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Within the nominated Gifted Education Learning Schools (GELS), a new role of Gifted Education Mentor (GEM) has been created to support gifted learners and to work with teachers. Each of the GELS also has a gifted education committee, including Principal and/or Assistant Principal and GEM. The role of the committee is to lead the identification process and support teachers in providing appropriate strategies to assist students.

 CENTRAL  
  Rachael Moore - St Pius X High School, Adamstown

I have 10 years of experience as a classroom teacher and during this time, I have gained a Graduate Certificate in Gifted Education from the University of New England and a Master of Education Leadership from the Australian Catholic University. At St Pius X we’ve identified our high ability students so that we can identify what each student needs to see positive growth in individual learning outcomes. In 2018 we will offer professional development in differentiating in formative classroom tasks for our staff. Our aim at St Pius X is to provide quality learning opportunities for all students and give our gifted students more challenges in their learning.

 

Bernadette Mitchell - Holy Family Primary School, Merewether Beach

I am the Gifted Education Mentor for Holy Family, Merewether Beach. It is my responsibility as a GEM to encourage and facilitate opportunities for learning within our staff whether this be during Professional Learning Team sessions, staff meetings or professional development days to enhance knowledge and skills. Integral to being GEM is recognising the significance of, and actively participating in, the strengthening and building of professional relationships with schools in surrounding areas. This includes an emphasis on transference of student information to our associated secondary school, St Pius X, Adamstown.

 

Diane Murphy - St Joseph's Primary School, Merewether

St Joseph’s Merewether is very proud to be a Gifted Education Lead School for 2017. Our focus this year has been around gaining greater knowledge, understanding and expertise in gifted education and navigating our way forward by thoughtful planning about what catering for our gifted learners may look like in our inclusive Catholic School learning environment. As the GEM, my role is to learn, encourage and enthuse others to learn as well and to build a terrific gifted education committee. We look forward to the future and to enhancing excellence in education for all at St Joseph’s in partnership with the CSO and our central region schools.

 

Jo Simes - St James' Primary School, Kotara South

As a GEM I’ve gaining deeper understanding of Gifted Education, finding new improvements in writing and a wider use of technology. From the beginning we’ve emphasised a slow and steady approach to building the capacity and confidence of teachers in gifted education. I hope to continue working with teachers to develop a variety of options for students to demonstrate their knowledge and further explore areas of interest, taking their learning beyond the classroom and curriculum. Technology provides opportunities to trial different apps to engage learners and record their work, while writing provides opportunities to extend and challenge their thinking.

 

Jenny Harrison - St John's Primary School, Lambton

I’m the REC and GEM at St John's Lambton. The staff at St John's are very enthusiastic and inspired to be working towards providing students with challenging tasks to help them reach their full potential. Over the past year, staff have completed a number of professional learning activities including working through teacher checklists to nominate gifted students and analysing and triangulating assessment data to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. Our 2018 School Improvement Plan is to improve the growth for our students in NAPLAN writing. New resources for the school were purchased including a set of Edison Robotics to use within our Science and Technology classes as a way of introducing STEM into the school. 

 

Debra Petersen - St Therese's Primary School, New Lambton

As the Gifted Education Mentor (GEM) for my school I’m dedicated to creating a school wide focus on lifting the performance of gifted students. I’m committed to providing all staff with professional learning opportunities that will result in identifying gifted students and their learning needs. This commitment to engaging in ongoing opportunities helps to develop and realise student academic potential in the intellectual and creative domains. Our staff share a common understanding of the term gifted education and work collaboratively to ensure all our students work to their full potential.

 

MANNING

 

Laura Boere - St Clare's High School, Taree

I’m a Mathematics Teacher at St Clare’s whose also trained to teach Science, having an Engineering background. I’m interested in the GEM role as I like to help students achieve their potential, especially in the STEM areas. At St Clare’s we cater for gifted students in lots of ways such as national and state competitions in Mathematics, Science, Computing, Geography and the Arts, school representative sport, music and drama performances and competitions. However, our new focus for improvement is on how we cater for our gifted students in the classroom. We have learnt how to better identify gifted students by investigating class grouping strategies and learning how to differentiate our lessons and our program so that we can extend and challenge our gifted learners in a variety of ways.

