The 2003 CHIP EXPO was held last Saturday at The CHIP Centre in Windsor, Victoria.
The topic was "CHIP kids in school". Three Primary Schools and two Secondary Schools were invited to present their models of gifted education. Different models were sought in the invitation process, and time for questions was provided.
An exhibition of Resource and Service Providers was also present.
A brief summary of the presentations follows.
Primary School Panel
- Camelot Rise PS Speaker: Joan Fary, Principal
Joan talked about the differentiated curriculum at the heart of teaching practices at Camelot Rise. All children need to work at a level appropriate to their abilities, and all children need to develop as well rounded individuals. Gifted children are included in this philosophy, and their special needs are recognised within the regular classroom situation. This includes pre-testing of children when new topics are presented, and providing activities suitable to their current knowledge level. Many support programs are in place throughout the school, such as ongoing bully-buster training for students, teachers and parents, buddies for preps, peer support for middle school, team teaching, clubs for special interests, and integration of different learning and teaching styles into the curriculum.
- Mont Albert PS Speaker: Narelle, Challenge and Opportunity Co-ordinator
As a psychologist, Narelle is in charge of a specialist program at Mont Albert PS. Twelve top achieving students from each grade level attend a challenge and opportunity class once a week to work on a specific project. The topic is unrelated to current regular classroom curriculum and encompasses many different learning styles. The students are nominated by teachers on a term by term basis.
Unfortunately, the funding for this program will not be available next year. Narelle is currently working with classroom teachers to incorporate her program into the regular classroom, and to distribute her large collection of resources appropriately.
- Boronia Heights PS Speaker: Christine Lee-Archer, Leading Teacher in Extension and Enrichment
Boronia Heights PS has worked with its cluster schools to prioritise extension and enrichment activities, appointing a Leading Teacher in this area eight years ago. The school works with a differentiated curriculum across all levels, and actively utilises the different learning theories, focusing on a particular one at each year level. Raven's Assessment test is used with all students to assess ability to learn, and particular effort is made to identify and help the gifted under-achiever. The "You can do it" program gives a foundation for achievement and self-esteem. Many clubs are run, including an in-school time chess club. After-school activities are varied, with a cost to students to cover tutor expenses.
Secondary School Panel
- Melbourne Boys Grammar School Speaker: James Brown
I missed the first part of this presentation, so apologies for the incomplete summary.
Mentoring Program - between PhD students at Melbourne University and High-Achieving Secondary students at MBGS. Usually with year 10 students, but maybe year 9. Carefully matched students, both with personalities and topics. Spend 1 to 2 hours per week with PhD student, working with them on their project. Usually acknowledged in thesis. This is the third year of operation, and so far has been very successful.
- Box Hill High School Speaker: Kate Mitchell, Vice Principal and Co-ordinator of Select Entry Accelerated Learning Program
BHHS started their Select Entry Accelerated Learning Program in 1995. It is based on the University High School model, which started in 1981. This is a structured program for gifted students. Core subjects are compacted from 4 years to 3, meaning students at the end of year 9 have completed the year 10 curriculum. VCE can then be completed over the following 2 or 3 years, allowing for flexibility in subjects studied and pursuit of subjects for pure interest rather than merely those required for a chosen career.
BHHS has a maximum of 800 students. Approximately half are involved in the gifted education program. Select entry students are kept together for core subjects, allowing classes to move along at a rapid pace. Mixing within year level occurs with other subjects, such as music and sport.
Special features of Box Hill HS include:
- Principal and Vice Principal support for gifted education
- Administrative support for gifted education
- Staff who understand gifted children and gifted education
- Ongoing Professional Development for staff
- Selection procedure appropriate in finding rapid learners
- Variety of Nationalities in students, staff and parents
- Parent Support Group - guest speakers, different topics
- Location - easily accessed by public transport, so large geographical area to draw on for student population
- Small size - great for gifted children; allows interaction across different year levels at playtimes
I talked to several providers at the exhibition and gathered information about various products, services and groups. I will add these to the appropriate categories on this website over the next week or so.
This EXPO was interesting in the information provided, but covered only a very few schools. The number of exhibitors and attendees also seemed low compared to other years. Are there more out there doing wonderful things in gifted education? I do hope so. Glen Allsop from CHIP emphasised that models of implementation were being highlighted, rather than an endorsement of any one particular method or school. Would you like to comment? Please Reply to this Report.
The above comments are my interpretation of the afternoon, as a parent.