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Learning Enhancement

Mandurah Catholic College is committed to providing for students of all learning abilities and a number of Learning Enhancement strategies are being established in 2016 to ensure all students have opportunities to be challenged and to progress with their learning.

Academic Extension: Quest and Endeavour Programs
The Quest Program (Years 3–6) and Endeavour Program (Years 7–12) aim to foster skills of creative problem solving and critical thinking. Students identified as ‘high academic ability’ are selected for these programs.   They are taught to approach problems analytically and creatively with specific skills and processes, thereby developing attributes of academic rigour which will serveDSC08438 to boost their learning in all their subject areas.   In addition, working within a group of similar ‘high ability’ students, they are able to build supportive relationships with other like-minds and reduce the possibility of isolation which can sometimes occur with students of high ability.   Students are given the opportunity to participate in a number of competitions, such as the Western Australian Debating League competition, Mock Trials, Robocup and the STEM Video Game Challenge.DSC08439DSC08444

Academic Support
Academic Support processes at the College are in place to assist students who have learning difficulties.  Students can be assisted through withdrawal programs, extra assistance in class with Education Assistants, or through program adjustments made by teachers in class with the support of the Director of Learning Enhancement and/or the Inclusive Education  Coordinators in the Junior and Secondary Schools.  The College uses phonics-based and/or explicit direct instruction strategies for literacy remediation as recommended by the Dyslexia Speld Association for students diagnosed with Dyslexia and all literacy support staff are required to attend training at the Dyslexia Speld association.  Further information about either aspect of Learning Enhancement can be obtained by contacting Mrs Yvette Clifton, Director of Learning Enhancement.

Endeavour Program Year 7 and 8

 Rationale
The course runs as a progression from Year 7 to Year 8 and tasks and projects focus each semester on developing four of Costa and Kallick’s  16 “Habits of Mind”.

Students are withdrawn from class one period a week on a rotational basis so as not to impact on their regular classes.  Students invited to the program are also invited to attend the Learning Enhancement Lab during lunch breaks and for after-school sessions where they are able to work with assistance on their current tasks or projects in the program.

Students are invited to the program based on ability as determined by the ACER General Ability Test, as well as their past academic performance. Once they are accepted to the program, students are streamed into two main groups:  Humanities Enrichment and Science, and Technology Engineering and Mathematics Enrichment. Both streams work on developing the same Habits of Mind each semester, and work together on their different projects in the Learning Enhancement Lab during their weekly session.

Year 7 Endeavour Program Outline

Habits of Mind Focus
Semester 1: Thinking about Thinking ; Remaining Open to Continuous Learning;Thinking Flexibly ; Persisting
Semester 2: Finding Humour; Striving for Accuracy; Listening with Understanding and Empathy; Gathering Data through all the Senses

Humanities Enrichment Stream
Students are entered into the Community Problem Solving Competition and use this model to work on a real world problem they perceive in the local community. Students are required to critically research the problem, work with members of the local community and present their solution in a creative and dynamic way.   Each week they are guided in project organisation and time management strategies, team building skills as well as the current Habits of Mind focus.

High performing teams are invited to the National Finals of the Community and Future Problem Solving Competition held each year in October in Queensland.

In Semester One,  students in the Humanities Enrichment Stream are also selected to represent the College in the Western Australia Debating League, Rostrum Voice of Youth, Australian History Competition, National History Challenge, Make Your Own Storybook competition, The Fremantle Literacy Centre’s Talented Young Writers Program and the Dorothy Mackellar Poetry Awards.

In Semester Two, students continue with some of the above competitions (debating, History challenge, Talented Young Writers, Community Problem Solving) as well as participate in Optiminds and “Write a Book in a Day” competitions.  In early Term Four, students are invited to attend Astronomy Camp at Boshak’s Outback camp in coordination with the Gingin Observatory.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Stream

Students are entered into the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians (MCYA) Enrichment Stage run by the Australian Mathematics Trust.  This is a 6-month program where students work and submit solutions to various problems aimed at reinforcing mathematical knowledge and skills and broaden students’ experiences of solving mathematical problems. Students are guided to look for ‘neat’ solutions rather than achieve the result through a lengthy or awkward approach.  The Year 7 group will complete the “Dirichlet” stage which focuses on tessellations, one-handed arithmetic, working with patterns, recurring decimals and Time, distance and speed.

