“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” —

Malcolm X

Hillsmeade Primary School is delighted to have students participate in the Victorian High-Ability Program (VHAP). This program is designed to offer exceptional students in Victoria, Australia, a unique opportunity to connect with like-minded peers, engage in specialized courses, and foster their intellectual growth. The Department of Education organises this program and aims to nurture the potential of high-achieving students. In this summary, we will delve into the critical aspects of the program, its structure, benefits, and selection process.

One of the central components of the Victorian High-Ability Program is the masterclass, which serves as a platform for participating students to meet others in their local area who are enrolled in the same course. This masterclass facilitates social interaction and allows students to delve deeper into the course material and exchange ideas. The organization of these masterclasses involves collaboration between schools in the same region with students participating in the program. Occasionally, these masterclasses may involve incursions or excursions, which may require students to step away from regular class time for up to one day, as arranged by school leaders. Whenever possible, these masterclasses are conducted in a face-to-face format, enhancing the social and educational benefits.

The program extends over ten weeks, typically aligned with the academic term. Students engage in a virtual classroom experience during this time, participating in one virtual class per week. These virtual classes are facilitated by teachers who have received specialized training for online instruction. The platform used for these virtual classes is Cisco Webex, where various virtual strategies like forums, quizzes, and blogs are employed to engage students actively in learning. In addition to the virtual classroom sessions, students interact with course materials through a web-based Learning Management System provided by Virtual School Victoria Online.

One of the core principles underlying the program is the idea that highly able students thrive when surrounded by like-minded peers. In the virtual classroom environment, students can interact with others who share their academic interests and abilities. This interaction enables academic growth through mutual challenges and fosters personal connections among students.

The selection process for participation in the Victorian High-Ability Program is stringent and thorough. The Department of Education relies on student achievement data to assess readiness and ability. Only those students who meet the criteria set by the department are eligible for participation. Additionally, parental consent is mandatory for a student to join the program. This ensures that students and parents are fully informed about the program’s nature and commitments.

While the department selects the initial group of students, schools also have the opportunity to nominate students who were not pre-selected but are deemed suitable for the program. However, it’s important to note that students can only participate in each course once, as the material is repeated each term.

If you require further information about our programs, please do not hesitate to contact the school.

2023 Term 3 VHAP Enrolments

Primary Maths Course – Patterns: From Symbols to Secrets

Through their participation in the primary maths VHAP, students have explored a range of numeral systems, bases and ciphers. This has enabled students to deepen their understanding of how symbols express numbers, mathematical concepts, operations and sequences.
During the program, students formulated, examined and refined mathematical conjectures. They were introduced to evaluating mathematical strategies and solutions through the lens of the 3Es by asking whether a solution is Effective, Efficient, and/or Elegant.

Students engaged in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning as they compared and contrasted the features of Hindu Arabic, Egyptian, Roman, Chinese, Babylonian and Mayan numeral systems. They learned to convert numbers expressed in bases other than 1 0 to base 1 0, and were allowed to create their own numeral system.

The final three sessions of the program were devoted to cryptography. Students learned about substitution and transposition ciphers and collaborated to crack increasingly difficult encoded secrets. For the last session, students created their own ciphers and celebrated their participation in the VHAP by uncovering the secrets their peers had encoded.

The following students completed the Primary Maths Course – Patterns: From Symbols to Secrets.

Hakeem AhmadzaiBasira AminiGianna ChoMarika EliadisEhrar Hazara
Zhuoyang LiDarius NeangShaaruvika PrinthanSubeg SinghElla Tate

Victorian High-Ability Program Primary English Course – The Power of the Pen

In the Primary English course, students explored the history of writing and developed insight into the power of the written word. Throughout the course, students focused on the role of narrative in reflecting human experience. Students grappled with the transformational influence of writing through history and within modern society. They studied ancient narrative structures, including the Hero’s Journey and Jungian archetypes, applying this knowledge to popular texts and literary classics.

Throughout the course, students explored literary devices- metaphor, symbolism and personification – and experimented with including them in their creative writing. Students considered the features of literary genres – and contended with the dynamics of writing humour and comic characters. In addition, students investigated the role of narrative strategy and considered how varied narrative perspectives affect the creative writing style. Ultimately, students wrote their own story of a hero’s journey, creatively applying all of the literary concepts explored throughout the course. The shared journey into creative writing provided a powerful learning experience for students, as they had the opportunity to connect with like-minded peers to extend their English skills.

As the critical, creative personal and social general capabilities shaped the Primary English program, students were encouraged to engage and contribute analytically and creatively as speakers, listeners, writers and collaborators.

The following students completed the Primary English Course – The Power of the Pen.

Grace Kim Hridaan Kumar