High Ability Practice Leader networks

[Music plays. On-screen text: HAPL networks]

Elizabeth Green (High Ability Practice Leader, Taylors Lakes Secondary College): So the HAPL network that we’re a part of is really essential. I’ve got three other high ability practice leaders that I work with, and they’ve been absolutely amazing to work with. I feel so supported and I’m so happy to support them. 

So what’s happened is we’ve been delivering different training programs within our individual schools but we’re giving each other the material. So if I develop a PowerPoint, I send it out to them [and] they send it to me. We’ve met several times in person and organised things like masterclasses. 

Yeah, it’s a support network but... Honestly, they’re brilliant people to work with, so it’s so motivating for me and they give me a new perspective that if I was working in a silo, I’d never have. So, yeah, I’m just so grateful that that got started up and that we’ve just persisted together, and go from strength to strength. 

[Music plays. Sound of teacher talking to a class of students]

Marty Conboy (High Ability Practice Leader, Network Member): There are a few advantages to working in the network. The first is that you get to bounce ideas off other people and get immediate feedback on how various things are being rolled out in other schools. One thing that could be really useful for that is when we create resources, when we’re leading whole staff PL [professional learning], then we share those with each other. So some of the work’s already done and someone might say, “Oh, you know, you can tinker with this bit.” 

At the moment, we’re planning running the masterclass, and it means that you don’t have to plan it all yourself. And also, as good as some of the activities we can do within our own school are, one of the things that we know about the high-ability learners particularly, you know, those classic ones who just like to really achieve well and do all the work, is that sometimes they need some breaking outside of their comfort zone. And so the ability to bring their students together from the four different schools and get them sort of sometimes working together, sometimes working competitively, is a good way to challenge those students in a way that they wouldn’t necessarily be if they were only working with students they’ve known from their home school. 

[Music plays]

Brooke Kogelman (Project Manager, Lilydale District Education Plan): My name’s Brooke Kogelman, I’m the Project Manager of the Lilydale District and Yarra Valley Education Plan. Our Education Plan is one of nine across the state of Victoria, and it’s been established in order for the six secondary schools in the Lilydale District in Yarra Valley to work together in order to improve student outcomes and student achievement. Part of that is working together with our high-ability students. And through the Education Plan, we have formed a partnership with the Yarra Ranges Tech School who now host master classes for our VHAP [Victorian High-Ability Program] students. 

[Sound of students chattering in a classroom]

Ashley Vankrieken (Director, Yarra Range Tech School): So our masterclasses typically involve students using technology. And what we try to do is have them use technology in a different way or to achieve a purpose. So for our English program, we actually have students come in and design a storyboard. They’re focused on a dystopian future and then we take them through digital media techniques. So it might be stop motion, using green screens, back projection, digital media and they create a movie or an ad or an artwork that basically depicts and symbolises their view of the dystopian future. 

So I think the advantage of the cluster bringing in the Tech School is that we are able to introduce technologies that the students wouldn’t perhaps have access to. We’re able to introduce expertise that schools may not be able to have. And I think it also moves the students into a different learning environment. So the Tech School doesn’t look like a normal school, it doesn’t look like a normal classroom, and we can draw on that. But we can also draw on our industry linkages, we can draw on our tertiary linkages and really enhance that program so that the students are getting that extra learning, they’re getting that extra ability to apply. But I think also that it’s a little bit exciting and different for them and maybe makes them feel a little bit more special that they’re able to get to this Tech School and do this really fantastic program that’s not something that all the other students can do. 

Brooke Kogelman: So the benefits of the six schools from the Education Plan working together are, with programs such as the masterclasses, is that we get to reach out to a number of students across different schools. Schools get to share resources. So the high ability practice leaders come together on those days; they debrief, they talk, they share their experiences and then take that back to the classroom. 

[Music plays. On-screen text: UNE University of New England. School of Education]

[On-screen text: The Education State. Victoria State Government. Department of Education]

[On-screen text: Victoria State Government. Authorised by the Victorian Government, Melbourne]

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