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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.

A Welcoming Community Provides a Safe and Inclusive Learning Environment

Guilford Young College, Glenorchy, Tasmania, Australia

Guilford Young College is a co-educational senior secondary school in Tasmania. The school prides itself on acknowledging the whole person, encourages achievement, participation, and service and commits itself to the development of lifelong learning and the respect for self and others. It is a welcoming, compassionate community that provides a safe and inclusive learning environment for all.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Guilford Young College has increased its knowledge and understanding of mental health and further embedded the importance of a whole school approach to health and well-being. Responsibility and leadership has been broadly distributed across the staff and a parent group provides an open and non-threatening forum for parents to raise their concerns about student well-being, to provide feedback on school policies that impact on students and families, and to provide expert input on mental health and social pressures for young people.

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.

Meeting the Needs of a Diverse Student Body

Coombabah State High School, Coombabah, Queensland, Australia

Coombabah State High School was established in 1986 as the community high school for the northern suburbs of the Gold Coast, serving students from a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds. The student population has a high degree of mobility and this transient factor contributes to the increasing challenge for teachers to provide challenging and meaningful learning opportunities—at least 30 per cent of the student body is new to the school each year. The school offers many vocational education subjects ranging from hospitality, business, child care, multimedia, and health, to community and recreation. Students can also select from a vast range of academic subjects.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Coombabah State High School has been able to develop a supportive environment for all students and staff. For example, all year 8 teachers meet with student support teams, the head of the middle school, and outside personnel, including a mental health expert to identify at-risk students. Teachers are trained to quickly identify students who they feel are experiencing difficulties in the classroom in relation to coping skills, content, and social issues. The students are then interviewed and individual programs are developed to assist in the areas of concern.

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.

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.

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