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Trident High School

Changing Lights at Trident

Broad Aim/Focus

  • To develop a resilient community where all members (staff, students, families) feel valued, connected and secure.

Desired Goals

  • To identify school needs through consultation with staff, students and community to enhance and strengthen the Mental Health of the school community.
  • To develop the pedagogical content knowledge of staff in the area of Mental Health Education through professional development opportunities to support students in their learning.
  • To develop student knowledge and understanding of "resiliency" across the curriculum and specifically through Health Education.
  • To make links between Resiliency education and Restorative practices.
  • To review current policies and practices to reflect whole school wellbeing.
  • To celebrate our ‘successes’ at Trident High School with staff, students and the community.

Background Overview

Urban/Rural Co-educational State Secondary (Yrs 9–13), Decile 5, School Roll 1070

At Trident High School, our school mission statement is to offer a quality education in a partnership environment where excellence and respect are encouraged. We have a commitment to provide opportunities and help every individual reach his or her potential. We have undertaken several school-wide professional development initiatives to support staff and students to realize our commitment of achievement for all in a safe, supportive environment where all members of our community are valued and feel connected. The Student Wellbeing – Mental Health Education Professional Development initiative (2007–2009) has been undertaken to allow our school to examine the resiliency of our community, our policies and practices, our teaching and learning programmes, and how we can improve student learning through increasing our knowledge and understanding of a whole school strength-based approach to wellbeing.

Process Undertaken

Links were identified between the Student Wellbeing – Mental Health Education Professional Development and the school’s strategic plan, values and vision in Term 4 2007. Baseline data was collected to identify current strengths and challenges with respect to Student Wellbeing. Using this data the lead team developed surveys and questionnaires for Year 13 students 2007; Teacher Exit interviews 2007 and Year 9 students for the beginning of 2008; with a focus on gathering data on the wellbeing of the school learning community and feeling valued, connected and secure.

At the end of Term 1 2008, a Student Wellbeing Professional Development presentation to the staff explored Mental Health Education and its underlying concepts with a key focus on “Resiliency”. Teachers explored what individual resilience looks like, what a supportive environment looks like, what a resilient young person is, and what a resilient-building school is. Feedback from the surveys and questionnaires was provided to staff with recommendations as to how they link with student wellbeing and creating a safe, secure and connected environment for students at the school. Teachers were invited to reflect on the feedback and to think of ways that they can improve their current practices to create a resilient learning environment for teaching and learning. It was identified that for anything to change at Trident High School it must first start with us (teachers). Key questions included: What is the value of making change? What do staff perceive is required to work in a school where they feel valued, connected and secure for themselves and students? Staff were then invited to complete a questionnaire that focused on their own experience of feeling valued, connected and secure.

During the Term 2 Student Wellbeing Professional Development meeting staff reviewed what the learning community (staff, students, parents) identified resiliency as. They were provided feedback on what staff identified made them feel valued, connected and secure or not and suggested changes. The concept of “Traffic Lights – Red, Orange, and Green” was introduced in the context of creating a resilient learning community - the red light identifying areas that must cease; the orange light identifying areas for change and improvement; the green light identifying areas that are working. The focus for this meeting was on the “green” light – celebrating what makes Trident a resilient school and reinforcing what is required to sustain this for the future. A video presentation of staff, students and parents who had been interviewed talked about how they felt about Trident, identifying what makes it such a great school. Links to creating a supportive learning environment and restorative practices in the classroom and playground were also explored.

A key focus for the lead team in Terms 3 and 4 was on reviewing school policies and procedures to ensure that the wellbeing of the school and its community (students, staff and families) were reflected in best practice. Staff professional development explored the “orange” light – things that can be changed, improved or fine tuned in building a resilient school and the “red” light – things that are not working to support our wellbeing as a learning community. Links to the Best Evidence Synthesis were made around making changes in teaching and learning to meet the diverse needs and interests of our students and staff in a school where everyone’s wellbeing is important. Staff worked in groups to identify short term and long term things to change for 2009, and strategies to create a supportive learning environment for everyone.

Responsibilities

The Lead Team worked collaboratively to deliver the Student Wellbeing – Mental Health Education Professional Development initiative at Trident High School.

Management Team

Setting school wide goals and making links with the professional development initiatives in the school (EHSAS, SEI, CaPaBL, AtoL, SWB-MHE); organizing staff meetings; reviewing policies, procedures and practices; presenting information about the progress of this initiative and providing information and feedback on surveys/questionnaires carried out to the Board of Trustees; ensuring regular and ongoing opportunities for staff to share around student wellbeing; developing links between learning communities at all levels.

