Cromwell College defines Gifted and Talented students as:
Gifted and talented learners are those with exceptional abilities relative to most other people. These individuals have certain learning characteristics that give them the potential to achieve outstanding performance (Ministry of Education, 2001).
Put another way, gifted children have the ability to “Go beyond the known” Students can be intellectually gifted, creatively gifted, gifted in physical ability, emotionally gifted, spiritually gifted, gifted in leadership, gifted in entrepreneurship and gifted in the arts.
At Cromwell College our aim is to assist students to turn potential into performance in all these areas, rather than a narrow focus purely on achievement based results. We also recognise that giftedness is affected by cultural values, for example Maori values, and we welcome these cultural understandings. We are also passionately committed to identifying, understanding and nurturing our “twice exceptional” learners – those students who are gifted, but with a learning difficulty which may stop them reaching their true potential (learning difficulties might be dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, Aspergers). These “2e” students are at great risk, especially through adolescence, and the College aims to provide challenge, but also accommodation and remediation, if necessary, to cater for their individual needs.
How are Gifted and Talented learners identified at Cromwell College?
Narrow measures of giftedness and talent can tend to lock out many gifted students and here at the College we use a wide range of indicators, from the formal PAT tests or similar, to the holistic (and often correct) “hunch”. Nomination can come from testing, e.g PAT, Asstle; from parents (who as we now know, are 85% correct when identifying their child as gifted!), from teachers through subject ability and from peer recognition. We also have ongoing identification success from teacher intuition, i.e there is “something more there” that we can’t put our fingers on. Not surprisingly, more often than not, there is something more there! This approach is directly supported through literature which advocates an inclusive approach when identifying gifted students.
We are fortunate to have a dedicated librarian, Mrs Barbara Hepburn, who works with gifted readers and is able to make recommendations on gifted children through her work.
We are also fortunate that Goldfields School and Cromwell Primary – our feeder schools have a good understanding of giftedness and can offer valuable input. Jilly O’Brien, our Half Day School teacher, also teaches gifted children in Year 5 and 6 and this continuity is invaluable through primary/secondary transition. She continues to run professional development in gifted education for the feeder primary schools.
This individualised but also integrated approach is what we at Cromwell College feel caters for our gifted and talented students in the best way possible. There is, however, always more to learn!
How are the needs of Gifted and Talented Children met at Cromwell College?
Half Day School
Assistant Principal Karen Inglis is passionate about gifted education. Her vision to have a gifted cluster group – Half Day School- is now in its third year. Half Day School is for years 7, 8 and 9, with camps and special events for year 10, and aims to build a programme that will be genuinely relevant and effective for gifted learners – to generate in them a high level of interest and authenticity, to develop the “tools” of thought, to challenge them to the full, and to foster emotional, social and ethical development (somebody who can do their bit for our world). Studies in NZ and worldwide show that exceptionally able children need to work with others who think and respond at the same level and in the same way as they do, on a regular basis. Cromwell College is one of the few secondary schools in NZ that has a dedicated gifted programme running each week to cater for these students, where they are clustered together for half a day with their own space. Half day School is based on the REACH model Half Day School is led by Jilly O’Brien, a teacher of gifted children in Central Otago. Any programme to cater for gifted children must have a teacher who is experienced and trained in gifted education, and Jilly is qualified and greatly experienced with gifted learners.
Mentoring of Junior and Senior gifted students
Acceleration can be a successful tool for gifted children, and is done when needed at Cromwell College, in consultation with the whanau and the student
Ongoing professional development in gifted education is carried out throughout the year at the College, to keep all teachers current and to facilitate best practise We value self review and use both formal and informal self review processes to evaluate the outcomes for gifted and talented students. This helps us to continually develop our provision using information gathered Also parents are fully involved with a parent/community information night
Curriculum differentiation is an ongoing focus throughout Cromwell College. Quality, recent professional development will continue to differentiate in ways that cater for the needs of the exceptionally able. This may be curriculum compacting, flexible groupings, independent study, learning centres, mentorships.
Enrichment opportunities are another important part of our strategy for catering for gifted students. These are available in all subject areas and all years. The list below, whilst not exhaustive, gives an indication of the opportunities available:
ODT Spelling Quiz
ODT Creative Writing Competition
Elsie Locke Writing Competition
NZ International Poetry Competition
Writers in Schools
Rotary Debating Rounds
Production: every second year
Lions Speech Competitions
Tournament of Minds
Australian English Competition
Smoke Free Rockquest
G&T Marine Camp
Year 10 Rural G&T programme, Marine Studies Centre
Deep Thought Year 11
Science Club lunchtimes
Australian Chemistry Competition
Otago University Hands On Science
Forum Auckland University
Otago University Problem Challenge
Australian Maths Competition
Tournament of Minds
Social Studies Quiz
Australian Economics Competition
ICT club twice a week
Hga Manu Korero Speech Competition
Mana Pounamu Awards
Ngarimu VC and Battalion Memorial Essay Competition
Maori Education Scholarships
Rapuara Senior Careers
Otago Primary/Secondary Schools Athletics
Otago Primary and Secondary Schools Cross Country
South Island Secondary Athletics
Otago Secondary Schools Road Race
Otago Secondary Schools Duathlon
Otago Southland Snowboard Championships
Southland Road Cycling Championships
Southland Otago Squash Championships
Southland Otago Netball Championships
South Island Secondary School Netball Championship
NZ Secondary Schools Provincial Hockey Tournament
NZ Basketball Grade Championships
South Island Secondary Schools Junior Rugby
South Island Cycling Championships
Visit this online environment where gifted children, their parents, teachers, and other education professionals can meet, learn from and help one another.
Read the first issue issue of giftEDnz's newsletter now available on the giftEDnz website.
Poipoia a tatou tamariki ihumanea - Nurture our gifted children A national association is being established to provide support for people who have a professional interest in gifted and talented education. To become a foundation member, visit the website and complete the online registration form.
This website has a wide variety of Gifted and Talented links for parents, students and teachers. Highly recommended.