Tagged “Middle Grades”

Strong Community Connectedness Builds Confidence

Clayfield College, Clayfield, Queensland, Australia

Clayfield College is a preK–12 day and boarding school located in the Brisbane suburbs that offers a safe and supportive learning environment, where personal excellence is encouraged. Students come from diverse cultural backgrounds, have varied ability levels, and receive quality teaching and learning within a broad and engaging curriculum, including academic and vocational pathways. Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, students experience a strong feeling of belonging to the community and, through participation in activities, build greater confidence and develop and strengthen relationships; staff feel respected and valued; and parents, families, and members of the community are viewed as vital pieces of the jigsaw.

Respecting and Valuing All Members of the Community

Kormilda College, Berrimah, Northern Territory, Australia

Kormilda College is an independent, coeducational, multicultural, day and residential secondary school serving the people of Northern Australia. The College was founded by the Northern Territory Government in 1967 to provide Aboriginal students living in isolated locations with access to secondary and further education. Kormilda College has grow into a vibrant multicultural learning community, with an enrollment of approximately 1,000 students, the majority of whom are day students from the greater Darwin area.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, the school has adopted a whole-school approach to pastoral care. Outcomes have included increased levels of resilience, more effective communication, mapping and managing mental health, promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity, and preventing harassment and bullying. The ultimate outcome is a positive school community, where all members are valued and respected.

School Organizes to Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Wagga Wagga Christian College, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Wagga Wagga Christian College is a coeducational K–12 school which fosters a family environment that develops responsibility and trust between peers and multi-aged young people. In 2007, the faculty determined the need to develop a welfare system to be proactive and responsive, not reactive. As a result the school has refined its transition programs, building stronger links with parents and the community beyond the school; expanded its student leadership program, empowering students at all levels of leadership; and implemented resilience programs, highlighting the safe use of social networks, cyberbullying, and sex education and relationships. Feedback is sought at parent association meetings about the mental health and well-being programs that could be implemented for students and parents.

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.

Middle School Looks to Social Curriculum for Success

Jefferson Middle School, Champaign, Ill.

A first–time recipient of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform 2011 Schools to Watch® Award, Jefferson Middle School in Champaign, Ill., prides itself on continually enhancing its positive school climate through a social curriculum.

The curriculum, based on a combination of Positive Behavior Intervention Support, Positive Behavior Facilitation, and Howard Glasser's "Nurtured Heart Approach," has helped the school see a remarkable decrease in discipline referrals (down 54.7 percent) and suspensions (down 63.6 percent). Heavily committed to closing the achievement gap, Jefferson Middle School also focuses on asking the best questions about how it can improve each student's individual school experience rather than immediately addressing best practices.

Jefferson Middle School is also a National AVID Demonstration School and a SMART Showcase School.

Believing Leads to Achieving

Hotchkiss K–8 School, Hotchkiss, Colo.

A recipient of the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform's 2011 Schools to Watch® Award, Hotchkiss K–8 School in Colorado is set on maintaining a positive school culture through focusing on their "Famous 3": passion, purpose, and plan.

Dedicated to providing middle-level students with the utmost ability to achieve success, programs like Child Advocacy Program (CAP) and Help, Understanding, Guidance & Support (HUGS) have been used to instill a sense of responsibility among students, promote proactive engagement, and develop a relationship between the staff and students that encourages high performance across both an academic and nonacademic spectrum.

Hotchkiss K–8 continues to flourish as an exemplary school, and we agree wholeheartedly with their motto: "If you believe, you can achieve."

Working Together to Close Achievement Gap

Abington School District, Pa.

The Abington School District in Pennsylvania is one that truly understands the importance of closing the achievement gap with minority, low-income, and special education students through significant parent involvement and unique initiatives and practices.

The Abington Community Taskforce has helped create programs like the Abington Community Celebration, which raised more than $100,000 to fund youth-oriented activities and has helped the district excel in academic programs. All elementary schools have exceeded their adequate yearly progress goals, and over 90 percent of Abington's graduating classes pursue higher education, earning over $5 million in scholarships.

Abington School District is a four-time recipient of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition.

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