One of the responsibilities of a Board of Trustees is to provide for the special needs of gifted and talented students. Recently I asked two members of our senior leadership team, Mrs Lal and Mrs Kilpatrick to attend a conference which provided new perspectives on this important area of our curriculum. As a result we will be reviewing our existing programmes in 2019 and introducing some modifications which will be trialled early next year.
The review will include:
- A shared definition and understanding of the phrase “gifted and talented”;
- A clear and comprehensive identification process of gifted and talented students;
- The modification of curriculum opportunities for gifted and talented students.
It is pleasing to note that we already have a well established programme for GATE students which include the accelerate class in year 9 and 10, a large number of extra curricular activities (4 Cornerstones) and a number of Extension courses within the DEEP programme which give students the opportunity to develop their gifts and talent in a number of areas.
I wish to signal a trial for Year 8 students next year. Current Year 7 students who will be identified as gifted or talented by teachers, themselves and parents will remain in their whānau in 2019 but come together for inquiry learning in 2 hour sessions with specially selected teachers. We wish to see the benefits of this model compared to our traditional model of moving identified students into one class within a whānau in Year 9 and 10.
Invitations to be considered for the 2019 Year 9 accelerate class have been sent to parents and this class will proceed as before. The class is rotated around the school and it will be Forest Whānau’s turn to accommodate the class next year. The Year 10 class will continue as before in Water Whānau.
Our gifted and talented students already enjoy a great deal of support and success at the school in a variety of ways ranging from Academic Competitions, STEM related challenges, cultural performances, sporting activities and leadership forums. Our intention is to broaden these opportunities so that even more students are able to experience this level of performance and involvement.
Growing greatness/Kia mana ake!