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2009 Showcase Awards for Excellence in Schools > 2006 Awards > 2006 Regional Awards winners >

Greater Brisbane Region

Boondall State School
ELFs at Work Early Literacy Fundamentals
The Network Ten Showcase Award for Excellence in the Early Phase of Learning

Boondall State School is providing a strong start in literacy for the diversity of students attending the school. Early years teachers and the Support Teacher Learning Difficulties (STLD) have established an early years literacy intervention framework, based around the University of Queensland Early Literacy Fundamentals (UQELF commonly known as the ELF program).

This program focuses on accelerating the early literacy skills of students considered at risk of experiencing literacy difficulties in the future. More than 25 percent of Boondall's students speak another language at home, with about 26 non-English-speaking groups represented in the student population.

In 2003, 28 percent of Year 2 students, 29 percent of Year 3 students and 41 percent of Year 5 students were identified as requiring literacy support.

The ELF program is designed to develop students' phonological and motor skills and provide positive emotional support for these young students to build their literacy skills and confidence in their own abilities. The program also focuses on building the knowledge of teachers and support staff in order to assist students.

The ELF framework uses three intervention strategies: working with students at risk of developing future literacy difficulties, classroom intervention and parent information sessions, and assisting students with severe difficulties.

In 2004, all Year 1 students were screened using tests suggested by the UQELF team. This screening has continued with students in Years 2 and 3.

Boondall State School 's Year 3 Literacy Test results have increased significantly since the ELF program began. The percentage of students identified as being in the bottom 15 percent of the state has decreased from 21.6 percent to 3.9 percent. When compared to National Literacy Benchmarks, 97.4 percent of all Boondall's Year 3 students in 2005 were identified as achieving above the national reading benchmarks and 91.6 percent in writing.

The percentage of staff involved in professional development has increased from 74 percent to 88 percent.

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Thornlands State School
Igniting Writing with SPARKS
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia Showcase Award for Excellence in the Middle Phase of Learning

Thornland State School 's SPARKS program aims to rekindle the passion for writing in the school community.

A daily focus on writing and strategies that clearly outline expectations, 'chunk' activities and encourage risk-taking, have seen authorship, confidence and self-esteem improve in the middle school.

Established in 2004, the program gives students daily opportunities to apply their learning in individual writing activities, maintaining a writing folder as a record of their writing for the year.

In 2004 05, three students reached the regional finals of the Nestle Write Around Australia Competition. In the 2005 Year 7 Tests, 95 percent of Thornlands students achieved results above the national benchmark for writing. The Queensland average for these tests rose 37 points from 2004, while Thornlands students registered a 92-percent improvement in the same period.

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Wynnum North State High School
Middle School Program
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia Showcase Award for Excellence in the Middle Phase of Learning

Wynnum North State High's Middle School program embraces a range of middle school philosophies to cater for a wide range of learning requirements at this vital time in a student's education.

Year 8 students have two key teachers, who collaborate to plan cross-curricular units of work. Special education students are integrated into regular classes for most of their lessons with a special education teacher as a 'co-teacher' for each class.

The laptop and sports immersion classes provide vehicles for learning that cater for specific interests and learning styles as well as integrating ICTs into the curricum. Wynnum North's middle school teachers are involved in teaching exchanges with colleagues from across the cluster of primary schools.

All middle school students are involved in an explicit literacy program that is designed specifically for the reading ability of the student.

To round off the program Wynnum North State High enables students to accelerate their learning in Year 9 and participate in special interest and extension programs.

The middle school reading program has achieved an average improvement of

2.3 school year levels for Years 8 and 9 students over two years. Since the introduction of the literacy program, comprehension levels have improved 80 percent.

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Mount Gravatt State High School
Sustainable Futures Program
The RACQ Showcase Award for Excellence in the Senior Phase of Learning

In 2005 the United Nations declared that education for Sustainable Development was a primary focus and that teaching young people values and an appreciation for their surroundings was paramount for the future success of the planet.

At Mount Gravatt State High School, the Sustainable Futures Program allows all students to make worthwhile changes within the school and local community, and on a personal level.

