Our specialised programs ensure our boys are appropriately challenged and supported throughout their school years. As an open entry, mixed-ability school, we work with students across the full spectrum of ability levels and have a focus on personal excellence. We believe that with the right support and resources, each student is able to perform to the best of his ability.
Extension through Gifted and Talented Education (GATE Program)
We recognise that gifted and talented students have specific education needs and that it is imperative they are challenged, extended and inspired in distinct ways.
Defining Gifted and Talented
Giftedness is defined as the possession and use of outstanding natural abilities, called aptitudes, in at least one ability domain, to a degree that places an individual at least among the top 10% of age peers. Domains may be verbal/linguistic, mathematical/spatial, musical, kinaesthetic or creative.
Talent is defined as the outstanding mastery of systematically developed abilities, called competencies (knowledge and skills), in at least one field of human activity to a degree that places an individual at least among the top 10% of age peers who are or have been active in that field.
How we meet the needs of gifted and talented students
A comprehensive points based assessment criteria is used to ascertain a student’s eligibility for GATE. This system will allow for assessment of multiple forms of abilities (e.g. intellectual, creative, etc.). Once assessed, a range of curricula, co-curricula and mentoring opportunities are available that are tailored to match the distinctive needs of the individual student. This allows the development of talents in specific domains while pursuing mainstream curricula in other subjects. The opportunities that may be offered include:
- Differentiated content, processes and/or tasks to challenge gifted and talented students
- Annual Progression Reports for individual students
- STEM based electives offering hands on learning such as Robotics and Computer Programming
- Mentorship opportunities via the CSIRO Scientists in Schools Program
- Subject acceleration across specific key learning areas in Year 9, 10 and 11
- Pathways that lead to completion of 1st year university subjects as a VCE subject in Year 12
- Diverse co-curricula options that provide further avenues for gifted and talented students to be challenged through music, drama, art, debating, immersion programs, lunch clubs, as well as sport.
As well as preparation for external competitions such as:
- Tournament of Minds
- Da Vinci Decathlon
And external support programs such as:
- The Victorian Association for Gifted and Talented Children Activities
- CSIRO Student Research Scheme
Through this program, De La Salle College aims to enable exceptionally able students in a community of faith and excellence to achieve their full potential with integrity and distinction.
Support Through The Mary MacKillop Enhancement Centre
Extending across both campuses, the Mary MacKillop Enhancement Centre (MMEC) is our educational support unit. The staff in the MMEC assist students with special learning needs to access the curriculum to the best of their abilities, and to be integrated into our school community.
The MMEC consists of a coordinator, special education teachers and integration aides.
Students can be referred to the MMEC for assessment by either teachers or parents. The special education teachers are trained to assess students in their literacy and numeracy skills. Occasionally it is necessary to apply to external agencies for specific assessments such as cognitive assessments.
MMEC staff play a valuable role in all classroom situations. Depending on a students’ needs they may give individual support, work with multiple students or make themselves available to roam the classroom helping anyone requesting assistance.
Support for CEO funded students
Each year a number of students meet the criteria for funding from the Catholic Education Office (CEO) for special learning needs. At De La Salle, these students are allocated an in-class integration aide for the subjects where they need the most assistance. Integration aides provide invaluable learning support, whilst being respectful of the student’s need for independence in classroom situations.
CEO funded students have an Individual Learning Plan (IPL) written by each subject teacher. These are presented to each student’s parents at regular Program Support Group meetings, facilitated by the MMEC Coordinator.
During these meetings:
- each IPL is reviewed
- the student’s progress is discussed with their parents, and
- any other issues relevant to the student’s education and wellbeing are addressed.
Support for students without CEO funding
Throughout De La Salle, there are additional students with learning difficulties that do not qualify for funding. A confidential profile of each student’s learning difficulties and needs is developed and made accessible to teachers.
The MMEC provides resources for teachers to:
- increase their understanding of specific learning difficulties, and
- enhance their ability to effectively tailor the delivery of the curriculum to our students with learning needs.
Literacy and Numeracy Support Programs
With a strong reputation in the community, the MMEC facilitates the Literacy Support Program and the Numeracy Support Program. These programs are undertaken by both CEO funded and non-funded students who meet the criteria to be offered these programs.
These programs are provided at a cost to parents whose sons are not funded by the CEO. The associated fees are detailed in our Fee Schedule.