Month: December 2014

2014 – A Busy Year

2014 has been a busy but highly innovative and exciting year for the wellbeing team.
I’d like to personally thank all members of the team and especially Emily Parker , Jamie Maniero and Camilla West for their contributions to the wellbeing team in 2014, they will have other roles within the school in 2015 . In 2015 we welcome Peter Norde , a new student counsellor to the team.
We also welcome Helen Nouridis to the team as our LWC receptionist.

A summary of 2014 in team wellbeing :
Wellbeing Team Meetings
Initiating weekly wellbeing meetings this year has proved successful and has enabled us to prioritize action and focus on pro- active programs for students. It has also provided aregular forum to discuss case management and to shareinformation. The wellbeing team consists of counsellors, mentors, youth worker, the ATSI team and Inclusive Education.
Case note templates and risk management template have been devised to enable consistent, accurate and detailed case notesto be compiled, which has facilitated the sharing ofinformation and enabled action to be taken with health service providers, Administration at the school and with interagency case meetings. It has also contributed detailed information often required for CARL notifications. It is confidential and only accessed by the Wellbeing Team and the Administration.
Identifying current student issues and coordinating Training and Development for staff has also played a major role. Issues such as Adolescent mental health (depression and anxiety), suicide ideation, self- harm, PERMA, positive relationships, bullying, Mindfulness, Cyber Safety and Restorative Practises have been a focus of discussion for the team.

Initiatives
With the implementation of Wirreanda Learner Wellbeing Centre in 2014,
The introduction of the GP and continued 2 days with Cara Crothers, HEADSTART Psychologist. Having a psychologist and GP on site has made it more accessible for families and also has eliminated some stigma attached to accessing mental health support. It also has contributed to a better understanding of psychology services and building a partnership between Cara and counsellors, sharing appropriate information and reviewing strategies. Students and families have initiated enquiries to access Cara, due to positive outcomes for families and ‘word of mouth”.
A great resource has also been accessing Flinders University School of Nursing and OCEP Medical student’s placements once a week for students. Accessing health information, gaining assistance with referrals and encouraging students to ask questions they may not ask counsellors, their parents or peers and getting accurate information and linking with the wellbeing team and the WAVE program.
Counsellors have played a major role in advising referrals for the FLO program, conducting conversations with parents and care givers and students at course counselling evening and supporting all through the referral process in collaboration with Paul Sherman and middle and senior team staff.
In partnership with Scott Millar, Student Welfare Worker, we have worked with a small group of students with severe social anxiety that are not connected to school and have been referred to FLO for 2015. Remaining engaged in school has been a challenge, knowing that they will be in FLO next year. We have been working with them unpacking challenges they have faced, what could be done differently in mainstream classes, art therapy, and participating in transition day to WAVE. These sessions have provided insightful information which will be shared with Wellbeing Team and school staff. Counsellors have been proactive in designing flexible learning programs in consultation with families, year level managers and the TUTE room.
A key role for the team has also been supporting Student Voice and Student Welfare Worker in running Wear It Purple Day, IDAHO Day, Harmony Day, National Youth Week and World Mental Health Day and Week. Each week Scott facilitates feeding families in need in our Wirreanda Community and the wellbeing team provides food packages to homeless shelters in the local area.

Student Mentoring this year was divided into Middle School and Senior school groups.
Through the build-up of trust and friendship and the ability to recognise another person’s feelings and respond accordingly and respectfully, empathy will assist resilience. Use of counselling skills. The incorporation of the student’s individuality into the school community and pedagogy. Through PDP’S and self-driven programs like the Garden Project, Careers Expo, Cooking for Fred’s Van, Art Projects, Movie Scripts, Cirkidz excursions , Port Power motivation seminars and Music. Liaising between teachers, parents and community Teacher mentors advocate maintaining relationships and monitoring wellbeing, attendance and delivery of curriculum, in order for students to receive maximum educational benefits. The overall outcomes of the mentoring program are to achieve and maintain engagement of those who are at risk in their educational setting to maintain positive wellbeing in order to improve crucial aspects within their education. Teacher Mentors have focused on allowing students to realise their maximum learning potential, problem solve and explore, learn, work and plan in the wider community.