Students have rehabilitated wildlife corridors, developed green belts within school grounds, established bush gardens and undertaken both recycling and water conservation programs.

The Sustainable Futures Program has enabled senior students to gain real-life, hands-on experience and insight into a variety of career options. Eleven percent of students who participated in the program in 2004 have gone onto further environmental studies, including certificate qualifications in horticulture.

As a result of the program, the school was named Brisbane 's Greenest and Healthiest School in 2005 and is a finalist in the 2006 Healthy Waterways Competition. There has also been an increase of more than 450 percent in the number of students involved in the school's Ecocentre program since 2000, bringing the participation level to around 120 students.

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Sunnybank State High School
Diversifying the Future
The RACQ Showcase Award for Excellence in the Senior Phase of Learning

The dramatic renewal of Sunnybank State High School began in 2002, and has resulted in a revitalised school culture that is bringing new opportunities for students to succeed.

This journey of change initially started with a focus on improving student performance, prompted by low achievement levels, Queensland Core Skills Test results and high truancy rates. It has since created an entirely new school culture.

Over the past four years, the school has reshaped teaching practices, co-curricular programs and leadership structures, in addition to strengthening partnerships with the community.

Student life at Sunnybank has undergone dramatic changes and now offers improved academic and social opportunities as part of a refocused approach to the Senior Phase of Schooling. Vocational education options for students have been broadened, with the number of school-based apprenticeships and traineeships increasing by 1025 percent since 2002.

Sunnybank State High School won the 2003 Australian National Quality Schooling Award in School Leadership for their whole-school renewal and the 2005 Premier's Award for the Inaugural Queensland Multicultural School of the Year for their pastoral care program.

There has also been a 34-percent increase in Year 12 graduates taking up full-time employment or further study, with 75 percent of students making these successful transitions.

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Greenslopes State School
One Place One Race
The Media Monitors Showcase Award for Excellence in the Inclusive Education

Greenslopes State School educates children born in 35 different countries. Students learn and grow together thanks to a range of inclusive multicultural programs that help them succeed.

Success for the 'whole child' is paramount at Greenslopes. Social outcomes are as important as academic outcomes.

Success is also reflected in a harmonious school climate. Greenslopes is a place where children from diverse cultural backgrounds feel safe and accepted. Here, all children are valued members of the human race.

The school's New Arrivals Program began in 2001 to meet the needs of newly arrived refugee students and their families. Established in the same year, the Peer Mediation Program empowers older students through the use of strategies to help other children resolve interpersonal problems without aggression. These are combined with an Art Enrichment Program, choir activities and an Italian language program to ensure students from diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to engage in learning.

In 2003, Greenslopes State School 's New Arrivals Program won the Queensland Multicultural Services Award for primary schools for excellence in multicultural education. As a result of the program, no refugee student has been suspended or excluded from the school since 2001. Despite the complexity of its student population and its inherent challenges, Greenslopes State School enjoys a high level of support from its dedicated staff, scoring at least 10 percent above the state average in Staff Opinion Surveys since 2003.

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Junction Park State School
Many Cultures Make Life Work
The Media Monitors Showcase Award for Excellence in the Inclusive Education

In recent years Junction Park State School has implemented a range of programs to improve learning outcomes, while meeting the diverse educational and social needs of students learning English as a Second Language (ESL).

Many Cultures Make Life Work Living together; Growing together is an initiative that aims to create for every child and carer from the school's ESL families a feeling of belonging to a school community. The programs developed at Junction Park are designed to help students and their families experience education in its broadest sense, encompassing life skills, nutrition, health, public services and multiculturalism. Homework clubs, sports programs, home visits to isolated parents, conversation groups and a family mentoring program for newly arrived refugees all help to establish links between students, families and the school community to ensure the best possible educational outcomes for students.

Sixty-five percent of the school's ESL student population are refugees, many of whom have only known life in refugee camps before migrating to Australia.

A 50-percent rise in homework club attendance by refugee students to a total of 20 participating students and their families, and a 95-percent attendance rate at the school's first meeting for African parents this year indicate the success of the program. Teachers indicate a 50-percent reduction in playground behaviour incidents and 50 percent more families have been involved in the school's fete activities over the past three years.

