Youth Engagement – Models for Success – Early interventions for maximising engagement

When it comes to keeping students engaged,
schools all across Queensland are doing great work. In this series, we’ll be sharing
some of their ideas and practices with you. Located in the North Coast Region,
Murrumba State Secondary College is finding – new ways to identify the warning signs and
intervene early to keep students engaged. The College motto, learning for life provides
a focus for students, parents, teachers – and the college community as the school seeks
to create a positive and vibrant culture of learning. This is our eighth year of operation
and it is a rapidly growing school. We’ve started with 324 students and this year
we’ve got a total enrolment of 1565 students. It’s a challenge that every school faces,
how do we effectively work in that space that sees – a teacher with 25 to 28 students and have
the time to engage in that space effectively – to learn enough about each student and
be constantly updating their knowledge. Here at the College, we’re very much
driven by the vision and the mission. Developing a sense of belonging and shaping
future pathways. That underpins everything we do here. We have a number of strategies for early intervention
with our students, whether it’s social – emotional and behavioural aspects of the learner,
or whether it’s the academic side of things. Whether it be intervention to support social
and emotional needs or academic needs or – whether we just simply need to inject a little bit of
extra to get the very best performance out of our kids. We have teams in place to do the very
best job that we can to address those needs. Murrumba promotes a culture of “know our learners”
and “meet our learners needs”, where staff – interrogate attendance, performance and wellbeing data
to inform teaching practices and interventions. Teaching teams meet on a regular basis to
discuss each student and their data individually – which ultimately enhances student outcomes. It’s not me sitting back in my office saying I
think this is a great idea and this is what – we’re going to go with, it’s a collaborative
and a joint decision but it needs – to stem from a need, a defined need.
We would look at the data, look at what – is it that we’re trying to achieve,
look at all options and consider collaboratively what is going to be the best way forward for us. In regards to my role and what we do here,
we work very closely with the teachers – so we can determine the best course of action
make sure these kids donít slip through the cracks. We find that if a student is happy to be at school
and they feel they’ve got a chance at succeeding – in school, then they will have more chance
of coming to school and doing well at school. We can prevent so many other things, so many
reactions or negative issues by being proactive – and because it’s proactive we can head them off
at the pass essentially rather than being reactive. Those kids who are at-risk due to motivation
and discipline, it’s imperative that we get – that information soon because we don’t want
there to be further disengagement, we don’t want there to be a cycle of destruction where kids
continue to fall behind, continue to feel – that they’re not connected to the community.
For us, it’s all about being responsive – and when we get those referrals and we
get that information we’re straight onto it. The Academic Improvement at Murrumba, or AIM
program, ensures every student is supported – and nurtured, but importantly, challenged.
Analysing the student and their behaviour – attendance and performance data individually
enables teachers to streamline their efforts – and shape an informed approach for each student
to ensure they are engaged, supported and challenged. The Academic Improvement at Murrumba initiative,
that really encompasses all aspects of tracking – student academic achievement and putting
in place interventions early to make sure – that students will get the best possible outcomes. Our AIM program doesnít involve heavy
investment, itís more coming back to that – space and being clever in the way
we collaborate and share information. And what it actually looks like is a once
a term meeting, student data is interrogated – teachers collaborate and share strategies
thatís working well with particular students. In doing that and sharing that information
collaboratively, our teachers who may be – experiencing some more negative aspects
of the learning journey are able to share – from those who aren’t seeing those sorts
of behaviours or that lack of engagement. Particularly in the AIM classes with our
Reading Coaches and our Master Teacher – they work very closely with the students
in those groups, so they build up a very – very close relationship with the students.
That hooks the students into their learning. These students who are at risk of being
disengaged and not having good outcomes through those positive relationships they have with those
teachers, it sets the foundation for learning to occur. Staff at Murrumba are encouraged to share
experiences and engagement strategies they find – work well with their students and to
establish and communicate learning goals – track student progress and celebrate success. We have an expectation that all teachers
at Murrumba embody the “learning for life” – vision and that we become lifelong learners
ourselves, to not only improve our own practice – but to model for students as well.
Not for a minute do we sit back and think – right we’ve got this nailed and
think this is the end of the journey. We’re very aware that there’s things
that we can do to continually improve. We’re able to judge that, one, is that
we are able to measure the outcomes data – that comes through so weíre effectively able to see
that progress and that growth in black and white. And that’s a very real measure and a really
important measure. But the other one’s a little – bit less tangible, and that is the vibe and the
feel of the place, and you know you’re on the – right track when you get that feeling
and that sense as you walk through the campus.

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