Evans River K-12 School in regional NSW is using Gonski funding to increase academic, employment and extra-curricular opportunities for its students.
Evans River K-12 is a regional school doing big things with its Gonski funding, both in the core areas of literacy and numeracy and providing a broader range of opportunities for its students. The school on the NSW far north coast caters for students from kindergarten to Year 12.
It has a diverse student body including a high number of Aboriginal students.
Principal Rob Walker says the school’s goal is to make sure that all students complete their HSC, or move from school into TAFE or work.
Gonski funds extra programs across the school
Evans River has received about $350,000 in Gonski funding so far. The school has used that funding to run or expand programs across the school.
A key focus has been on literacy and numeracy with new programs designed to help students struggling in these vital areas.
QuickSmart for numeracy offers daily support as students increase maths skills.
Students are also being offered individual tutoring support if they need it.
Outside the classroom, the school has begun a new program to strengthen student’s non-academic skills called the “Waratah Award”. This award is a personal development program for students from Year 2 to Year 10 which encourages qualities of leadership, self-reliance, organisation and self-confidence through exercises in outdoor education, volunteering and environmental understanding.
For the first time the school has been able to run a music program which allows students to learn an instrument.
Year 9 students can participate in a “Green Team” which teaches them manual skills as they repair and build things around the school. Gonski funding has helped the school expand Green Team by buying new equipment and allocating more staff time to the program.
Improving literacy, building pathways to work
In 2015 the school has had 100 per cent of kinder students meet their Semester 1 benchmarks in numeracy. Even better, 80 per cent of Year 1 and 70 per cent of Year 2 had met their end of year benchmarks by the end of the first semester!
According to the principal Rob Walker, these Gonski-supported programs have helped the participating students become more engaged at school. The skills they have gained have helped put students on the path to work or TAFE qualifications.
More plans to create opportunities for students
With future Gonski funding, Mr Walker says the school will be able to do much more for students.
The Quicksmart literacy program will be introduced to improve the basic literacy skills of students. The use of technology will be increased and the school will move towards every student having their own device which can be incorporated into lessons.
The school also wants to build the skills and knowledge of teachers by employing a specialist Teaching and Learning Coordinator.
The Waratah Award will be expanded and the school will look at more opportunities for out of school activities which develop the personal qualities of self-confidence, self-esteem, maturity and responsibility for self.
Mr Walker says students who live in rural and isolated communities deserve the same opportunities as any other students, and Gonski funding is making sure that his staff can better meet student individual needs.