Lead Teachers

Participation in professional development; attending lead teacher workshops; planning and implementing professional development staff meetings; promoting a whole school strength-based approach to wellbeing; encouraging collegial conversations around student learning, resiliency and wellbeing; modeling best practice in student-teacher relationships – role plays, supporting resources, strategies and activities; consultation with the school community (students, staff, parents, outside organizations); encouragement of use of student voice.

Staff

Conducted and participated in surveys; participated and contributed in professional development meetings; gathering of student voice to inform their practices; creating a supportive environment for learning inside and outside the classroom; using restorative practice strategies, that is, relaxed vigilance to support students in engaging in their learning in positive ways; development of pedagogical content knowledge in Mental Health education; Identifying areas to change for self, students and the school community towards building a culture of resiliency; development of new learning opportunities in the curriculum.

Students

Student voice to inform learning and creating a school that makes them feel valued, connected and secure; participating in teaching and learning programmes at Year 9 and 10 in Health Education specifically focused on areas of mental health and wellbeing; participating in lunchtime activities to support a positive school culture and wellbeing.

Outcomes

  • Strategic plan underpins a strength-based approach.
  • Strength-based staff professional development for all staff with a focus on resiliency.
  • Teachers have a greater awareness of what a strength-based approach is (celebrating and reinforcing what we do well) and ways of developing it with their students.
  • Teachers using strategies from the Student Wellbeing workshops, that is, Korowai activity; student voice; sharing learning intentions.
  • Teachers using tools from other initiatives in the school to inform their practices and their relationships with students and their learning.
  • Teachers engaging in the importance of a strength-based approach and being in a school where everyone feels valued, connected and secure.
  • Teachers developing learning environments that are supportive of learning for all students.
  • Changes to classroom practices and learning across the curriculum to reflect the underlying concepts and develop learning around student need and interest.
  • Developing relationships with the contributing Intermediate school to support students in the transition to Trident High School.
  • Links to teacher restorative practices in the classroom and the importance of student/teacher relationships.
  • Students supported in playing a role in developing "resiliency" in the school – Year 11 students organized and implemented Youth Week.

Changes/Support and Reflection

The lead team has consistently re-visited the original survey that was given to staff regarding how ‘valued, connected and secure’ they felt, and what issues were apparent to stop them feeling valued, connected and secure. ´As a staff we will be collectively agreeing on areas that need to change and developing strategies on short term and long term areas that need to change, including those things identified as RED LIGHTS. Staff will be asked to personalize a goal and ask themselves – what do I need to do to change? Staff will be consulted on how they deal with stress in positive healthy ways and these suggestions will be taken back to their departments to discuss and put into practice within their own departments´.

Success Factors

  • Use of student voice to inform teaching and learning.
  • Learning Areas sharing good practices.
  • Student feedback within each area of learning.
  • Teachers using the ideas, tools, resources and strategies explored through the Student Wellbeing Professional Development.
  • Teachers reflecting on their practices and participating with inquiry.
  • Teachers engaging in developing their pedagogical content knowledge in mental health and resiliency.
  • Students engaged in developing their knowledge and understanding of resiliency.
  • A culture of caring continuing to develop whereby all members of the school community feel valued, connected and secure.

Opportunities

  • Continuing to make links between learning communities in the EHSAS cluster, especially the contributing Intermediate school.
  • Using community consultation to inform decision-making in developing a learning community where all members feel valued, connected and secure.

Possible Threats

  • Sustainability - the importance of continued professional development opportunities with staff to continue expanding their knowledge and understanding around student wellbeing, and introducing new staff to best practice.
  • Ensuring there is enough time allocated for professional development in this initiative to deliver quality teaching and learning for staff and supporting teachers in making changes to their practices in positive ways.

Where to from here?

  • Revisit our approach with staff in 2009.
  • Showing that we have integrity in our vision – we really believe in this approach.
  • We have deliberately made a mark on the staff in able to promote the importance of wellbeing to them first before carrying it through with the students.
  • A key focus in 2009 will be expanding it into the classroom in ways that support staff and students to feel valued, connected and secure.
  • Checking our “traffic lights” are working for our learning community.

“We are really proud of the work we are doing and have a buzz around school when we do our professional development sessions. We love it!”


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