Collaborative Processes in Diverse Learning
Diverse Learning fosters inclusivity through a collaborative partnership
Our experienced staff has post-graduate qualifications in both Gifted Education and Special Education and is committed to ongoing professional development in current educational research and trends. The team consists of the Diverse Learning teachers: Simonetta Cesamolo (Head of Department), Zoe Rhone, Megan Thomas, Robyn Roffey, Kathryn Trethewey and our newly appointed member, Cecile Patchell. Rosita Butterfield, Rosemary Ramage, Hayley Goren, Michele Mannes and Kim Proctor-Messham are our incredible, indispensable Diverse Learning Assistants.
The Team constantly monitor student performance in order to respond to their needs by providing either learning support and/or learning enrichment. Students are identified using data from external reports and tests, including AAS (Allwell) and NAPLAN Tests, semester rankings and consider general class performance as well as perceptual data from teachers and parents.
Using a Response to Intervention approach, high quality teaching and learning processes are used to engage students in order to achieve academic, social and emotional outcomes. Specific initiatives target the learning and behavioural challenges of students needing support, while individualised supports for students requiring intensive assistance to achieve specific outcomes are implemented.
Some of these include in-class assistance for targeted classes and students with a diagnosed disability in stages 3-5; study support for students in stage 6; stage 5 Academic Support Classes offered to selected students; evidence based interventions such as Multi Lit, Macq Lit, Cars and Stars, Math Mastery Series, and The SoSafe! Program; and Life Skills and Pathways course options
Our Gifted and Talented programs focus on differentiating the curriculum, enrichment opportunities, extension and inclusion as well as mentoring. Our students participate in special events such as Da Vinci Decathlon, Philosophy day, GATSA (Gifted and Talented Secondary Teachers Association) events and Maths Olympiads. Our award- winning Future Problem Solvers partake in both National and International competitions with great success.
Through a collaborative curriculum planning model, students with diverse learning needs are provided with adjustments to participate and progress through the curriculum within an inclusive model. Adjustments to teaching, learning and assessment activities assist the student in accessing the syllabus outcomes in a range of ways.
Regular collaboration and consultation with the Diverse Learning team is essential to establish the tight network of support that your daughter requires in order to thrive. It is important to have regular contact with the Diverse Learning Team throughout the year so lines of communication are kept open and the Team can respond appropriately to the ongoing needs of your daughter. By showing a willingness to be part of the support team and an interest in their learning, a parent/carer assists the team to develop their daughter’s Individual Adjustment Plan (IAP).
The IAP is used to describe how the school will adjust and modify the content (the curriculum that the students access and how they access it), the process (how teachers sequence the learning and the ways in which students learn), the product (how students demonstrate what they have learned) and the environment (how learning is structured). It is important, for the plan to be executed successfully, that all the stakeholders (parents, teachers, student, Heads of House, tutors, support or specialist staff) have active input into developing and regularly reviewing it. This action plan clearly and explicitly outlines the goals for the student’s progress.
Before meeting with the Team, parents/carers should make a list of their daughter’s strengths and weaknesses. They should gather any past information that would be helpful, such as specialist reports or records of interventions. Having clear goals in mind that they would like their daughter to achieve will assist in the discussion. It is also advisable to prepare a list of questions they’d like answered, as well as to consider how they would be able to assist and support their daughter at home.
Students along with all stakeholders are included in these meetings and are responsible for setting SMART goals. During the meeting it is important to contribute to the discussion and use open communication, clarifying anything that is confusing or unknown. Approaching the conversation in a “problem solving” manner and recognising that everyone can assist in some way ensures that the student’s best interests are maintained. The result is a positive, solution focused approach to the discussion. Note taking is encouraged to record long and short-term goals, strategies that will be employed, individual responsibilities, resources, and time frames.
The Diverse Learning Teacher will collate the notes into an IAP and return it to the parent to review. It is a good idea for the parent to ensure that this written version is consistent with their own understandings and notes. Once approved the IAP is sent out to all the student’s teachers to action the plan. It is imperative that regular communication is maintained during the year and that any challenges are immediately alerted to the Team to prevent escalation or issues being overlooked. Before the next review meeting parents should refer to this plan and prepare feedback regarding the progression so far.
This partnership approach is based on mutual trust, respect and shared responsibility for the student’s advancement in learning and ensures the best chance for success in reaching their potential.
Ms Simonetta Cesamolo
Head of Diverse Learning