Month: November 2015

Term 4 – Tutoring in the Nunga room

In the Nunga Room, so much happens on a daily basis: wellbeing groups, restorative meetings, chats with parents, teachers and family, recess and lunch time hangout sessions, study support, writing resumes, having meetings, making phone calls and spending time with a variety of organisations to provide our students with amazing personal and learning opportunities. However, one of the main support services we provide to both Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal students is tutoring and recently in we have had some great successes:

Tyson and Tamya, two-year 8 students, each received a 10/10 score for their English assignment, which was a beautiful handwritten letter.

Tyrone, another year 8, did an excellent job of recreating the popular fairy tale “Robin Hood”. Adding his own twist to the story, he entitled his version “Robin from The Hood” and he received a well-deserved A grade.

Keisha, one of our year 10 students also received a high-grade for her twisted fairy tale story!
We still have a long way to go with tutoring and the Nunga Room – we are often trying to help students going through a really tough time. So The ATSI Team wanted to say well done to our students for showing the persistence and resilience to keep going, no matter what. We are proud of you and your achievements this year.

Have a great holidays!

Antony Yates

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Safe School Coalition at WSS

I was involved in an event as part of the Feast Festival on the weekend that discussed the experiences of LGBTIQ teachers in schools – as part of the discussion, I had mentioned the video that our students created a couple years ago about how “It’s not ok to say that’s gay” .
After the Feast Festival event, I passed on this link to our video to a Monash Uni professor (Anne Harris) who has since re-posted it. She passed on a message to me this morning that she received yesterday – I thought the WSS Community would like to see a response to the video from Texas:

“Today one of my kids told me about a trans girl that she is good friends with who keeps getting called a boy and ‘he’ at school, even though she wants to be called a girl (and she’s been a girl to us for many years). We watched this video together (posted by the amazing Anne Harris) and now we’re talking about things the students could do to support their friend–starting with the friend and her ideas about this video. I hope you will consider sharing it with the children in your life as well.” — I hope you will let your amazing students know that they just changed the life of a kid in Texas!!!! 😀

Today I feel proud of the work we have done at WSS and its impact on the community .

Emily Parker



Peer Support Training

On Friday 27/11/15, 22 year 9 students were involved in Peer Support training. Students who are involved in Peer Support undertook formal training to prepare them as leaders within our community. Peer Support is a program in which our 2016 Year 10 students are able to provide support and guidance to our new Year 8 students transitioning to High School. The role of the Peer Support students is to facilitate team building and transition activities throughout the 2016 school year.

The selected students demonstrated maturity, enthusiasm and positive leadership skills throughout the day. Students undertook training in regards to their social and emotional wellbeing, as well as strategies to support younger students, including facilitating team building activities to foster a strong connection to high school.

Staff were astounded at the exceptional maturity, humour and engagement by students throughout the day. They not only met, but exceeded our expectations. As a result, we have high hopes for Peer Support in 2016 and beyond, knowing that our student leaders are so capable of facilitating positive change in our community.

The students are keen to further develop their own leadership skills and confidence, whilst assisting with the Year 8 transition to school. The program will be student focused, with these students taking the lead role with planning events for the Year 8 cohort and being a friendly support network for our younger students.

Peer Support students will assist in the classroom and broader school community through learning and wellbeing programs.
A huge “THANK YOU” to Ms Fishpool, Mr Maniero, Scott Millar (Youth Worker) and Ms West for assisting with the program throughout the day.

Em Parker and Teresa Bruno






White Ribbon Day

On the 25th November, Wirreanda acknowledged White Ribbon Day – A day we as a school can stand up and say we do not condone any type of violence in our community and homes.

Staff and students wore a white ribbon or wristband and during the weeks leading up to the day. By wearing a white ribbon or wristband we made a personal pledge that the wearer does not excuse domestic and family violence, and is committed to supporting community action to stop violence in our homes.
• Over 12 months, on average, one woman is killed every week as a result of intimate partner violence.
• A woman is most likely to be killed by her male partner in her home.
• Domestic and family violence is the principle cause of homelessness for women and their children.
• Intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health in Australian women aged 15-44.
• One in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them.
• One in four children are exposed to domestic violence, which is a recognised form of child abuse.
• The cost of violence against women to the Australian economy is estimated to rise to $15.6 billion per annum.
• One in five women experience harassment within the workplace.
• One in five women over 18 have been stalked during her lifetime.

Lunchtime outside the canteen we offered a BBQ to support White Ribbon day and gave students an opportunity to pledge their support and say no to domestic violence in their homes and community!

Scott Millar
Youth Worker

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white ribbon

Schools Plus Program

Congratulations to Antony Yates and the ATSI team for being one of the 20 projects chosen across Australia to be showcased for the Schools Plus Program .
Wirreanda Secondary School, in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, is seeking support to continue a tutoring and support program aimed primarily at its Aboriginal students to lift low literacy and numeracy levels and improve their wellbeing.
In its first 18 months, the program has seen impressive results, including higher school attendance, improved literacy and numeracy results (up to 50 per cent better), a fall in behaviour issues in both the school and community, and increased referrals to support agencies and case workers.
The school wants to expand the program to take in up to 60 Indigenous students, plus up to 40 other students who would otherwise “fall through the cracks”. These students are often chronic non-attenders, and their education has been affected by issues such as trauma, high mobility and transience, young offender incidences, serious family illness or because they are young carers or young parents. On average, their literacy skills are three years behind their age levels – some students are as much as six years behind.
To get these students back on track, Wirreanda’s Tutoring and Support program involves designing a customised literacy and numeracy program for each student supported by up to 12 hours of supervision/support each week. For some students, there will also be a focus on work and life skills such as writing resumes, while sessions are also run for all students on topics such as healthy lifestyles and relationships, dealing with bullying and grief, or anger management. The students are also linked with professional support, such as psychologists, where necessary.

