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

Mackay-Whitsunday

Pioneer State High School
Hands on History
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia Showcase Award for Excellence in the Middle Phase of Learning

Pioneer State High School's Hands on History program has used students' fascination with ancient history to inspire learning in the middle phase.

Established four years ago, this innovative archaeology study uses a simulated archaeological dig to engage ancient history and English communications students in Years 11 and 12 and students in Years 6 and 7 from partner schools (who become research assistants and journalists). The senior students become archaeologists, surveyors, and web masters in a realistic dig simulation. Insights gained provide students with hands-on experience, usually requiring international travel.

An authentic re-creation of an Aztec excavation was prepared in 2003 on a site within the school's bicycle enclosure. Local primary schools have also been involved at various stages during the digs.

The program has resulted in a 25-percent increase in senior history class sizes. Participating primary teachers gave an overwhelmingly positive response and commented on the benefits it brought to students' transitions between primary and secondary school.

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Sarina State High School
Reading a Raging Success
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia Showcase Award for Excellence in the Middle Phase of Learning

Sarina State High School's Reading, a Raging Success project is a community based literacy intervention program. It was established in 2004 to target poor readers in Year 8 at risk of disengaging with mainstream schooling. The program achieved such high outcomes that it has expanded to all students from Years 8 to 12 who wish to improve their literacy and numeracy skills.

In its first phase, the program achieved positive outcomes for students, including a jump in average spelling age of almost one year, and an increase in vocabulary of almost 10 percent. The program has now expanded to all students from Years 8 to 12 who wish to improve their literacy and numeracy skills.

This year the program boasts 31 community tutors, who work with 49 students before school, offering one-on-one assistance with reading, spelling, comprehension, vocabulary and numeracy. Parents, teachers, students, tutors, local business and the community are working together to ensure the project is sustainable in the long term.

The Reading, a Raging Success project has resulted in substantial improvements in student learning outcomes. All students have increased their vocabulary, with improvements in behaviour and motivation, and increases in literacy skills such as reading, comprehension and spelling.

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Moranbah State High School
Different Pathways for Different Futures
The RACQ Showcase Award for Excellence in the Senior Phase of Learning

Moranbah State High School has developed a range of senior pathways for its students to maximise their chances of success after school. The school strives to create Different Pathways for Different Futures.

Students are provided with diverse opportunities ranging from tertiary subjects studied externally through the University of Queensland, school-based apprenticeships and traineeships and a variety of vocational certificate options.

This has been made possible through partnerships with the University of Queensland, TAFE and the mining, business and industry sectors.

Thanks to a partnership with BMA, Moranbah has become the first school in Queensland to offer the Certificate II in Surface Mining Operations in 2006. Established early in 2005, the program has resulted in a 55 percent increase in the number of school-based apprenticeships and traineeships. A record number of four students are about to embark on Bachelor Degree studies in science and maths through the University of Queensland.

Slade Point State School
Positive Processes Leading Literacy for Indigenous Students
The Media Monitors Showcase Award for Excellence in the Inclusive Education

With 30 percent of its student population of Indigenous heritage, Slade Point State School decided in 2002 to redress the gap between learning outcomes for its Indigenous students and those of other Queensland schools.

Staff decided to use information and communication technology (ICT) as the catalyst to engage Indigenous students in learning and encourage improved outcomes. Strategies included the professional development for staff, computer workshops for Indigenous parents and a short-term computer loan scheme for Indigenous students without access to a home computer.

This approach is improving outcomes for students. Indigenous student achievements at Slade Point State School exceed those in similar schools and the mean for all Indigenous students in Queensland. For the past three years, literacy outcomes for Indigenous students in the Years 3, 5 and 7 Tests were better than all similar schools in 100 percent of areas tested across all areas.

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Moranbah East State School
A Learning Engagement
The Queensland University of Technology Showcase Award for Excellence in Leadership

Moranbah East State School's middle phase of learning program, A Learning Engagement, has brought new energy and enthusiasm to students in Years 6 and 7.

The program was implemented in 2004 to renew students' attitudes and performance. Located in a remote mining town west of Mackay, the school based the program on the unique needs and resources of the community.

The program features a comprehensive curriculum delivery model based on the learning readiness and learning rates of students. Student motivation is inspired in a number of ways such as electives such as robotics, performing arts or sport, specialised study groups, vertical timetabling and a program preparing them for the transition to secondary school.

Moranbah East's results in school-based standardised tests have improved by more than 20 percent between 2004 and 2005, while student results in the Years 5 and 7 Literacy and Numeracy Tests have improved by more than 10 percent in both areas.

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Mackay North State High School
catering4futures
The Showcase Award for Excellence in Community or Industry Partnerships

Mackay North State High School's award-winning catering4futures program is based on a highly successful partnership between the school's hospitality department and a local corporate catering company.

In a partnership established in 2001, the school joined forces with Grinders Corporate Catering, enabling students to gain industry experience and obtain work-related competencies and certificate qualifications.

Students have gained valuable experience working on high-profile events alongside Grinders staff, taking advantage of the resources, public interaction and real-life problem-solving available in the workplace.

This year students will contribute to more than 20 functions, including the Mayor's Ball, Queensland Training Awards and Central Queensland University's graduation ceremony.

The project was a state winner in the Prime Minister's Awards for Excellence in Community and Business Partnerships, and chosen as one of two national finalists in the small business category.

The project has resulted in a 40-percent increase in hospitality class enrolments over the past five years, and a 28-percent increase in Year 12 hospitality exit results over the same period. Vocational education has also benfited, with a 60-percent increase in the number of hospitality certificates gained by students on completing Year 12.

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