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School Program Helps Students Reach Their Full Potential

Canberra Secondary School, Singapore

This school aspires to develop students to their full potential—to teach them the right values, create a mindset for excellence, and nurture them to be responsible and caring citizens.  The Character Development Committee at this school put in place a structured program to enhance students' social emotional competencies. At the beginning of the year the Committee—after assessing student social emotional competencies—determines student social emotional needs. The Committee plans social emotional workshops and wellbeing periods to help them work on the needed skills. The workshops at this school were aimed at providing students with strategies to understand their strengths and weakness, teach them skills to help them cope with transition and change management, as well as encourage them to accept responsibility, and look ahead to the future. The wellness lessons helped their students develop self-awareness and self-management skills that will help them achieve personal overall wellbeing. The program served as a platform for teacher-student interaction and helped to develop camaraderie among students. At the end of the year students evaluate their competencies, which is then used to evaluate the program. The Wellbeing Program at Canberra Secondary School is a Singapore Health Promotion Board Platinum CHERISH Award winner for its efforts to improve student overall health and wellbeing.

School Library Positively Affects School Environment and Student Achievement

Swann Valley High School, Saginaw, MI

Students often mention the library when asked what's so special about Swan Valley High School, in Saginaw, Mich. The library—which was nominated by whole child partner American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) for it's 2013 National School Library Program of the Year (NSLPY) Award—is a part of every aspect within the school, creating an environment where all students can do learning attitude. School library programs were cut in every other school in the district, but the high school's administrators, parents, and teachers fought hard to keep Swan Valley High's library open—citing its positive effect on student achievement as a reason to keep the program alive.
 

Language Learning Meets Emotional Understanding

Open High School, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia
 

Open High School—designated a MindMatters school by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute—s a school like no other. Centered in Randwick, Australia, the school specializes in languages via distance learning. Nearly 2,000 students from both public and private schools have the opportunity to choose from 103 courses in 13 languages that are not available to them in their local schools. Aside from language offerings, Open High School is committed to providing an emotionally supportive learning environment for all of its students and staff.

Individualized Learning Shapes Successful Students

Dubbo School of Distance Education, Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia
 

Dubbo School of Distance Education has been designated a MindMatters school by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute. The school, centered in Dubbo, Australia, provides individualized distance education options for students in preschool through 12th grade who are either unable to attend a face-to-face school or are pursuing a course of study that is unavailable at their local school. The flexibility that Dubbo provides allows students to receive a quality education that is tailored to their personal needs and lifestyles. Most notably, Dubbo has worked to improve access to mental health resources for its students and their families, helping them gain necessary support outside of the learning environment.

School Staff Works Tirelessly to Improve their Students

Milwaukie High School, Milwaukie, OR.

Milwaukie High School's staff works tirelessly to improve their students’ academic, social, and emotional growth; to expand their educational practices; and sharpen the administration’s focus on staff professional development. Incoming students’ reading and math proficiency are assessed by trained staff and additional supplementary reading and math courses are provided as needed. Teams of staff meet once a week with a group of school counselors, mental and physical health providers, social workers, and administrators to discuss ways to support at-risk students. During these meetings, participants collaborate to build individual intervention plans for these students, which can include academic support, mental or physical health care, or other social services.  The strong sense of service Milwaukie High School teachers demonstrate is mirrored in their students’ participation in the community. Students better understand the relevancy of their learning through service learning opportunities, career-technical programs, and the performing arts. The school has seen improvements in reading and math achievement in participating students, and its graduation rate has steadily improved beyond Oregon state’s average. Milwaukie High School received the 2013 Vision in Action: The Whole Child Award for its tireless efforts to improve.

Award Winning School is Committed to Helping its Students Achieve

Byrne Creek Secondary School, Burnaby, BC

Byrne Creek Secondary School, located in Burnaby, British Columbia, is the 2012 winner of the association’s Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Since opening in 2005, Byrne Creek Secondary School has been committed to providing a safe, caring, and comprehensive learning environment for its 1,250 students in grades 8–12. The surrounding neighbourhood has a high population of immigrants, many of whom are refugees. More than 60 percent of Byrne Creek’s students have a first language other than English. Though there are challenges, Byrne Creek has naturally become a culturally rich hub where students and families come together to share, celebrate, and connect with resources. Even the building’s design encourages belonging with bright natural light, large open spaces for community gatherings, and a 120-seat video conferencing “Centre for Dialogue” modeled after that of the United Nations. In June 2011, in recognition of the work being done to support the community, the district designated Byrne Creek as a pilot Community School for the 2011–12 school year.

 

 

Intensive College Preparatory School Achieves Impressive Results with Low-Income Students

The Preuss School UCSD, La Jolla, C.A.
 

This public charter school of 800 students in grades 6–12 provides an intensive college preparatory education for low-income students drawn from all over San Diego, each representing the first generation in their family to attend college. Through the implementation of a single-track curriculum, smaller classes and individualized student supports, Preuss has achieved impressive results. Students in 10th grade have attained a 100 percent pass rate on the California High School Exit Exam for the past five years. The school boasts a 99 percent graduation rate, a 97 percent attendance rate, and a 96 percent rate of acceptance of its seniors into four-year colleges, excellent examples of the school’s proven success and why it was recognized by Newsweek as the nation’s top 2011 “Miracle High School.”
 

School and Communtiy Pride is Driven by Student Success

Pierce County High School, Blackshear, G.A.
 

Whether in a classroom or on an athletic field, student achievement drives the success that builds pride in a community and a school. Nowhere is this truer than at Pierce County High School in rural southeast Georgia. The school’s 965 students, almost half of whom are economically disadvantaged, have demonstrated what leadership focused on student learning can accomplish. In 2004, PCHS ranked at the bottom of the state in students passing the high school graduation tests and only 55 percent of the students graduated. In 2011, 86 percent of the students graduated and the school ranked 17th in the state on the graduation exams. Everyone wants to be the best: a result of high expectations, solid achievement and collaboration.
 

Staff Commitment Turns School Environment Into a Place of Learning

Bloomfield High School, Bloomfield, N.J.

Changing the culture of a large, diverse high school from a place of teaching to a place of learning requires determination and the commitment of the entire school staff. Documented growth for all students and closing achievement gaps over the last five years has demonstrated that Bloomfield High School has made this transformation. BHS is a microcosm of America. Its nearly 2,000 students, 45 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged, and 16 percent of whom receive special education services, are almost equally African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic. Consistent academic growth over time has led to the community’s resurgent pride in the school and the school being named a 2010 National Title I Distinguished School.
 

Innovative Learning Program earns National Recognition

Eagle Rock, Estes Park, C.O.
 

Eagle Rock, an initiative of the American Honda Education Corporation, is both a school for high school–age students who have dropped out of school elsewhere and a professional development center for adults, particularly educators. The school is a year-round, residential, and full-scholarship school that enrolls young people ages 15–17 from around the United States in an innovative learning program with national recognition. The Professional Development Center works with educators from around the country who wish to study how to re-engage, retain, and graduate students. ERS's success hinges on character development as a means to improve academic performance.
 

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