FOR a small school, the Somerville Rise Primary School community certainly thinks big.
Because of its impressive academic results, students have been selected several years in a row for enrolment in the Victorian High-Ability Program, an Education Department-run virtual program which provides high ability students with extension courses in mathematics and English.
High ability practice leader Adam Poole, pictured, said the program enabled the school’s grade 5 and 6 participants to interact online with students from other schools who may have the same interests and learning styles and provided them a social outlet as well as academic enrichment.
Selection for the program is based on results, and Mr Poole said the school was proud that students had been selected several years in a row for a program that “really helps to bring the best out of the students”.
He said the school ran several enrichment programs for high ability students and had been selected to grow golden wattle seeds for the Australia Seeds in Space program.
The seeds had already been into space for six months before returning, first to Japan last year, and then to Australia for quarantine.
Mr Poole said NASA was interested in determining whether seeds can survive exposure to the space environment and germinate to provide a future food source.
He said students were ecstatic to be part of the international program and had embraced the challenge.
They had joined students from across Australia who have been selected to be part of the scientific inquiry, which will compare the seeds to control seeds that have not been to space.