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Kenmore Schools Cluster
Celebration of Young Ideas
The Queensland University of Technology Showcase Award for Excellence in Leadership

Celebration of Young Ideas is a week-long celebration of lifelong learning staged at Kenmore State High School.

The celebration is a collaborative venture of the parents and citizens associations of Kenmore State High and seven local primary schools. Activities include national and international speakers, an artist-in-residence program and a series of events around the theme of 'Young Ideas in...' various fields. The event promotes public education and provides a forum for the local community to reflect on current issues in education.

The first celebration was held in 2005 and attracted a huge amount of interest from local schools and communities. More than 2280 students took part in at least one Celebration of Young Ideas activity, while more than 150 teachers attended the professional development session and more than 150 members of the community attended the public lecture and program.

The celebration has also resulted in a growing sense of energy and identity among an already strong cluster of local schools. One collaborative project that has grown from the collegiality inspired by the celebration is a $96,000 exploration of environmental management being undertaken by cluster schools, local environmental groups and the University of Queensland.

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Mater Hospital Special School
Blackboards and Bandaids
The Queensland University of Technology Showcase Award for Excellence in Leadership

The Mater Hospital Special School (MHSS) has led the way in education innovation with a ground-breaking approach to excellence in education forging strong links between education and health.

In 2003, the school developed Blackboards and Bandaids, a support package featuring an innovative suite of programs to help the wider community support children with health-related issues, their families and their schools. The suite currently includes the Blackboards and Bandaids Conference, the Outreach Program and the Sibling Day Program.

The conference provides education professionals with the latest in research and contemporary management strategies, exploring topics such as cystic fibrosis, mental health and acquired brain injury. The Outreach Program involves liaison teachers providing MHSS staff and students with the latest information on medical conditions to assist in educational planning and transitions from hospital to school. As part of the Sibling Day Program, the brothers and sisters of children with cancer and cystic fibrosis are offered full-day programs to demystify medical conditions, help them understand their siblings' treatment regimes and explore issues of grief and loss.

MHSS teachers have consistently rated the school's inclusive education practices above the state mean for the past three years, with 100-percent satisfaction levels from 2003 to 2005. During 2005, 54 school visits were conducted, representing a total of 42 schools and 41 long-term chronically ill students. Alongside an 18-percent rise in positive feedback from Home School Surveys between 2003 and 2005, there are reports of increased retention rates, better facilitated continuity in education and more effective support for students with chronic illnesses.

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Cavendish Road State High School
Fast-track to a Science Future Innovation
The Courier-Mail Showcase Award for Excellence in Innovation

Cavendish Road State High School 's quest to raise the focus of science study has been so successful that it is known as a school of excellence in science and human movements.

This reputation is reflected in statistics that show up to 48 percent of Year 8 enrolments in 2005 saw Cavendish Road as the 'science school', compared with two percent in 2000.

Several years before the release of the State Government's Spotlight on Science agenda, Cavendish Road began to specialise in science education, complementing its existing sporting excellence programs. To step up its science capabilities, the school facilitated professional development opportunities for teachers, established partnerships with primary schools and universities and reworked the science curriculum.

The school also chose to specialise in biotechnology and biomechanics given their importance and potential growth in the Queensland economy.

Educational outcomes for Year 12 students with aspirations of a career in science include credit points towards a science degree at Griffith University or an applied science degree at QUT. In 2003, 11 students received accreditation from Griffith University for one biology subject. In 2005, this has grown to 16 students obtaining a biology subject accreditation, four receiving credit for their first year university chemistry studies and 12 students gaining credit for their QUT human movement studies. Of the students exiting the academy in 2005, 68 percent have moved into science-related university courses.

In 2003 the school won a National Quality Schooling Award for its efforts in establishing the Brisbane Academy of Science, winning a Doherty Award in 2004 for success in science education. In 2005 Cavendish Road State High School was named a Specialised School of Science in biotechnology and biomechanics.

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Thornlands State School
Dare to Be There
The Courier-Mail Showcase Award for Excellence in Innovation

Thornlands State School 's Dare to Be There program encourages all students to be leaders and mentors and to achieve their personal best.

