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Missouri High School Develops an Intentional and Proactive Approach to a Positive School Climate

Lindbergh High School, St. Louis, M.O.
 

Although high schools are often difficult environments for attaining character education goals, Lindbergh, located in a 2008 National District of Character, has successfully integrated character into school life with an intentional and proactive approach. Almost all service learning activities are curriculum-based. Ron Helms, principal, states, “The positive climate created with the We Are Lindbergh Way has contributed to a drastic decrease in bullying incidents in our school. The norm is to step up and make sure that our campus [is] free from bullying behavior.” Topic Time gives students the opportunity to discuss character issues that might not be addressed in the classroom. Helms also notes that “the word discipline has all but been removed from [the school’s] vocabulary, and is instead replaced with words such as responsibility or making it right.” Lindbergh has gained a reputation for being a place where core values are brought to life.
 

Nurturing Confidence, Compassion, and Personal Excellence in Students

Corpus Christi College, Bateman, Western Australia

Corpus Christi College is a co-educational high school of nearly 1,200 students located just south of Perth. The school provides a modern, exciting, and forward-thinking education experience for students, nurturing confidence, compassion, and personal excellence. The school is committed to educating young people to serve as school and community leaders and students are prepared to become life-long learners and global citizens.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Corpus Christi College has established a functional school-based core health and well-being team with clear processes and roles to support their work. The school has increased the number of trained staff and the range of professional development opportunities available to support staff wellness. Students are encouraged to take proactive leadership roles in mental health and well-being initiatives and mental health and resilience themes are integrated throughout the curriculum and extracurricular activities. Parent, family, and community involvement has expanded with regular parent information forums and direct links with community mental health services.

Every Individual Has a Role to Play

Aitken College, Greenvale, Victoria, Australia

Aitken College is a co-educational and independent preK–12 school serving families living in the northwest region of Melbourne. Students are encouraged to use their expanding knowledge as a basis for investigation, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. The school's well-being and mental health program is proactive, hands-on, skill-based, and data driven. The school has developed a core team, comprising a wide range of dedicated staff that raises awareness of well-being issues and develops different mental health and well-being initiatives. This core team is then able to inform policy and program development based around key concepts of student-staff well-being as a whole-school approach and that every individual has an important role to play.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Aitken College has a comprehensive life skills curriculum for all students that addresses self-image, self-esteem, relationships, sex and drug education, resiliency, bullying, mental health, and well-being. The school supports staff wellness, meditation classes for both staff and students, and a cybersafety group.

Building a Positive School Culture for Diverse Students

Woodville High School, Woodville, South Australia

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Woodville High School has a complex and diverse student population with students coming from 56 cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In 2010, 12 percent of students were identified as students with disabilities, 51 percent as English language learners, and nearly 40 percent are from non English-speaking backgrounds.

Recently well-being became a key focus of at Woodville High School and was incorporated into the site learning plan. Since then, the school has developed initiatives on youth empowerment, building relationships, as well as a "no blame" and a restorative approach to behavior management. School policies have been revised and new procedures around bullying and harassment, including cyberbullying, have been developed. Staff are more confident and have the resources to address a range of mental health concerns and mentoring, parent, and community programs have been established.

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.

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.

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