TIMBERTOP - YEAR 9

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Note: Some parts of the Academic Programme detailed within are subject to change due to possible changes to government requirements and as a result of internal reflection and quality management.

THE ACADEMIC FOCUS

The isolation of Timbertop, life in Units and the outdoors programme stand out in the minds of students and anyone who has heard much about Timbertop. Whilst the outdoors programme dominates weekends in Terms 1 and 4 and some other occasions, for four and a half days a week, students are involved in a full Year 9 academic programme with a timetable much like any other school.

The Academic Programme is a full one and very much a prime focus of the School in order to send students to Senior School at Corio thoroughly prepared for their Year 10 studies. Where students have significant prior learning, contact should be made with the Academic Office to discuss appropriate subject choices.

Assessment and Reporting

Like any school, regular assessment and reporting aligned with Federal reporting standards will occur.
Regular contact with parents is maintained by telephone or email through the Head of Unit. Should a student be under-performing or not engaging in their learning the staff will work with them and may be in contact with parents so as to determine a course of action to support or guide the student to better outcomes.

In Year 9, formative assessment occurs so as to give students feedback on how they are progressing through Units of Work in their subjects. This allows students and their teachers to check for understanding at regular intervals, revisit critical concepts and receive feedback on how to improve. In addition, Mastery Checkpoints will be undertaken so that students receive written feedback on their progress and again how to improve or advance their knowledge and skills. Summative assessment will be conducted at the end of significant periods of study to provide feedback to students on their achievement against the learning outcomes for that study period and will result in a grade being awarded. Both forms of assessment will be reflected in subject reports. Reporting includes subject progress and end of semester course achievement. Written reports, course grades and engagement with learning are all provided. These grades and reports are accessed through the Community Portal under Online Reports.

CORE SUBJECTS

All students study English, Mathematics, Science, History (Australian Curriculum), the Study of Religion and Spirituality, Outdoor Education and Positive Education.

Timbertop’s Outdoor Education, Running, Skiing and inter-Unit sporting events in combination with the Positive Education and Pastoral Care programmes fulfil the requirements for Health and Physical Education as mandated by the Victorian Government. As such, Health and Physical Education is offered as an elective subject.

ELECTIVE SUBJECTS

Students choose five semester units from the following:
- Chinese (Mandarin), French, Japanese, or German, (subjects that must be taken in both semesters)
- Music and Geography (subjects that can be taken in one semester or both)
- Health and Physical Education, Agriculture and Land Management, History (Powers in the 20th and 21st Centuries) and Visual Art (subjects that may only be taken for one semester).

ACADEMIC SUPPORT

Academic Support is designed to cater for all students, not just students with a diagnosed learning disability. It recognises the individual needs of the students at Timbertop. In order to cater for these needs, screening and diagnostic tests are conducted at the commencement of the school year. These tests assist in the identification of students who are either under-achieving academically or who have high intellectual potential and need to be challenged. The results are used in conjunction with teacher and parent recommendations.

Academic Support Programme (ASP) elective
The Academic Support Programme is a subject offered to a small number of students who are in need of extra assistance in an English language-based subjects and/or Mathematics. These students have been selected through diagnostic testing. This elective provides the necessary time for students to work on specific weaknesses identified by educational psychologists. In addition to this, instruction may be given in: time management, involving the setting of short-term and long-term goals; organisation, incorporating the physical work environment; and study skills, involving strategies for effective study habits. This is run as an elective block across both semesters and students must have a diagnosed learning disability to be eligible.

Other Support Structures

Given the busy nature of the Timbertop programme, students will find that with the loss of weekends and the competing demands for their time, keeping up with their academic workload is challenging. Staff at Timbertop offer a range of extra-help sessions for support out of class times. These are voluntary for students; however, some students may be asked to attend to give them the support they need beyond the normal class time. There is no paid tutoring available at Timbertop, however, for all students the opportunity to get assistance is available, they often just need to ask. In addition, students who experience some difficulty accessing the curriculum may be provided an Inclusive Learning Plan which assists them and their teachers to best meet their individual needs. These plans are prepared by the school after discussion with key academic staff, parents and the student, all done on a case-by-case basis.

Catering for High Achievers

Timbertop recognises an inclusive definition of giftedness and encourages excellence in all of its forms of intellectual, academic and creative endeavour. There are a range of opportunities to develop musical and artistic talents in the co-curricular programmes. In pure academic pursuits, enrichment is provided to students who show capacity beyond the core offerings. For example, in Mathematics, students can self-select the level of challenge in every part of the course. Classes are not streamed and staff will work with any student to guide them in their studies to achieve their best.