Please promote and support the submission.

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Wellbeing Week Five at @WirreandaSS

Term four is a challenging term for all schools for many reasons. Year 12 exams, pending year 10 & 11 Exams, Year 8 & 9 Round Table, completing Semester 2 work, not to mention any personal challenges students and families may be facing.
Our school philosophy encompasses staff being professional mentors and role models for our students. We believe it is critical to ‘practice what we preach’, therefore, our Positive Psychology strategies are also practiced by our staff.
On Tuesday 10/11, we had the privilege of working with Louiza Hebhardt, founder and Director of EQUILIBRIUM. Louiza has worked with many schools addressing PERMA principles for the whole school setting including staff. More information about her work can be viewed on

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Kadri Auvaart Louiza Hebhardt Gabrielle Rinaldi

On Tuesday 10/11/15, 9am – 12pm, Wirreanda Secondary School hosted Southern Counsellors Network. Participants are from approximately 20 different school settings. This forum explores professional discussions and Training and Development for School Counsellors. The Counsellors role in schools is increasingly complex and it is critical all the latest and relevant agency support and information is shared. On the agenda this week was Teresa Bruno, (Assistant Principal Learner Wellbeing) who shared how the Learner Wellbeing centre was established with community partnerships. This session highlighted to other schools the difference it has made having a GP and Psychologist on site. Also critical to the operation of LWC is our ongoing partnerships with Tabor College Masters Counselling students ,The Smith Family, Flinders University Masters Social Work placements and Medical and Nursing students placements.

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Karissa Clare from The Smith Family ’Learning For Life’ discussed the process of Scholarship application for students in Partnership Schools. The Smith family provide a tremendous service to families and provide many opportunities for students to be engaged in Homework Clubs, iTrack online mentoring program, Peer Reading Program and financial support for educational needs.

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Niccy Pallant, Counsellor from Hallet Cove demonstrated a Data Entry program being used by some schools in keeping Welllbeing data, which informs the school on how many students Counsellors see, how many male and female students, parent concerns and issues which counsellors deal with. This data is crucial to determine trending issues amongst young people and how schools can respond to issues affecting attendance and engagement.

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ANZAC and REMEMBRANCE DAY have become important days for our young people to observe, as all families can make connections to relatives who have served in conflicts, with many families having friends and relatives who are presently serving in the Australian Defence Forces.
On Wednesday 11/11/15, Wirreanda Secondary School observed Remembrance Day at the Memorial Plaque of Sapper Darren Smith, who attended Wirreanda. He was killed on duty in Afghanistan on 7th June 2010. Many staff and students attended the service, with those new to the school very interested to learn Darrens story and that of his Explosive Detection Dog…Herbie. We are always very proud to honour Darren Smith.

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Kadri Auvaart

Team Wellbeing Welcomes Gabrielle Rinaldi 

I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to work as Student Counsellor- Years 8, 11 and 12 for the remainder of the year and look forward to working with a diverse group of students and staff to support learner wellbeing at WirreandaSS. 
I come from a psychology background, studying clinical psychology as an undergraduate and volunteering at a psychiatric ward in New York. I am passionate about employing the principles of Positive Psychology, Restorative Practices and working collaboratively with students, staff and our community to support our students to be happy and healthy.
I frequently utilise strategies from a Cognitive Behavioural Approach- which focuses around the way our thoughts —> behaviours —> feelings and support students to understand when their thoughts, feelings and behaviours are not helping them to achieve success and positive mental heath. 
Gabrielle Rinaldi – Student Counsellor 

In for the win; building Team You

Year nine student Jack is kicking goals on the education field. This year, he welcomed yet another fan to barrack for his success; he was matched with an iTrack mentor.
“It was fun chatting to my mentor and talking about how my week was. We talk a lot about stuff I could do when I finish school. He has helped me decide what I want to do.” – Jack.
The Smith Family’s iTrack is an online mentoring program that provides guidance to high school students on their post school options. The program pairs mentors with students in Years 9 to 11* via a secure online chat-room for an hour each week over two terms. The anonymous adult mentors help the students to identify their strengths, and provide guidance, advice and encouragement about workplace, study and career opportunities. Mentors come from many backgrounds, from trades to corporate environments, and cover all ages.
In South Australia, 142 students in eleven schools participated in 2015. iTrack is a proven success for students, last year’s review showed:
• 88% said their mentor had helped them to be more positive about future career and study options
• 87% agree that chatting with their mentor helped them understand more about reaching their career goals
• 80% of students want to try harder at school
• 81% of students have been inspired to go onto further study
• 78% of students feel more confident in asking for advice or help from other adults
In addition to being an iTrack student, Jack is also a Learning for Life scholarship student. This means that, somewhere in Australia, he has a Smith Family Sponsor** who provides financial assistance to make it easier for Jack’s family to pay for school expenses. In return Jack sends an update on how he’s going at school and in life every year.
“We have been so blessed with the support from the Smith Family, not just financially but also the programs he has been given the opportunity to participate in and truly believe his academic results reflect this. He continues to leap over the bar we set him, much to our continued amazement and we are so proud of him.” – Kathryn, Jack’s mother.
If you would like a bit more support at school, please ask Gabbi, Teresa or Kadri in the Wellbeing Centre for more about which of The Smith Family’s programs are available to you at Wirreanda Secondary School.
* iTrack may also be available to some year 12s
**Sponsors can only be matched with students who are on a Health Care on Pension Concession card (their own or their family’s). Referrals must be made by the school and younger year levels are prioritised to ensure long term support is achieved.

Karissa Clare
Family Partnership Coordinator – Learning for Life | The Smith Family