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Looking Beyond the Horizons for Positive Change and Well-Being

St. Pius X College, Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia

St. Pius X College located in the northern suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, aims to promote the spiritual, academic, social, cultural, and physical growth of its students. Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, the College seeks to engage students, staff, parents, and the community to look beyond the horizons of the "now" and to imagine and realize a better world where a positive difference can be made. St. Pius X College allows all students to experience successes as well as providing the challenge for the attainment of excellence.

After experiencing the death of a student in 2005, a firm commitment was made to promote the importance of positive mental health and well-being of all members of the school community. Today, St. Pius X College has a greater sense of connectedness between students, empowering them to take the initiative to seek out help for each other and themselves, if the need arises. Additionally, there is a greater level of acceptance of the notion that every person's mental health and well-being is important and, through structured and informal activities across the whole school, there is an improved and strengthened net of care and support within the College.

Responding to Individual Student Needs Brings Success

Lake Macquarie High School, Booragul, New South Wales, Australia

Lake Macquarie High School is a small school on the north coast of New South Wales in Australia. Student welfare underpins the school's success and values of tolerance, understanding, responsibility, caring, respect, and cooperation are part of the school culture. An outstanding feature of the school is the experienced and dedicated teachers who deliver effective pastoral care programs that reinforce positive behaviors. Teachers regularly participate in training and development to support the school's commitment to excellence.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Lake Macquarie High School has used the framework to become more flexible in its approach to individual student needs. Resources and training are used to extend knowledge and perceptions around mental health issues and, as a result, students and parents are receiving personalized guidance and assistance on issues including self-harm, depression, eating disorders, and grief and loss.

Connecting to the Community to Promote Well-Being for All

Cedars Christian College, Farmborough Heights, New South Wales, Australia

Over the last thirty years, Cedars Christian College has grown to offer a quality educational experience for more than 600 students from preK through secondary school. The school has a prominent standing in the area and has a reputation for its strong pastoral care programs and links to the community. Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, the school is served by teachers and support staff focused on providing a safe and supportive teaching and learning environment and are committed to promoting the social and emotional well-being of the whole community.

Strong Values Guide School Community to Success

Melrose High School, Pearce, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Melrose High School nurtures and values social and cultural learning abilities and styles. The inclusive environment provides students with a diverse range of learning opportunities with the goal of producing leaders and learners of the future. The school reinforces strong values which are based on "RESPECT:" Resources, Effort, Self, Peers, Environment, Community, Teachers. The values guide the school community in the way they conduct themselves. They also reinforce a safe and health-promoting environment which ensures that every student has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Melrose High School is an outstanding and inclusive government school whose multicultural composition is reflected in the strong cultivation of students as global citizens. The school works closely with its local and extended community to provide a well-balanced and stimulating curriculum with strengths in academic, sporting, and cultural pursuits. Specialist learning facilities, a new gymnasium, and a wonderful array of sporting and recreational facilities enable students to enjoy the educationally stimulating environment and the friendship of a diverse student body.

Once a Failing School, Now a Breakthrough Institution

Amityville Memorial High School, Suffolk County, N.Y.

Recognized as a 2011 Breakthrough School by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals, Amityville Memorial High School in Suffolk County, N.Y., has truly overcome its previous identification as a failing school.

Principal Scott Andrews has led the focus on the four Rs—relevance, respect, responsibility, and relationships—as academic rigor increases and the achievement gap closes between the 86 percent minority population. Along with academics, communication and trust continue to increase among the students and staff through events like the Amityville Awareness Weekend, where 120 needs-based students are chosen to spend an engaging weekend at school developing their social-emotional skills while fostering a sense of acceptance and respect for themselves and others.

Amityville's motto is "The best is yet to come," and based on the achievements thus far, we believe it.

Diversity is School’s Strength

Glencliff High School, Nashville, Tenn.

"Our diversity is our strength" is the mantra that rings throughout Glencliff High School, a recipient of whole child partner Coalition for Community Schools' 2011 National Community Schools Award for Excellence. Representing more than 40 different countries and nationalities within its student body, Glencliff is the most diverse high school in the state of Tennessee.

Thanks to strong support from business and community partnerships as well as the school's drive to promote student learning, Glencliff High School has the largest number of dual-enrollment students in all of Nashville. Students' scores on writing assessments have skyrocketed from 58 to 93 percent proficient or advanced. More than 80 percent of students feel that the school climate has improved because of the partnerships. Based on Glencliff High School's inspiring work, its school climate will only get better.

Learning by Doing, Part of a Challenging Curriculum

Quest Early College High School, Humble, Tex.

A personalized and nurturing learning experience for all students is the foundational goal at Quest Early College High School—winner of the 2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award—in Humble, Tex.

Through community partnerships and collaborations, students learn by doing by taking part in service learning, internships, and social actions that allow them to understand the relevance of what they learn. Students to take ownership of their own learning by designing their own physical fitness goals and activities, beginning college coursework that can earn them up to 60 college credits while in high school, and designing their own senior capstone research projects that reflect a social issue that has personal meaning.

Elements Come Together to Create Positive School Atmosphere

B. F. Terry High School, Rosenberg, Tex.

The elements are coming together at B. F. Terry High School in Rosenberg, Tex., as staff, parents, and students work together to create an environment that promotes effective learning. Although 6 out of 10 students at B. F. Terry live in poverty, gone are the days of poor school culture and marginal engagement in class.

Principal Vera Wehring encourages the practice of strategies from Breaking Ranks I: collaboration; personalization; and curriculum, instruction, and assessment. With attention on professional development and making teachers accessible to students throughout the day, this 2011 Breakthrough School (as awarded by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals) hosts a positive school culture and truly fosters high achievement.

Priority School Makes Comeback as Breakthrough School

North Brunswick High School, Leland, N.C.

Deemed a "priority school" by the state four years ago, North Brunswick High School in Leland, N.C., has made incredible strides in breaking the cycle of low student performance, culminating in the receipt of a 2011 Breakthrough School Award by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Principal Sheila Grady has helped promote the expansion of instructional leadership, the creation of professional learning communities, and the use of formative assessments and bridge courses to close the achievement gap at the school. Success has come through the school's inspiring dedication to leadership—more than half of the teachers at the high school serve in leadership roles. In 2010, the school's proficiency rate increased to 85 percent from 48 percent, a true testament to the dedication to student achievement at North Brunswick High School.

Meeting Societal Challenges on a Global Level

Worcester Technical High School, Worcester, Mass.

Preparing students to meet the challenges of a global society is at the core of Worcester (Mass.) Technical High School's mission as it strives for excellence across the 24 different technical programs available to students.

Although 65 percent of the student body is economically disadvantaged and 21 percent is special needs, Worcester Tech has still made adequate yearly progress four years in a row, has decreased the dropout rate, and enrolls increasing numbers of students in honors or advanced placement courses. Principal Sheila Harrity has helped transform the school, through the formation of a strong community, into a positive school atmosphere that truly values student achievement.

It's no wonder that Worcester Technical High School, in addition to being the highest-performing high school in the district, is a recipient of the 2011 Breakthrough School Award from the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals.

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