Nanango State High School's literacy project takes an unusual approach to inspiring student learning in the Middle Phase, using a qualified mechanic to work with a group of disengaged middle school students.
Literacy and support teachers have collaborated with the mechanic to design a variety of tasks that use practical activities to target individual student weaknesses in literacy and numeracy.
In place since 2004, the Small Motors Restoration course allows students to participate as part of a behaviour contract. They work with the mechanic to restore small motors and other machinery, on the basis of appropriate behaviour in their other mainstream classes.
Students build their literacy skills by recording daily diaries on work completed in the course, reading texts relevant to the course and undertaking vocabulary development activities. The average reading age of students involved in the program has increased from 6.4 years in 2004, when the students were in Year 8, to 10.5 years in 2006, now that the students are in Year 10.
The program has resulted in an impressive reduction in the number of suspensions, which went from 16 in 2004, to four in 2005 and no suspensions so far in 2006. Student attendance has also increased from an average of two days absence per year, to a current 2006 average of 0.2 days per year.
Action Science is a leading Middle Phase of Learning strategy at Wondai P-10 State School.
Teachers are delivering a practical, real-life action research learning model for students. Action Science focuses on the development of enterprising, lifelong learners, who are actively participating in local catchment issues and the global environment. Learners investigate local sustainability issues through research, and establish partnerships with local landholders, businesses, government departments and community organisations.
Students have investigated such issues as water sustainability, developed an educational program for primary students and the wider community, created teacher resources and produced displays for community use.
The program's achievements have been recognised with several government and community awards and numerous grants totalling more than $60,000. The popularity of science activities at school has doubled, and 100 percent of the school's primary students have taken part in the education programs offered through Action Science.
Parents and carers are valued partners in education at Murgon State School, as demonstrated by the school's Parent Liaison Program.
Murgon State School's values encompass respect, trust and inclusion, and these are the foundations of relationships between the school and its community.
Around 50 percent of Murgon's student population is Indigenous and the school employs two Parent Liaison Officers, one Indigenous and one non-Indigenous. They work as a team with parents, carers and the community for the benefit of all students. Both Parent Liaison Officers are well respected by the entire community.
Parents are also more comfortable approaching the school with concerns and working collaboratively with staff to address issues. According to School Opinion Survey data, parents have moved levels of from neutral or low positive satisfaction in 1998, towards the 'very satisfied' level in 2005. Prior to 2004, parent attendance at parent-teacher meetings was consistently less than 30 percent, whereas 86.8 percent of parents attended these meetings in 2005.
The Gympie Interactive Science, Mathematics and Technology Hub (GISMTH) project establishes Gympie State High School as a centre for Science, Mathematics and Technology learning.
The technology hub aims to enrich teaching and learning for primary and secondary schools. It provides challenging science, maths and technology activities for primary and secondary students and resources for teachers and community organisations.
The project works with Central Queensland University's Pomona campus to promote Gympie State High as a centre for training teachers in the implementation of science and technology in middle school classrooms. It also accesses resources for learning and career pathways, through local businesses, Sunshine Coast University (SCU), Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Department of Primary Industries.
The GISMTH project has resulted in a range of outcomes, including teacher training in molecular biotechnology, activity days for hundreds of local primary students and university extension opportunities for students.
St Helens State School has been transformed into a dynamic learning organisation over the past four years, with a committed staff who are dedicated to achieving excellence.
Prior to 2002 St Helens State School, located near Maryborough, experienced a high turnover of staff and principals. School surveys showed parent, student and staff satisfaction levels were below that of the state average in many categories. With the arrival of a new principal and a turnover of staff, it was decided that a new vision needed to be established.
The staff team is committed to a positive focus. Students are developing their social skills through the Positive Citizenship Program. Digital portfolios have given them ownership of their achievements and form part of the 'three-way partnership' of student-parent-teacher that helps them achieve their goals.
The first phase of this process has seen parent satisfaction with their children's education increase from 70.3 percent in 2002 to 91.7 percent in 2005, which is significantly above the state average of 78.11 percent. A clear behaviour management process has been implemented and staff morale has jumped by almost 60 percent, from 35.7 percent in 2002 to 92.3 percent in 2005, well exceeding the state average of 78.9 percent.
Burnett State College has been the driving force behind the formation of a community centre for learning within the Burnett community. The centre is designed to maximise the potential of students and adults in education, training and social welfare.
A ground-breaking joint school and TAFE management arrangement has made the centre a reality.
Driven by a lack of qualifications among the population of the Burnett region, the Community Centre for Learning aims to offer students and members of the community relevant training and employment pathways. Formerly known as the Gayndah TAFE annexe, the centre is part of Burnett State College. With the school and TAFE managed under the one leadership structure, this represents the first partnership of its kind in south-east Queensland.
As a result training and educational pathways have been accelerated for young people and industries throughout the entire Burnett region. While the school offered no vocational education and training subjects in 2002, senior students may now choose from up to nine different areas, with another for Year 10 students.
Accredited vocational education and training (VET) enrolments have increased from none in 2002 to 129 in 2005. Adult enrolments have also risen from none in 2002 to 52 in 2005.
Maryborough State High School has joined forces with a local industry network to address a skills shortage and provide employment opportunities for students.
TALENT (Talent and Leadership Engaging National Training) is a trial program established in 2005 by the Australian Industry Engineering Manufacturing regional network and Maryborough State High School.
This competitive program targets students with an aptitude for the trades industry and offers industry exposure, work readiness preparation and a chance to obtain industry recognised qualifications. It enables students to obtain a Senior Certificate and move to an apprenticeship upon leaving school.
This unique approach allows students to achieve a Certificate II in Engineering, along with their Year 12 Senior Certificate. They then take up a Level 2 paid apprentice position with three to six months probation before entering Level 3.The program is spreading to other local schools, thanks to its success at Maryborough State High. Of the eight students who joined the program in 2005, three have already secured apprenticeships.