Pages tagged "Case Study"

  • Positive Wellbeing

    Five years ago, almost every second student at Para Hills High School in Adelaide did not complete their schooling.

    But in a remarkable turnaround, by last year almost all (97%) finished Year 12. What’s made the difference is a relentless focus on creating positive wellbeing for "every teacher, every student, every minute of the day", says principal Alina Page.

    Para Hills has worked hard to understand the school community's needs and find strategies to address them.

    "For example, lots of students arrive with negative perceptions of schooling that often come from home. So, we do a lot of work to build connections with the families.

    "Before the students arrive in Year 7, we've already had multiple connections with them, and their families have had a positive engagement with school," says Page.

    Most of the students are from low socioeconomic backgrounds and many suffer severe disadvantage that affects their ability to learn. But funding for extra care and support is "meagre", says Page.

    With more funds Page could offer small group tuition, an evidence-based approach proven to have the highest impact on disengaged learners, and work more closely with parents to help them engage with their children’s education.

    It’s an investment that would benefit students, families and the country.

    "Our goal is to raise aspirations and break the cycle of poverty," Page says.

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  • Additional Support Makes a Difference

    One of the most disengaged students at Colac Primary School in western Victoria has become one of its best performers in maths, thanks to an intensive program to help him pick up the skills he missed during the pandemic.

    The student received the highest marks for Colac Primary in NAPLAN mathematics and has been invited into the Victorian High Ability Program along with five other maths students from the school.

    Until last year, no student from the school had been offered a position in the program.

    Most Colac Primary students are from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Many of the children are developmentally vulnerable, particularly in language, and come to school with a high level of trauma. They need intensive support.

    "Our funding has allowed staff to develop clear instructional models in reading, writing, inquiry, and mathematics," says principal Shelby Papadopoulos.

    Nonetheless, finding the funds to give all the students the support they need is a struggle.

    The school can afford to provide targeted interventions to students who are 12 months or more behind and any remaining funding goes to early years students six months or more behind.

    "We can make the most difference in the early years. But it leaves our students in Years 3 to 6 identified as at-risk only if they're 12 months or more behind because we don't have the resources to give them the extra support."


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  • 21st Century Learning Facilities

    Students and teachers at Essendon Keilor College's Niddrie Campus are reaping the benefits of an investment in 21st century learning facilities.

    Principal David Adamson says the $12 million development has "absolutely" improved teaching and learning. "It's made a big difference because it’s purpose-built," he says.

    Adamson and his team worked closely with Haskell Architects to design a building specifically for teaching the middle years curriculum. "It's got flexible spaces that we can open up for larger groups of students, or we can close them off for use as normal classrooms. It was designed to cater for a range of teaching and learning techniques," says Adamson.

    The focus on STEM is also evident, with various technology tricks and resources to keep the building relevant.

    "We wanted to design a building that would be there in another 30 years and would be usable for new teaching practices in the next 10-20 years," Adamson says.

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  • Language and Learning

    The Arrernte Secondary Project at Alice Springs Language Centre in the Northern Territory is creating pathways for students to become Aboriginal language teachers. Its programs teach students the Arrernte language and other local dialects and support them to apply for language-based work.

    Jannette McCormack, from the Arrernte language group and an educator who has spent more than 30 years teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Alice Springs public schools, heads the innovative program, which has helped students to become more engaged with school and increased attendance rates. It also offers opportunities for students to incorporate their own language in further study and employment.

    "Our students want to learn their language because they can see that it will offer them jobs in the future. Then they want to share what they have learned with the younger ones."

    McCormack has supported five school-based trainees to become Arrernte educators and they now work in Alice Springs schools. She has also supported a Pertame student (Southern Arrernte) to begin working as an apprentice at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in the Northern Territory. Some of the trainees are also completing formal teacher training while working in the school’s language program.

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