Month: May 2016

IDAHOT Day – 17th May 2016



Today we celebrated IDAHOT day at Wirreanda (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia). The day celebrates pride, diversity, acceptance and acts as a message of support to rainbow students and rainbow families in our school community.

Wirreanda staff and students have a long history of actively celebrating and supporting diversity within our community, a factor we take great pride in.

Back in 2012, students at Wirreanda (along with ex-Wirri teacher Ms Metzl) initially pledged to stop using the term ‘gay’ as an insult. As this idea gained momentum, we were lucky enough to be able to take part in making a short film about our work at school. The Foundation for Young Australians sent us a film crew and helped us to make a video to spread our message further.

As a result of this video, our students were awarded a grant to put towards additional student-led initiatives and activities. Our student leaders met and decided to spend our grant money on a badge maker and supplies. Every student wellbeing day that we run at school benefits from this purchase as students are able to design and make their own messages on badges to share with their peers at school. We also made a deliberate choice to write a constant reminder to our students about our school value of ‘respect’. Students chose the link stairs as the location for their message of: Love, peace, no sexism, no racism, no violence, no homophobia.

As part of our celebrations today, students shared messages of support for sexually diverse and gender diverse people through: our photo-board, making pledges to not use derogatory language, shared information about IDAHOT day and positively celebrated our diverse school community.

Walking around the yard during our lunchtime celebration of IDAHOT day today both reinforced and highlighted the incredible compassion, kindness and respect that our students share for one another (and staff too!)

I would like to make a special mention of thanks to the students involved in the Gay/Straight Alliance for helping to prepare for today & for being driven to make their school a safer place. You constantly make me proud to be a Wirreanda teacher.


Emily Parker




Belonging and Connection

The single biggest influence on people being happy in themselves is to have a strong feeling of social connectedness; they belong. While these connections should start with family and then extend to school and the community, in the 21st century this is not always the case. Building students’ Relationships and Optimism element of wellbeing through frequent little positive actions is the key to them looking to the future with hope. These actions include welcoming gestures, smiles, hellos, pats on the back, friendly texts, saying thank you and sorry, asking how they are feeling, giving compliments, doing five minute mindfulness activities several times daily, doing selfless acts of kindness, sharing their strengths to help someone overcome a challenge, choosing two positive personal descriptors to live by each week, spotting different ways of thinking in themselves and others, monitoring their and others’ emotions, using assertive language when they need to, recognising when they need to seek help and many other simple little positives. It’s all about broadening both their and our attention with now and ourselves. This is essentially about instilling in the school community’s members a belief that they and others matter and we all should striving, thriving and flourishing.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” Voltaire


Article from : ” The Learning Curve”

Basic Skills Sessions

In previous years we have found a number of our students do not feel comfortable engaging sitting tests and exams.

With NAPLAN approaching, the ATSI team wanted to make sure that identified ATSI and Non ATSI students knew what the tests are about and why they take place. Most importantly we wanted to ensure our students have the tools to face tests and exams with confidence and accurately show their skills and abilities.

Initially, we covered some general tips for time management, stress reduction, remaining calm during tests and what do when students come across a questions they don’t know the answer to.

Next, we used some fun activities to develop some basic skills: We refreshed student’s memory of one text type (persuasive texts) through arguing that Arnotts shapes should return their original . Then we looked at different levels of meaning and finding the main idea within texts through analysing a number of different funny texts (e-mails, clips, articles).

We also covered a process for tackling general numeracy and language convention problem and well as some some basic math formulas and rules within English grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Our students are looking forward to the next set of sessions.

ATSI blog pic

Antony Yates

Aboriginal Education Teacher

Community Generosity

The Wirreanda Secondary School ‘Cambodia Project’ reached out to our local community for donations for us to take to Cambodia in July. 

 Woolworths stores from across the Southern region banded together to donate 30 bags – each with a variety of books, pencils, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, toothbrushes and other sanitary items for the children at the World of Hope school in Cambodia. 

 We were completely overwhelmed by Woolworths’ generosity and sense of community spirit. A huge thanks to one of our students, Amber Goode (and her family) for assisting us in arranging these donations.

 These donations will be utilised during our trip to Cambodia to help students learn basic health care, such as ‘how to brush your teeth’ as well as promote healthy lifestyles. 

 On behalf of the Wirreanda community, THANK YOU WOOLWORTHS!

– The Wirreanda Cambodia Project Team