Academic Excellence

Introduction

Caralee Community School takes special measures to identify students who have a level of academic ability well above the average. An academic extension program is provided for these students, and their individual progress is monitored throughout their years at Primary School.

The Program

The Caralee Academic Extension Program was evolved to further develop the skills and abilities of our talented students by providing an environment that provides challenge, and where students can work with peers who share similar interests, aspirations and abilities. Mini investigations about logical thinking, trying things out, working in a systematic way, recording information and checking that results have not been duplicated are all part of the program.

The program has a strong emphasis on extension and enrichment activities, providing opportunities for academically talented students to reach their full potential. It was developed to challenge the students by adding depth to the curriculum rather than one premised on accelerating students’ progress through the year levels.

Environment

The students meet as a group with the teacher on a weekly basis during school hours, where it acknowledges the need for differentiated curriculum and learning opportunities for high achieving students, providing a positive, challenging, stimulating and supportive classroom environment.

Here there is an opportunity for academically gifted students to work together with like-minded peers and access extension activities that unpack the mandatory primary school curricula at a more sophisticated level. They are able to pursue greater depth and breadth in their key learning areas and aspire to excellence.

Skills

Students involved in the program are able to accelerate and enrich their learning and enhance their natural skills. The skills focused on include:

  • high order thinking;
  • critical literacy;
  • numerical reasoning;
  • abstract thinking;
  • collaborative learning;
  • memory and word fluency; and
  • problem solving.

 

Problem Solving

This is one of the key characteristics in the program. Here problem solving focuses on the development of creative thinking skills. In particular, it centers on the skills of problem identification and positive solutions to those problems. The materials are designed to help students learn how to think (not what to think). Specifically, they motivate and assist students to:

  • think more creatively and positively;
  • improve communication skills (both oral and written);
  • work co-cooperatively in teams;
  • develop research skills; and
  • think critically and analytically

 

Teacher and Deputy Principal

The teacher and Deputy Principal in the Academic Extension Program meets regularly to share expertise, to feedback student progress, and to coordinate activities across the key learning areas. This ensures closer monitoring of student needs and allows the teacher to discuss and plan for individual mentoring of students.

The role of the teacher is to develop and promote differentiated approaches to the mainstream curriculum. In addition to this the teacher provides individual mentoring to participating students. It is the Deputy Principal’s role to ensure that the program functions effectively in the wider academic context of the school.