STEM students are also trained and coached in coding using the “Hopscotch” App, and then assist Junior School students in developing coding skills in a weekly Coding Club.  These skills will be developed in following years in the Endeavour Program when students will be taught to program using the Python Programming language, one of the most popular introductory programming languages taught in Computer Science courses globally.

In Semester 1, students in the STEM stream are selected to represent MCC in the CAT competition (Computational and Algorithmic Thinking), the Big Science Competition,  Have Sum Fun, Da Vinci Decathlon and Robocup Competition (2017).

In Semester 2, students continue with the Robocup competition and the MCYA Enrichment Challenge as well as enter into the Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC), the Intermediate Maths Olympiad, the Big Science Competition and the STAWA Science Talent Search.

Female students in Years 8 – 10  who achieve high results in the AMC, Big Science and the CAT are selected by the Australian Science Institute to be part of their “Curious Minds” Program,  a 6-month program which involves two residential camps in Canberra as well as a mentoring program; therefore, gaining experience in these competitions at the Year 7 level is coaches students to be competitive at the higher year levels.  In early Term Four, students are invited to attend Astronomy Camp overnight at Boshak’s Outback camp in coordination with the Gingin Observatory.

Year 8 Endeavour Program Outline

 Habits of Mind Focus

Semester 1: Persisting; Managing Impulsivity; Questioning and Posing Problems; Thinking and Communicating with Clarity
Semester 2:  Applying past knowledge to new situations; Creating, imagining, innovating; Responding with Wonderment and Awe; Thinking Interdependently

Humanities Enrichment Stream
Students are entered into the Future Problem Solving Competition and  work on a fictitious problem based on a current global issue. Students are required to critically research the problem and work together to create a solution.   Each week they are guided in project organisation and time management strategies, team building skills as well as the current Habits of Mind focus.

High performing teams are invited to the National Finals of the Community and Future Problem Solving Competition held each year in October in the Gold Coast.

In Semester 1,  students in the Humanities Enrichment Stream are selected to represent MCC in the Western Australia Debating League, Rostrum Voice of Youth, Australian History Competition, National History Challenge, Make Your Own Storybook competition, The Fremantle Literacy Centre’s Talented Young Writers Program and the Dorothy Mackellar Poetry Awards.

In Semester 2, students  continue with some of the above competitions (debating, History challenge, Talented Young Writers, Community Problem Solving) as well as participate in Optiminds and “Write a Book in a Day” competitions.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Stream

Students are entered into the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians (MCYA) Enrichment Stage run by the Australian Mathematics Trust.  This is a 6-month program where students work and submit solutions to various problems aimed at reinforcing mathematical knowledge and skills and broaden students’ experiences of solving mathematical problems. Students are guided to look for ‘neat’ solutions rather than achieve the result through a lengthy or awkward approach.  The Year 8 group will complete the “Euler” stage which focuses on primes and composites, highest common factors, figurate numbers, the pigeonhole principle, properties of angles, least common multiples, arithmetic sequences, congruences and counting techniques.  Students will be expected to use algebra in the later parts of the program.

STEM students are trained and coached in coding using the “Hopscotch” App, and assist Junior School students in developing coding skills in a weekly Coding Club.  These skills will be developed in following years in the Endeavour Program when students will be taught to program using the Python Programming language, one of the most popular introductory programming languages taught in Computer Science courses globally.

In Semester 1, students in the STEM stream are selected to represent MCC in the CAT competition (Computational and Algorithmic Thinking),the Big Science Competition,  Have Sum Fun, Da Vinci Decathlon and Robocup Competition (2017).

In Semester 2, students continue with the Robocup competition and the MCYA Enrichment Challenge, as well as enter the Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC), the Intermediate Maths Olympiad, the Big Science Competition and the STAWA Science Talent Search.

Female students in Years 8 – 10 who achieve high results in the AMC, Big Science and the CAT are selected by the Australian Science Institute to be part of their “Curious Minds” Program,  a 6-month program which involves two residential camps in Canberra as well as a mentoring program; therefore gaining experience in these competitions at the Year 7 level coaches students to be competitive at the higher year levels.  In early Term Four, students are invited to attend Astronomy Camp  at Boshak’s Outback camp in coordination with the Gingin Observatory.