We have continued to work in close collaboration with Flinders University staff this year, providing course and career workshops to all year 10, 11 and 12’s in preparation for course selection and applying for University and TAFE. Positive feedback from Mark Gregory and Chelsea Scenefrom Flinders identified that in 2014, there was a 75% increase in the number of students enrolling at Flinders Uni from Wirreanda than previous years. Last year 43 students sat the Flinders UniTest to increase their intake opportunity to their selected course. This year, 33 students sat the test. This number is consistent, as we had 30 less Year 12 enrolments this year. Speakers from Adelaide Uni and Uni SA also came and spoke to our year 11 and 12 students. Next year, Flinders Uni will continue to work with our school, providing T and D for staff on changing job market, working with year 10′ s on PLP, and continuing to work with year 11 and 12 students. This year, Mark and Chelsea ran a parent information workshop and a staff workshop. Discussions are being held with Mark Gregory regarding Career Pathways Webinars, which could then be accessed by all parents through our website.
More students have been accessing counsellors for career guidance and consultation regarding subject selection. This has promoted healthy discussions and encouraging students to keep all opportunities open and identifying strengths and areas of passion. Course selection day is a positive process.
This year, we have been extremely lucky to work in partnership with Mission Australia to support young women at Wirreanda Secondary School. Art Hang Out is a program which combines creative expression of Art making with the opportunity to connect and link to counselling or other supports as needed, within a therapeutic environment. This program is designed to support girls in year 8 and 9, in a safe creative environment during two lunch times a week. It is run by two qualified Youth Workers from Mission Australia Southern Outreach Team (SORT), led by Peta Black. Students have participated voluntarily in this program. Numbers have varied from a minimum of five to 12 participants per week. The SORT team have begun working with year seven girls in our feeder primary schools. This will provide a smooth transition to those students, and the opportunity for these future year eight girls to participate in the ‘Art Hang Out’ next year.
Wirreanda Secondary School is moving towards implementing restorative practices within the school community. Restorative practices are designed to address a range of opportunities and needs in emphasising prevention and a whole school approach, while embracing the right blend of high control and support. During 2014 all staff gained an understanding of the philosophy and framework of restorative practices. Restorative processes create opportunities for those involved in a conflict to work together to understand, clarify and resolve the situation and work together towards repairing the harm caused. It encourages students to develop a sense of accountability and personal responsibility for their own behaviour.
At Wirreanda we will aim to develop:
▪ Quality relationships that consistently demonstrate behaviour that reflects the school values
▪ The skilling of the school community in the successful resolution of conflict
▪ The prevention of conflict and harm to relationships within the school community
▪ Restorative skills in the way we interact with young people so as to use teachable moments to enhance
Wirreanda staff in term 2 underwent training in Restorative Practices. Staff have encouraged students to take full responsibility for their actions, both positive and negative. This is implemented via a Restorative Practices approach, including daily activities based on sharing, and restorative practices meetings to resolves student issues. Staff haveeffectively complimented this with group activities, a supportive classroom culture, clear expectations, and linking students with positive role models, to nurture student’s empathy and respect for others. Our aim is to provide students with the building blocks needed to exhibit initiative, self-esteem, resilience, resourcefulness, higher-order thinking and creativity while learning. The Wirreanda Secondary School Restorative Practice Working Party has chosen to develop our school community’s understanding of restorative language, restorative questioning & using affective statements as a focus for terms 3 & 4. As part of this focus, the working party has chosen posters which we will see in every classroom & common areas throughout the school. The aim of this strategy is to serve as a visual reminder to both staff and students of the importance of constantly reflecting and reviewing our practice to embed a restorative culture within WSS.
