Tagged “School Connectedness”

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Supporting Disengaged Youth In and Beyond School

Albury Wodonga Community College, Wodonga, Victoria, Australia

Albury Wodonga Community College is an independent school for disengaged youth who face multiple barriers to learning and engagement in school. Since opening in 2006, the school has realized that it needs to provide both school and community level support for its students. The school is not solely focused on helping students finish school, but given the high number of students with mental health issues, is also committed to providing students with the knowledge and resources they require to cope with their issues. This includes knowledge of local support agencies and referral and links with community partners. Many students leave the school with the capacity to identify when they need support and know how to access it.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Albury Wodonga Community College has increased opportunities for students to successfully re-engage with education, established alternative pathways for student success, provided programs for young mothers, built facilities to assist with engagement with and connectedness to the school, and created stronger and more efficient community partnerships to support off-site classes along with a case worker to follow up with those students with extensive needs.

Well-Being Teams Ensure Support for Students

Victor Harbor High School, Victor Harbor, South Australia

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Victor Harbor High School is the only government high school on the south coast of South Australia. The school uses a distributive leadership model across the school and has developed a whole school approach to pastoral care. Well-being teams meets regularly throughout each term and smaller student support teams meet on a regular basis to help with identification and case management of students experiencing high support needs. The school has been able to promote well-being across the school, increase levels of student-staff connectedness, document an increase in positive relationships between students, and practice a more holistic approach to case managing individual students.

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.

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.

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.

Connecting Students to Their Community and Beyond

Northport High School, Northport, N.Y.

Students at Northport High School in Northport, N.Y., are intent on making a difference in the world. A large part of the school's culture centers on a strong sense of civic engagement that lends to students being connected and involved in the school's academic and social life; serving local community needs; and participating in advocacy, global awareness, and social-development projects.

With a challenging and diverse curriculum that infuses civic education and student empowerment, Northport students have opportunities to demonstrate leadership skills that connect what they learn in class to the world around them.

At Northport, young people have many opportunities to be active leaders for social justice in the community. Students for 60,000 is a student organization that provides humanitarian assistance to those in need. Projects have included feeding and clothing the poor or homeless locally and internationally and teaching English to recent immigrants in their town.

Also members of A Mid-winter Night's Dream, another student club, have testified before Congress on issues related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. These students have been able to conduct research alongside scientists and have raised over $1.5 million in seven years to support patients with ALS and further research.

Student Voice and Project-Based Learning

Malcolm Price Laboratory School, Cedar Falls, Iowa

The 2010 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award winner, Malcolm Price Laboratory School, in Cedar Falls, Iowa, has a long-standing tradition of focusing on the whole child. Price Lab believes that its community is not so much a place as an experience of feeling valued, connected, and responsible.

Among other efforts, the K–12 school actively seeks to engage students through programs that support project-based learning. Students in elementary, middle, and high school devise or choose projects of personal interest—examples include hosting a radio show, investigating string theory, producing a film production, and developing a game. The students then see these projects through from conception to completion.

This student-centered approach has been fundamental in developing important 21st century skills, such as demonstrating initiative and self-direction, and using individual talents for productive outcomes. It has also allowed students to have a greater voice and develop a greater sense of ownership in the school and its activities.

Canadian High School Encourages Parents and Students to be Proactive in School Community

Iroquois Ridge High School, Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Iroquois Ridge High School in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, has focused on increasing the involvement of the school community and establishing a parental engagement program that matches parents' skills with the school's needs. Its transition program helps 9th graders connect to the school community by developing a sense of belonging.

Additionally, on-site community professionals provide access to services for youth and parents. The Tuesday at Ten and Tuesday at Seven programs connect parents with one another and with the school to support learning about healthy lifestyle choices. Students have been heavily involved in advocating for and opening a local youth health clinic, the first-ever in Oakville. Iroquois Ridge is a Healthy School Communities site.

 

 

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