Gary Pomplun - Holy Name Primary School, Forster

I’m excited to be the Gifted Education Mentor at Holy Name in 2018. Over the past two years, I’ve engaged in professional learning opportunities focusing on Gifted Education, completing the mini-certificate of Gifted Education and master class of Gifted Education. As the GEM, I will work closely alongside my colleagues and parents of students to identify and cater for gifted learners at Holy Name. I’ll work collaboratively with my colleagues to develop tiered curriculum programs to cater for gifted learners in a mixed ability primary classroom, that are based on current research and promote best practice.

 

ALL SAINTS

 

Rebecca Heath - All Saints College, St Mary's Campus, Maitland

My role as GEM at ASC, St Mary's Campus, has focused on fostering staff learning to ensure specialist teachers can continue to adequately provide engaging classroom experiences for our gifted learners. In 2018, in alignment with St Mary's School Improvement Plan, differentiation of subject programs will become the focus to ensure all learners are catered for, while gifted learners will have access to rich learning opportunities. To ensure a whole school approach, St Mary's looks to work closely in partnership with St Peter's, our 7-10 constituent, to ensure the smooth transition of gifted students from Stages 5 to 6, enabling them to feel extended and become lifelong learners who will flourish beyond the secondary school context. 

Sarah Elliot - All Saints College, St Peter's Campus, Maitland

I’ve worked in Catholic schools for over eight years as an English, HSIE and Studies of Religion teacher. During this time, I completed a Masters of Educational Management and Leadership at UNSW where I undertook a semester of study in educational leadership for gifted students. My role involves the identification of our gifted students, staff professional development and implementation of teaching strategies to cater for our students. Our focus for gifted education at All Saints College, St Peter’s Campus is to understand how we can change our teaching practice for the benefit of all students in our school and empower teachers in this process. The implementation process so far has been the identification of our students and understanding how to cater for these students’ learning needs.

Jenny McFadyen - St John the Baptist Primary School, Maitland

Being the GEM at St John the Baptist has meant that I now have the professional training and the support of the CSO to identify students’ needs, to support them to reach their own potential and develop their abilities. While I’ve been organising and implementing existing gifted program for the last few years at St John’s, my GEM role has provided me with the opportunity to ensure teachers are well supported in their programming and teaching. This support will afford the opportunity to provide challenging activities in the classroom that allow for enrichment and extension to occur. As we move into 2018, I look forward to continuing my collaboration with the other All Saints GEL schools as we ensure that we maximise each students learning potential.

 

Catherine Wallace - St Joseph's Primary School, East Maitland

My role as the GEM at St Joseph’s East Maitland, is to demonstrate proactive, strategic management, which will provide support and guidance to staff in the implementation of personalised learning practices and a genuinely differentiated curriculum in addressing the needs of students. Our focus in 2018, will be to implement quality teaching and learning programs, which differentiate and allow students to achieve their potential. St Joseph’s recognises and values the uniqueness of each individual and wishes to embrace this exciting journey.

 

NORTH

 

Bonnie Rae - San Clemente High School, Mayfield

In my role as San Clemente’s GEM, I am excited to be part of the CSO’s goal of extending and challenging our gifted students through targeted programming. The identification of these students was the focus of the first part of the year. An identified gap was the need for staff’s professional development in program differentiation and catering for the needs of students with multiple exceptionalities. As a consequence, our goals for next year include the differentiation of programs and assessment tasks across all areas of the curriculum and staff participation in relevant professional development.

Danielle Reed - St Columban's Primary School, Mayfield

I’m very enthusiastic about my role as a GEM at St Columban’s. 2017 has been an exciting year of professional development, testing, planning and preparing for the ongoing GEL school initiative. Our gifted learners are catered for through differentiated tasks and small group work. We encourage the use of creative and critical thinking strategies and are looking forward to the establishment of our STEM learning program next year. We work closely with San Clemente Mayfield and Corpus Christi Waratah to develop and implement learning for both staff and students that is challenging and engaging.

Jodi Bosworth - Corpus Christi Primary School, Waratah

I’m very passionate about my role as a GEM at Corpus Christi, Waratah. As part of the Gifted Education Lead Schools, our school is working closely with our two cluster schools; St Columban’s Mayfield and San Clemente Mayfield to develop and implement learning for both staff and students that is challenging and engaging. 2017 has been a year full of professional learning opportunities in gifted education. Collating and analysis of data, trialling differentiated learning tasks with small groups and expanding our understanding of tiered learning programs to cater more thoroughly for gifted learners in a mixed ability primary classroom. In 2018, we look forward to using creative and critical thinking strategies and implementing engaging and challenging tiered learning for our students.