Wirreanda is proud to be part of the Safe Schools Coalitionand to further our community connections with SHINE SA. Our involvement links with our PERMA Wellbeing vision and site improvement plan but, most importantly, it supports young people who want to create positive change in our school.
Mindfulness at Wirreanda – We are extremely lucky and excited to be part of a research and trial in Mindfulness for year 8 students at Wirreanda Secondary School. CatherineJohnson is a qualified mindfulness teacher, as well as being a physiotherapist with an honours degree in psychology and currently undertaking a psychology research PHD. What is mindfulness? It is a scientific approach to increase mental resilience and happiness. Research over the past 30 years show benefits of mindfulness programmes for preventing and managing stress, anxiety, depression and chronic pain. Catherine facilitated a course with a group of year 8 students during Tuesday Pastoral Care time. Delivery involved short talks, discussion, games and short mindfulness practices, with encouragement to practice these skills at home. Mindfulness practice included:
– Learning to be still and focus on breathing (a way to train attention and to self-calm)
– Scanning different parts of the body, and learning how the body feels with emotions under stress.
– Performing every day activities ‘mindfully’ (e.g., really noticing smells, tastes and textures of eating, taking notice of sensations , breathing and sounds when walking) so we can savour the positive and notice unpleasant experiences in life with a sense of curiosity, rather than ‘avoiding’ behaviour.
Southern Schools Student Leadership Summit – School Captains (Addison Rodgers and Melissa Hirschausen) and Vice-Captains (Benny Dragovelic & Cara Rodgers) from Wirreanda Secondary School attended a leadership forum earlier in 2014. After attending this event, they envisioned creating a Southern Schools Student Leadership Summit for their peers in the Southern region. Our student leaders believed that the Southern region lacked ample opportunity for young people to increase their capacity for leadership within their schools and their communities. On Friday 17thOctober, students from 12 schools in the Southern region came together to discuss leadership with keynote speakers, Jayne Johnston (Chief Executive Officer, DECD) and Katrine Hildyard (MP, member for Reynell). Students also participated in workshops to firstly identify their leadership qualities and in subsequent workshops to plan how they would use their qualities as a leader in their community to create positive change.
The Leadership Summit aimed to enhance and accelerate students’ personal leadership ability. It did so through focusing on 5 key areas of development:
1. Actively leading.
2. Increased self-awareness as a leader
3. Fostering positive & transparent relationships with others.
4. Methods for critical decision-making.
5. Increased awareness of student’s opportunities for leadership in the Southern region.
Wirreanda Secondary School is extremely proud of our student leader’s performance throughout the Summit. These students facilitated each workshop throughout the day and were able to provide other students in the Southern region with an opportunity to collaboratively plan for events in the future. Students from the Southern region have planned activities within their communities ranging from events such as ‘Wear it Purple Day’, to Big Brother/Sister programs for younger students in their schools, and raising awareness of issues such as positive mental health to name a few. Students from all schools showed dedication, maturity and a willingness to engage with their community. We would like to congratulate all those who were involved and thank them for their leadership on the day. The Southern region will benefit greatly from future student driven initiatives.
The Projects Abroad expedition occurred in 2014 whereby a group of student volunteers visited Siem Reap in Cambodia to help disadvantaged children. It gave educational support, support in day to day activities, a positive presence and creative activities to the children there. While taking part in the program there our involvement was split between physical work and working with children. A group of students travelled to Cambodia in late September 2014 to work with disadvantaged children and be part of a project to build infrastructure to sustain their communities, students built a kindergarten and formed lifelong skills and relationships with the local community.

