Getting together highlight of OneSchool calendar

Thursday 4th May, 2017

One issue that sets OneSchool apart from other educational institutes is that its state campuses are some distance apart. This means teachers and students in leadership positions have to help coordinate activities between the different campuses.

Glenvale’s Mary Baxter is a teacher who helps make sure that activities are running on track, not just within a site itself, but within the state, too. The students are on board, too.

“For many students, the highlight of their Semester is the Cluster Days and any excursions run with other sites,” says Mary. “For example, last year our students attended a full day of camping style activities with two other sites. They had a great time meeting other students and participating in a variety of physical and at times challenging activities. Cluster Sports days are also a highlight. Each site takes turns at organising either a day of team sports or a mini athletics carnival and all the students meet up from the different sites, are allocated to their House Teams and spend the day playing together for a House win.”

Although distance is an issue, students who help organise events show a lot of generosity by giving up their time.

“The geographical location of each site often determines how restricted one is with the types of activities run,” says Mary. “The students are expected to run activities during non-teaching times at our site so they utilise their lunch times and Sports afternoons really well. We also have a fabulous school band and choir and our students regularly visit hospitals/nursing homes to perform. I believe this is an activity shared by several sites in Victoria.

“The types of activities vary from site to site. Student activities include sporting, leadership, fund raising and house team/team building types of activities. Our student leadership team is  very proactive in organising student-focused activities whereby they have a financial goal in mind and a special purchase and each year level gets to arrange an in-house activity to raise funds for that project.

What are some of the benefits and challenges of these professional working groups? There are several barriers to overcome, but the outcomes make it worth the effort, says Mary.

“From a student’s perspective, the who are at small sites enjoy the noise and the hustle and bustle of other friends,” she says. “The really sporty types like the challenge of playing against sporty types. The students learn to be resilient and to very quickly communicate with new friends and work in teams.

“The greatest challenge is travel – the distances often mean the day starts very early and finishes late. The State timetable is a good initiative but also has curbed the ability to introduce in-house pastoral programs or other activities that may be a priority at one’s site.”

“The One School newsletter showcases school based activities/student bands etc. This made managers at the different sites more accountable and so they are being more proactive at the organisation of student centered activities. The introduction of RPs has also been beneficial in the push for consistency of student experiences.”