By building strong social relationships, students become powerful role models for others, both academically and socially. Through a rich program of activities, students are empowered to develop life skills and self-esteem, and to participate in building strong links in their own communities.

Established in 2003, the initiative includes the CATS (Children At Thornlands School) social skills program, a Big Buddy program of friendship and mentoring activities to build a sense of community among students, and a range of intervention activities that involve Years 6 and 7 student leaders focus helping to solve the difficulties students may face in the curriculum, especially in reading. The CATS program is available in hard copy and on CD-ROM for teachers to access and update when necessary.

Students graduating from Thornlands in 2004 and 2005 left with performances above the state average in maths, spelling and reading. Improved academic performance has been achieved across the board. In 2000, 33 percent of Year 2 students needed additional reading support and 20 percent requiring support in numeracy. In 2003, when these students were in Year 5, 18.7 percent were identified in the bottom 15 percent in the state in reading. When these students were in Year 7 in 2005, this percentage was halved to 8.9 percent.

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Virginia State School
One Virginia Spirit
The Courier-Mail Showcase Award for Excellence in Innovation

Virginia State School has been officially recognised as national leaders in music education.

As the national winners of the recent ABC Classic FM and Play for Life FLAME Awards, Virginia has changed its approach to music education over the past three years, and succeeded in developing a music program that involves the entire school community. The Finding Leaders in Australian Music Education Awards have recognised the innovation of this dynamic school initiative.

With only one specialist teacher for class and instrumental music, a great deal of help from other teachers, administration, parents and the community, this small north Brisbane school offers an incredible array of exciting musical opportunities for both its student and adult population.

Established in 1995, Virginia State School 's music education program has undergone a process of refinement that started with the appointment of a full-time music teacher in 2003. The school now boasts a whole-school choir of 336 students, a 96-strong concert band featuring students, parents and staff members, stage band, jazz vocal group, wind and percussion ensembles, a rap group and assorted stage managers, sound engineers, roadies and comperes.

There has been a 20-percent increase in voluntary student participation in the junior choir since 2003, while 50 percent of eligible students in Years 5 to 7 take part in the instrumental music program. Retention rates in the instrumental music program have increased by 60 percent over the past 11 years.

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Kenmore State High School
Learn more Be more Kenmore
The RemServ Showcase Award for Excellence in Academic Excellence

Kenmore State High School 's academic success over time rests firmly on its philosophy that every student can 'Learn more' and 'Be more' as part of the Kenmore High family.

The school's outstanding student performance record over time is a result of key practices and activities that focus on providing opportunities for parents to play a meaningful role and providing students with rich, rigorous experiences and teaching programs. Growing the range of specialist programs on offer is also a priority, as is developing real community engagement, celebrating world-class quality and committing to innovation.

Parents have a range of opportunities in which to engage in their children's education, from the school council and parents and citizens' association to focus groups and network support groups for curricular and co-curricular activities. Preparing students for senior studies is the theory behind the exciting range of curriculum experiences on offer at Kenmore State High. These include such choices as international trade, animation and Japanese enhancement. Specialist programs include German immersion, music extension and multiple science options, thanks to the school's status as a Biotechnology School of Excellence.

Community links have enabled school teams to establish a community sports club and run a career expo in conjunction with the local Chamber of Commerce, while business and science teachers have established a mentoring program with local universities.

Since its inception in 1998, Kenmore 's program is bringing rewards, with the number of students obtaining OP scores of 1 more than doubling in the past five years to eight students in 2005. From 2002 to 2005 students consistently achieved sound achievements or better in more than 90 percent of all subjects. An impressive 64 percent or more of these results were high achievements or better, with only 0.3 percent of students achieving low or very low scores.

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Mansfield State High School
Parlez-vous Francais?
The RemServ Showcase Award for Excellence in Academic Excellence

French has been offered at Mansfield State High School since the school was established in 1974. Over the ensuing years, the subject department has demonstrated a commitment to excellence.

The sustained performance of students has been achieved through continued enhancement of teaching practices, upgrading language proficiency, an innovative and inclusive curriculum and a commitment to providing top quality resources and facilities.

