At the beginning of 2015, six schools across Australia received up to $20,000 each in Schools Plus’ inaugural Smart Giving round.
Their projects, all now underway, have been identified by the principals and teachers at these schools as the best way to tackle the particular challenges faced by their students and communities. The schools are evaluating their projects regularly and reporting back to Schools Plus – the results are shared with donors, the schools’ communities and on our website.
Montrose Bay High School (Hobart) chose MindMatters – a program designed by mental health organisation beyondblue – to build students’ resilience and combat high suspension rates, low levels of literacy and student attendance issues. Year 7 students were targeted first – their teachers were trained in Term 1, and the students were exposed to a range of strategies to support their own positive mental health. The children have displayed their chosen strategies inside their lockers so they see them regularly.
Cabramatta High School (Sydney) – With more than 1400 students from 43 countries, Cabramatta High is focused on improving students’ literacy levels by teaching them strong study skills that ensure they perform their best in exams. About 80 parents are also going to workshops to learn how to better support their children’s learning.
Sunshine College (Melbourne) – This school is investing its donation in professional development for teachers. Twenty staff identified as emerging leaders are undergoing training to build their leadership capacity. A ‘tool box’ of resources and videos documenting best classroom practice is also being created.
Yeronga State High School (Brisbane) – Through the Trade Training Pathways project, about 140 of Yeronga’s Year 10-12 students study trade subjects to give them better job prospects. The school has purchased equipment so the students can manufacture high-grade furniture such as bookshelves and TV units, and set up a small business selling their products. The school has also partnered with Blue Dog Training to organise industry placements and school-based apprenticeships.
Saint Joseph’s Catholic College (NT) – To help overcome the disadvantage of its remote location, Saint Joseph’s has purchased video-conferencing equipment. The equipment will, for example, enable students to compete against debating teams in Darwin and worldwide and go on ‘virtual excursions’ of major international museums. Teachers will hear education experts speak and attend training via VC, while parents can take part in parent-teacher meetings from their communities.
Morphett Vale Primary School (Adelaide) – Giving children a positive start to school is the aim of this school’s project. Pre-school aged children from disadvantaged families attend weekly Learn and Grow sessions, which give them increased language, cognitive and social skills. Parents are introduced to the school community and taught how to nurture their children’s skills and confidence.