As a recap, Tombolo Academy is the result of Kids Like Us founders, Catherine Kirby and Anne Jackson, and their vision and determination to create a new education model for twice exceptional (2e) students. The first of its kind in Australia, SVP Melbourne is proud to have supported the long and difficult process of accreditation and getting established.
Tombolo Academy is an Independent Specialist year 7-10 school that caters for twice-exceptional students (gifted + disabled concurrently), who are able to function within the Victorian Curriculum at ae level, or above, in a majority of academic areas but also at level 3 or above in their area of disability.
Open for business
The Academy started operation on 1st February with 24 students in the Bayside suburb of Hampton. The Academy was formally opened on 19th March by the opposition spokesperson for Education and local dignitaries.
The first two terms haven’t been without their challenges, and interestingly, more on the teaching side than with the kids. The curriculum application is targeted to each individual student’s learning capability (with some common elements) to ensure the student progresses with confidence across all key areas of learning whilst being able to excel where gifted. The youngest student is 8 years old with an IQ exceeding 150. The students have settled right in and a quick KPI is that all students attend school!
Building works as well as preparation of school zoning (good ol Vic Roads!) and other regulatory challenges have been unavoidable distractions.
A full time Principal has only recently commenced (Anne Jackson has acted up until now) and she brings with her a wealth of experience as a seasoned principal and educator of gifted children as well as being well connected in education circles.
A number of exciting events have taken place in term 2 including an open day and commercial production exposure to be seen on TV in August. Demand for places in the school has hit the ceiling for 2021 (28 students) as the physical location, teaching staff and new term 3 students settle in.
SVPM support for Tombolo continues in the forms of regular mentoring, Board governance, operational support and marketing engagements.
Tombolo Academy Philosophy
Twice-exceptional students are defined as being gifted with some form of disability. These students are considered exceptional both because of their gift; intellectual, creative, perceptual and or motor abilities and because of their special needs which could include specific learning disabilities, neurodevelopmental disabilities, and/or a physical disability.
Every twice-exceptional student requires a curriculum and pathway through the education levels that is individually modified to cater for their disability and their gift, together.
Due to the emotional impact of being different from the majority, many twice-exceptional students feel isolated, depressed, anxious, confused or hopeless. A strong social-emotional program is central to Tombolo’s programs to minimise or eliminate the impact of such deep negative feelings.