/art/drama/dance are extended through opportunities run by the specific departments in those areas.
·         Those gifted in sporting abilities have ample opportunities to excel through our sports department. I can send you through more details about our gifted learners in sports later.
·         Debate club is run through the English department.
·         Michele Duggan still runs a Shakespeare club.

There are many more extracurricular activities that come up during the year that are open for our gifted learners to take part in. In addition to this;

·         We will be starting the Ethics Olympiad later this year.
·         We are in the process of planning a gifted and talented ‘club’ which will provide opportunities for gifted learners to get together with like-minded peers and socialise. We plan on having a tuakana-teina approach to this so that some of our senior learners can help mentor the younger ones.
·         Acceleration is used on a case by case basis when necessary.
·         Each teacher is expected to differentiate for their gifted learners’ needs.

In terms of next year and subsequent years, we are moving to a cluster group model for our gifted learners. There’s plenty of research that shows this model can help meet the social and learning needs of our gifted learners (and we will be continuing all the other methods outlined above e.g. withdrawal groups, extracurricular activities etc.). Palmerston North Intermediate School has successfully implemented this model. As far as I know, any streamed classes that are already in existence are continuing on and being phased out over time.

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