Gifted Education Lead Schools (GELS) Sharing Day

Representatives from 15 schools across the diocese involved in Phase 1 of the Catholic Schools Office Gifted Education priority gathered recently to share their experiences and evaluate their work.

The Gifted Education Lead Schools (GELS) have been implementing the 2017 Gifted Education K-12 Policy and Procedures with an emphasis on identification of gifted learners and professional learning for staff.

The day provided an opportunity for principals and Gifted Education Mentors (GEMs) to enthusiastically engage in formal and informal conversations about their engagement in the new gifted education program. It also confirmed the benefit of the system-wide approach adopted this year and reinforced the strategies that will be shared with more schools next year.

Consistent themes of the day included the increased awareness of the characteristics and needs of gifted learners, the effective use of data, the importance of collaborative planning and the strength of networking between primary and secondary schools.

The GELS and the CSO have identified gifted education as a priority in their strategic plans. The schools are clustered within regions in the diocese and have primary and secondary school links.

The diocesan gifted education policy and system-approach strongly emphasises a K-12 continuum and collaboration between schools. Each school has appointed a Gifted Education Mentor (GEM).

During the sharing day, the GEMs spoke about their roles working with the school executive, class teachers and other GEMs in the system.

The schools presented results of their own research that included teacher attitude surveys, strategies to identify and cater for a range of student needs and the benefits of cluster collaboration.

As well as evaluating and sharing the work undertaken this year, the schools identified directions and goals for 2018. Feedback from participants demonstrated an appreciation of the resource support provided by the CSO for the new gifted education framework.

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