As a School of Academic Excellence, Mansfield offers students a range of options, such as studying junior maths and Studies of Society and Environment in the French language, and university level French in the senior school. Depending on their skills and goals, students may move between the junior and senior programs.

Mansfield State High's French language resources feature a comprehensive range of annual subscriptions to magazines and journals, a CD and DVD library, computer programs, student texts and online resources. The school's French teachers are a highly skilled team of language educators who are involved in cultural and community activities.

Online communication with French-speaking students in New Caledonia, France and Switzerland enrich students' experiences of language and culture, while each French classroom is equipped with a full range of multimedia facilities.

Students participating in Mansfield 's French program have won numerous awards and achieved outstanding academic results, with 25 percent of these students receiving an OP of between 1 and 5 last year. Around 56 percent of Year 12 students obtained high or very high achievements in French in 2005.

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Coorparoo Secondary College
Start Your Engines
The Showcase Award for Excellence in Community or Industry Partnerships

The Zupps/Education Queensland partnership employs 25 school-based motor technician apprentices every year in state schools from the Gold Coast to northern Brisbane.

Based at Zupps' Mount Gravatt base and Coorparoo Secondary College, the program has operated since 2003.

Zupps Motors has 13 branches from Burleigh Heads to Aspley. Each year 25 school-based apprentices take up work placements across these branches. At the end of Year 12, the school-based apprentices become second-year apprentices at their base branch.

Selected Year 11 and 12 students have the opportunity to integrate industry experience into their secondary education.

Every school-based apprenticeship established under the program so far has continued onto a full-time apprenticeship. Seventy-five school-based apprentices are currently completing industry placements and training with Zupps and the Moreton Institute of TAFE. Since 2003, the program has delivered 25 motor technician apprentices into full-time employment with Zupps.

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Grovely State School
Harvest in the Grove: A Growing Partnership

The Showcase Award for Excellence in Community or Industry Partnerships

Students at Grovely State School really know how to put on a celebration. In 2005 the school was approached by Riverfestival to host an unprecedented event a feast of food and culture, which became known as Harvest in the Grove.

A collaboration with Riverfestival, Grovely TAFE, QUT's Creative Industries faculty and the Grovely school community was forged, and the students embarked on a term of preparations. They grew the food, created artworks and crafted performances. The finale was a magical evening of dance, music, light, colour and fine food enjoyed by 260 guests.

It was a triumph of teamwork with an enduring legacy of strong community partnerships and involved students in practical learning activities across the curriculum. Hospitality, gardening, literacy, performing arts, science, technology and physical education all came into play in the lead-up to the event, which involved all of Grovely's 260 students. Twenty-seven of these students have a disability and 24 others are Indigenous.

The inclusive nature of the project can also be seen in the school community, which provided 20 parent volunteers for the event. A TAFE horticulture course is running at the school as a result of the project, and Grovely is continuing to work with QUT's Creative Industries faculty to plan an arts festival as the centrepiece of the school's 50th birthday celebrations this year.

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Wynnum Manly Schools Cluster
Wynnum Herald Student Reporters
The Showcase Award for Excellence in Community or Industry Partnerships

Through a unique partnership initiative, student reporters from state primary and secondary schools in the Wynnum Manly Cluster provide news and photographs from their schools to the local Quest Newspaper, the Wynnum Herald.

The young journalists use the cluster's website to upload material to their school's individual online portfolio, which provides a web-based platform for editing, uploading of photographs and communicating via email.

The initiative allows newspaper-related skills to be fostered at school level, in addition to sharing news with other local schools and the community. Most importantly, it provides the editor of the Wynnum Herald newspaper with current school happenings. All schools actively participate by submitting articles to a dedicated cluster website, the editor is then able to select school news articles and provide a balanced view of activities in educational institutions across the Wynnum Herald distribution area via the newspaper's special 'Education' category.

In addition to the obvious benefits for students' writing and technology skills, the initiative has resulted in a 46-percent increase in stories published about schools in the Wynnum Manly Cluster since the program began in 2005. One-hundred percent of teachers surveyed as part of the initiative's evaluation phase indicated that the program offered students real-life opportunities to publish their written work, while 73 percent of teachers said they used the program as an extension activity for gifted writers.

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