A team of dedicated, qualified and experienced Special Education and support staff assist teachers from P to 12 to create programs and develop strategies to enhance students' diverse educational needs. The team collaborates with the students and parents who access this service, as well as psychologists, speech therapists and other professionals to provide a range of options that enable each individual to reach her or his potential.
The Pathways team has regular and ongoing communication with the Head of Junior School, Deputy Principal (Academic), the Careers and VCE Coordinators as well as educational institutions outside of the School, such as the local TAFE provider. In this way, the Pathways team are able to make recommendations as students move through the School, to recommend pathways as they reach senior secondary level, and where necessary, to assist the School in applying for Special Provision for the VCE. Strong communication between the Pathways staff at the St Anne's Campus, Bairnsdale Campus and Garnsey Campus is maintained to provide comprehensive documentation for students with special needs who move from Year 6 to Year 7.
Student Support Group (SSG) meetings are held on a termly basis for our students requiring substantial adjustments to their learning program.
Support staff assist students to access the teaching and learning within the classroom. This could include: scribing, reading tests and exams, facilitating understanding by rewording or reworking concepts as they are explored. Support staff may offer individual assistance or may work with a small group within the classroom. Support staff assist students to organize their timetables, work materials and homework schedules. Detailed records of student progress are kept by the support staff, and these are used to assist parents and other members of the SSG to monitor the effectiveness of the specific support being offered.
Students from P to 12 are afforded the opportunity to access support on an individual or small group basis. These sessions focus on specific skills, such as aspects of literacy and numeracy, or other areas of the curriculum that need to be developed. Social skills programs are also delivered in this way if necessary and students are also able to access specific help with projects and assignments. At some year levels, after hours Homework sessions are offered as well as tutorials when required.
All students are valued at Gippsland Grammar; unique programs are developed to cater for students' specific interests.
This year we are offering an exciting learning opportunity to all our Year 7 students. This research based program is being taught in over 50 countries in the world as a way of improving thinking skills, problem-solving, concentration, and fostering positive attitudes to learning benefitting all learners of all ages.
This includes mainstream and gifted students as well as those with learning difficulties. It has also been used in corporations such as Motorola to improve the thinking skills of executives and a number of armed forces around the world. The program enhances the learning of our students to enable them to develop a growth mindset which encompasses skills needed to be successful in the 21st century.
The Instrumental Enrichment program consists of 14 different tools or Instruments that, if delivered appropriately, will enhance a student’s cognitive abilities. The learner is transformed by two types of learning – the direct learning experience and the mediated learning experience.
Instrumental Enrichment presupposes that all learners are ‘modifiable’, and promotes the perspective that: we can change the neural pathways in the brain so that learners can better access the mainstream environment without assistance. The IE program will also enhance the learner’s experience when they access remedial programs that will help them to spell, read, write and complete numeracy, making the learning in these classes more effective and transferrable.
Over the last 50 years, extensive studies have been done to measure the results of IE with a wide range of learners. In order to deliver the program, the teacher must follow a very specific series of steps. The tools are taught in a very specific way, and the mediated learning that occurs is also an integral part of the process.
Briefly each lesson has the following elements:
- An explicit learning intention about what will be learned – so students are clear.
- Sub goals – the teacher defines what each student will bring to the task and how the task should be mediated ( for example, a student who can’t read will have words read to them, a student who lacks confidence and is easily confused will have a different sort of mediation).The teacher prepares this beforehand.
- Explicit unpacking of the task and vocabulary – looking at what is similar/different/ what cues are there/ can we use the same guidelines / examining new/ similar vocabulary.
- Independent work – students work on the specific page presented to them - teacher is mediator where and when necessary, as are other students.
- Feedback – unpacking the why, when, what, where and how of the activity just performed.
- Bridging – where, when, how and what will the use be of what we have just learned to other aspects of academic/ social / political life / vocational – how might we apply this to our maths class / could we use this in English/ where do we see this skill in our family interaction and so forth.
This international gifted and talented program caters for students who enjoy team - work, creativity and higher order thinking. Offered at a Year 8 level, the program takes students through a robust thinking process during which they solve futuristic problems or scenarios. The ultimate thinking challenge is offered as students learn the process during Term 1 and 2 and then pit their wits against the rest of Victoria in the Qualifying Problem in Term 3. The challenge is not only to master the unseen scenario and remember the process but to complete the competition in two hours. Teams who rank highest in Victoria are invited to compete in the National Finals in Term 4 and then to compete internationally the following year. In 2003, one of Gippsland Grammar's teams represented the School at the National Finals. The Macquarie Bank Future Problem Solving Program allows students to truly stretch their capacity to become sophisticated higher order thinkers.
The Da Vinci Decathlon is a ten event academic gala day for Year 7 students. The school will enter teams of eight Year 7 students who will participate in activities in the following disciplines:
- Mathematics – emphasis on problem solving, number patterns and logic puzzles
- English – spelling, word origins, definitions, scrabble, and writing
- Science – students will be provided with higher level scientific concepts and be challenged to apply them
- Code Breaking – in the spirit of World War II, students will aim to decipher several codes
- Engineering Challenge – a building task designed to test creativity and ingenuity
- Forensic Sleuths – dealing with logic, observation, maps, photographs and other evidence
- Creative Producers – a sub-group from the team will have ten minutes to develop and present a 30-second commercial to promote a particular product
- Art and Poetry – the team will develop a poem plus a complementary work of art on a given theme
- Games of Strategy – Mastermind, Chess and 3Dimensional Connect 4
- General Knowledge – current affairs, issues, history, science, entertainment, sport and world facts
The tasks are exciting and challenging with a particular emphasis placed on higher order thinking skills. The school will aim to select students who are able to complement each other in the various disciplines and students will be required to commit to lunchtime training for the event.
Throughout the School, literacy and numeracy support is offered through a number of excellent programs in addition to the support received in class and on an individual basis. Our school uses the THRASS (Teaching Handwriting, Reading And Spelling Strategies) from P to Year 8. At Year 7 and 8 students can access Languag LinC (Literacy in Context) classes . This class is scheduled as part of the timetable and offers a range of strategies that focus on all aspects of literacy development. The program delivered in LinC aims to re-engage students with reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing and is presented in a way that enables students to see the relevance of literacy in a real world context.
Our additional numeracy support program is designed to support students in their classroom mathematics program. Selected students will be involved in small group sessions after school each week to prepare for the classroom program and develop their confidence and skills in numeracy.
The Pathways teaching staff and our School Psychologist are experienced and qualified to administer a range of diagnostic tests to ascertain specific difficulties that students may experience. A comprehensive testing library ensures that the School and parents can gain a thorough understanding of the students' needs. This information is crucial for accessing other professional services and for creating suitable educational programs.
A qualified EAL teacher facilitates learning in VCE English classes with student studying English as an additional language with a course which is parallel to VCE English. Modifications are made on an individual basis to students in all classes based on their English proficiency. Interim English Language sessions are run to support the development of English as required.