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Gold Creek School. The Gold Program. The Gold Program. Umbrella over our commitment to supporting gifted and talented students Extension and enrichment opportunities all students Competitions Staff training School policy and coordinating group Recognition Structures and practice:

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Gold Creek School

The Gold Program


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The Gold Program

  • Umbrella over our commitment to supporting gifted and talented students

  • Extension and enrichment opportunities all students

  • Competitions

  • Staff training

  • School policy and coordinating group

  • Recognition

  • Structures and practice:

    • Individual Learning Plans

    • Curriculum differentiation

    • Student grouping / class placement Susan Winebrenner

    • Gifted and Talented Coordinators for each sub school


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How will Cluster Grouping work at Gold Creek School?

At every level from K to 8 there will be one or more classes into which clusters of identified gifted students will be placed.

Clusters will be of around six students in mainstream classes where the teacher has had training in curriculum differentiation. The rest of the class will be heterogeneously grouped (mixed abilities).

Other teachers at year level will also have heterogeneously mixed classes.

The identified groups will represent between around 10% of the year cohort.

Each student in the cluster will have an Individual Learning Plan (ILP)

In Year 9 and 10 students have the opportunity to be placed in ‘advanced’ or streamed classes for core and pathway subjects.


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How will the rest of the classes be constructed?

  • Students sorted into 5 groups for the purposes of class placement:

    • Gifted

    • Above Average

    • Average

    • Below Average

    • Significantly below grade level

  • Gifted students will be clustered in mainstream classes with students from groups 2 to 4.

  • All other classes at year level will have students from groups 2 to 5.

  • For the method to work there must be a critical mass of students from group 2 in each non cluster class even if this means there are no group 2 students in the cluster class.


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Definitions

‘Giftedness refers to a student’s outstanding innate ability in one or more of the following domains: intellectual creative, socio affective or sensory motor (Gagne 2007).’

‘Talent refers to outstanding performance in one or more of the following fields: academic, the arts, business, leisure, social action, sports and technology Gagne 2003).’ ACT DET Policy 2007

Mild to moderately gifted students represent between 6% to 10% of the whole student population. Profoundly gifted students represent less than 1% of the whole student population.


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How will students be accepted to the Gold Program?

Mild to moderately gifted students represent between 6% to 10% of the whole student population. Profoundly gifted students represent less than 1% of the whole student population.

The school requires two sources of nomination in writing for example, parent, teacher, student self or peer nomination.

At least three sources of evidence of giftedness, talent or a combination of both, for example IQ test indicating over 130, academic achievement in NAPLAN or competitions in the top 10% band across Australia, ACT Representative level sport, achievement in the top 5 to 10 % of age level in music or dance .

Placement decisions will be made by the Deputy Principal and Gifted and Talented Coordinator for the subschool.


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Advantages of Winebrenner Model

Cluster grouping enables students to be identified, work with like minds and be provided with planned differentiated curriculum.

With clustering the gifted child is not working alone or isolated from the rest of the class.

It enables students to be part of the mainstream and interact with year level peers.

It avoids stereotyping which sometimes goes with gifted classes.

Cluster grouping enables all students to benefit from differentiation strategies in each class.

The ‘pressure cooker’ effect which sometimes happens in gifted classes is minimised.


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Advantages continued...

This method caters for students really in the gifted range without stripping other classes of good students to make up the numbers.

Spread of abilities is reduced in each class

Teachers with expertise in Gifted and Talented education, curriculum differentiation or willingness to undertake professional development can be allocated to the cluster classes.

Students significantly below year level are often grouped together within a mainstream class with a teacher assistant and additional support.


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Conclusion

The Gold ‘Umbrella’ has opportunities for all students.

While adopting the specific clustering method described we will avoid referring to ‘Gold classes’ or ‘Gold students’.

We want to recognise and value effort and achievement from all students. Therefore we will refer to Gold achievements and programs!

The ACT Department’s Gifted and Talented Students Policy may be found at: http://www.det.act.gov.au/publications_and_policies/policy_a-z


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Cluster Grouping Questions and Answers

  • What about students gifted in one area but average in another?

  • The ILP will identify strengths and weaknesses.

  • The student can be placed in the cluster class but not necessarily given cluster allocation. The student can then work in groups within the classroom at the appropriate ability level.

  • Alternatively the student can go into a mainstream class have the opportunity to shine in their area.

What about students who move in during the year?

  • We will use the same selection criteria for identification and placement. If the cluster class is not available, the student will be placed with a teacher who has an understanding of differentiation.

  • An ILP will be developed to support the student in his/her new class.


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Cluster Grouping Questions and Answers

  • Won’t this way of grouping rob the other classes of academic strength?

  • Similar clusters are already working well.

  • Having good cohort of level 2 students in non cluster classes gives role models.

  • No, it actually allows for other able students to rise to the top.

  • Students who have never had the chance to shine now have an opportunity for leadership.

  • Schools which have adopted this way of clustering have reported increased numbers nominated for gifted clusters in subsequent years because of opportunities for other students.

Isn’t this treatment for gifted and talented students elitist?

  • Catering for gifted and talented students does not mean giving privileges to one group and withholding them from another.

  • As teachers implement good gifted and talented and differentiation strategies, all students benefit because particular learning needs are being addressed.

  • It is not fair or equitable when all students in a mainstream class are presented with the same level of difficulty.


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Cluster Grouping Questions and Answers

Won’t the gifted cluster intimidate or dominate the other students in the class?

No, when the cluster is kept to a manageable size, the general achievement for all students in the class improves.

As in any class, the teacher uses a range of strategies to ensure students take turns, have a say and work to their interests and needs.

There will still be opportunity for other groupings within the class for a range of activities.

Students throughout the class are going to have different strengths like sport, leadership, creativity etc.

Tasks in the class will not always be academic. There will be student leaders in sport, creativity and citizenship too.


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Cluster Grouping Questions and Answers

What will we do to support the teachers of classes with gifted students?

Professional development for all staff

Train the trainer with Ruth Targett and Bronwyn McLeod at start of 2009

Gifted and Talented coordinators at each sub school to assist and support teachers in developing and implementing ILPs

Provision of resources. Time

ILP and review meetings take the place of parent interviews


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Cluster Grouping Questions and Answers

What about underperforming gifted students? Do we include them in the clusters?

  • Case by case. Look at the reasons for underperformance. Carry out assessments to gather information.

  • Use the ILP process.

  • For some, cluster placement may be appropriate. Being placed with similar ability levels may turn the corner for some students.

  • For others cluster placement is not appropriate. The cluster students need to have a degree of autonomy and self motivation to carry out differentiated, challenging tasks. Giving up, not having a go or disrupting others may not help the underperforming student or others.


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Cluster Grouping Questions and Answers

How will we know the cluster classes are working for students?

Regular ongoing classroom assessment and reporting

ILP and the measurement of progress against goals

NAPLAN

ILP review meetings

Discussion with parents and students

Staff evaluation and review at end 2009


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Questions

What about students who move in during the year?

What about students gifted in one area but average in another?

Isn’t this treatment for gifted and talented students elitist?

Won’t this way of grouping rob the other classes of academic strength?

Won’t the gifted cluster intimidate or dominate the other students in the class?

What will we do to support the teachers of classes with gifted students?

What about underperforming gifted students? Do we include them in the clusters?

How will we know the cluster classes are working for students?


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