Strategies for improvement:
• Improve the way in which we deliver information to students, making it more interactive and taking into account that we need to differentiate in our delivery.
• Better support for home group teachers through a much improved Training & Development approach in partnership with our Career Development Strategy.
• Identifying the most effective way to share information with staff; making information sharing more paperless and effective;
• Look at SV leaders being buddied with new enrolments – more support to new students
• Reviewing counsellors involvement in suspension and exclusion processes;
• Exploring how to improve community connections.
• Focus on building student leadership
• Whole school approach to restorative Practices
• Aligning Wellbeing with SIP priorities
• Further enhancing Projects Abroad to be an ongoing project.

SWW Report 2014

Student Welfare Worker Report
Wirreanda Secondary School
September 2014
Completed by: Scott Millar (Student Welfare Worker)

Current Activities and Completed Actions

Generalist counselling and student support service:
A large proportion of my time each week, is working directly with individual students. I am working with a number of students in an ongoing manner, with follow up appointments and the development of longer term goals and strategies. Other students I may only assist to either problem solve for that day, or be an appropriate person to listen to their concerns of the day and offer advice. I have made an effort to be as widely available to the students as possible and find they often drop in unannounced, and believe that this must have taken some pressure off the direct service provided by the counsellors. I have found that my experience in the youth sector as a Case Manager has been extremely useful and relevant in this role.

Referrals to specialist services where appropriate:
It has been extremely useful to have the services of a clinical psychologist on site Monday and Tuesday in Cara Crothers, and having the referral packs already developed for this service. Although the wellbeing team are referring many students to this service, and being in contact with parents, they do not always result in attendances with Cara. Students have also been generally agreeable to receiving information on many local services that may be suitable to their needs.

Case consultation with fellow staff including faculty, but particularly Counselling staff and year level co-ordinators:
I been provided the opportunity to assist and be assisted by other members of staff to work towards better outcomes for students. In particular Rebecca Cousins, the year 9 co-ordinator, has made regular contact and works with a very collaborative approach that I have appreciated as a new staff member.

Participation in Lunch Club and Parkour Group weekly:
Every Wednesday is ‘Lunch Club’ and is conducted in the Tute Room area. I have been assisting to facilitate this program each week, giving students a place to come and play board games, group role playing games or some quiet time on the computer. I interact with the students and encourage a positive and respectful environment for all students involved.

Every Friday lunch we have the “Vertical Freedom” Parkour group teach in our drama space. This is a group that I initially introduced to Wirreanda as a promotion for after school programs at local youth centres. In collaboration with Tash Thorton we have kept the Parkour group as a weekly occurrence since week 8 Term 2. Parkour group has not only been encouraging our male students to consider a role in performing arts but promoting knowledge of the human body and healthy nutrition intake.

Planning and organising Wellbeing Events
A large part of my time is spent on the organisation of awareness days such as IDAHOT, Wear it Purple, Daffodil Day, International Youth Day and Reconciliation Week. I often engage students in helping for the preparation of these days, finding that it helps the student feel like a solid part of the project and proud once the event has been successful. I believe these stand out days are crucial in the development of our students as it brings us together as a unified body that stands up for the mental health, ATSI and LGBT issues that are stigmatised and left in the dark. This holistic approach instils respect for the community and personal integrity in our students who when mature, are able to be positive, proactive and considerate members of society.

Arranging care packages for students weekly:
I believe that this is a very worthwhile service to have available within Wirreanda High School. The number of students willing to collect their package fluctuates from week to week, with attendance for those who need it most being a particular barrier. I have made an effort to offer food and material assistance to as many students as possible, and even do home visits for certain family’s when required. One student in particular is living under circumstances that require him to work and care for his mother on a full time basis. To support this student I often drive him home with care packages and on one instance transported him to the “Good Guys” so that he could purchase a heater for his mother out of his own money.

Liaising with other community organisations regarding potential partnerships:
I have been in contact with a number of other community organisations as to how we can work together, including the CARD’s (Centre for Anxiety and other Related Disorders), Headspace, Shine SA, Quit SA, Sammy D foundation, Cancer Council, Salvation Army, Youth Opportunities, Southern Youth Exchange and You Can Help among others.

Development of resources (including brochures and posters) for student wellbeing:
I have further developed the wide range of information available to students in the wellbeing area, including sourcing free posters and brochures from services such as Beyond Blue, Shine SA, emergency housing information and assistance to name a few.

Relationship building with staff and students:
As part of my role as Student Welfare Worker I have worked to develop a presence within the school promoting support in general, but in particular wellbeing. I believe that in the short time I have been at Wirreanda High School I have developed some significant working relationships with both staff and students, and evidence would suggest that more meaningful work is created through such connections.