Life links for senior students - Showcase Senior Years
15 September 2011
Not so distant ... Coorparoo Secondary College students Temika Ahsam and Lewis Webb demonstrate the online opportunities available through distance education.
By Rebecca Perry
Senior students are maximising their final years at school thanks to three programs selected as finalists in the Department of Education and Training's Showcase Awards for Excellence in Schools.
In the running for a share in more than $370,000, the state finalists are contesting the Showcase Award for Excellence in the Senior Phase of Learning.
Freedom to learn - anyone, anywhere, anytime
Brisbane School of Distance Education delivers online web-based programs to more than 3800 students across Queensland and overseas - the majority based in mainstream schools and only 10 per cent considered 'distant'.
'We still cater for students in unique situations such as elite athletes or those living on yachts, overseas and farms, but supporting our mainstream schools with a wider suite of subject offerings and boosting achievement programs is a rapidly growing area,' said executive principal Neil McDonald.
The school, based at Coorparoo, is enjoying high-ranking results through its range of online programs, from academic subjects to vocational education and training (VET) courses such as the Certificate II in Business which uses an interactive online environment and avatar so students can study in a virtual office.
The little school that could
Moving up ... University-bound Burnside student Simon Miller and Tiarne Bezzina who is looking at a career in hospitality.
Burnside State High School principal Kerri Dunn believes her school's size is its strength, proving good things come in small packages. The school is a 'hidden secret' on the Sunshine Coast where every student over the past two years has graduated with at least one qualification.
The school fosters a genuine sense of community that encourages results - raising expectations and up-skilling staff, with morale at an all-time high, to deliver a broad curriculum with flexible pathways and better tracking.
While every graduating student received a tertiary offer last year - 80 per cent receiving their first preference - Ms Dunn focuses on every career choice.
'Less than 30 per cent of students go to university and we have shifted away from purely concentrating on OP scores,' she said.
Reach for the stars and shine
Opportunity knocks ... Calen District State College head of curriculum Sue Spreadborough and principal Brian O'Neill discuss the monitoring and mapping of senior student performance.
Calen District State College is serving a smorgasbord of opportunities to help senior students prepare for their futures, no matter what pathway they are planning after leaving the school north of Mackay.
'Instead of catering for a niche market, we are catering for everyone,' said principal Brian O'Neill.
For the past five years, all eligible students have achieved an OP score between one and 15 - double the results from six years ago - with every senior student last year graduating with a Queensland Certificate of Education and a vocational education and training (VET) qualification in courses as broad as online tertiary subjects, practical motor diesel training and radio broadcasting.
'We are working to encourage strong, positive relationships between students and teachers,' Mr O'Neill said.
The Showcase winners will be announced at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on 21 October.