Tagged “School Climate”

A Whole School Approach to Well-Being

Nazareth Catholic College, Findon, South Australia

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Nazareth Catholic College is a secondary school situated in Adelaide's western suburbs. The school caters for students from diverse cultural backgrounds and offers flexible learning programs to accommodate individual needs. A strong commitment to a whole school approach to well-being and social-emotional learning is a key component of its vision. As a result, staff and students have increased their awareness of mental health and well-being, and mental health difficulties are being demystified through deeper understanding. The school environment has become more inclusive and connected; there has been a significant decrease in incidents of bullying and harassment; and mentor groups provide forums for all students to comfortably express themselves and teachers recognize the importance of forming positive relationships with all students in the group.

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.

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."

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.

Reflective Learning Creates Mecca for Success

Robert M. Finley Middle School, Glen Cove, N.Y.

Robert M. Finley Middle School has become the spotlight of Glen Cove, N.Y., culminating in recognition as a 2011 Breakthrough School by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals.

At Finley Middle School, Principal Anael Alston has helped transform the once poor environment into a center for success. Determined to celebrate diversity and increase achievement through building community, Finley Middle School is committed to investing in the human capital already in the building: its students. The reflective learning initiative, standardized schoolwide notebook system, and project-based learning practices have helped foster among the students a love for learning and drive to succeed.

Developing Leadership Skills to Plan for Success

Sidney Glen Elementary, Port Orchard, Wash.

The school culture at Sidney Glen Elementary School in Port Orchard, Wash., emphasizes a safe and supportive environment that focuses on developing leadership aptitude for each child. Using Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People framework, students are guided to proactively set their own learning goals, set plans to attain those goals, and prioritize the steps to achieve them.

By also recognizing the importance of personalized learning, identifying students' unique talents, and setting high expectations, Sidney Glen is helping prepare kids to be responsible for their learning and achievement inside and outside of the school building.

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