The student wellbeing department at Kirwan High is designed to provide every student with opportunities to meet their potential. We aim to create a school community in which all students feel that they belong, that they are safe and that they are worthwhile citizens.
Led by two Heads of Department (Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary), the key members of this team include the House Masters and the House Group (HGR) teachers. Additionally, the department liaises with the School Based Youth Health Nurse, Chaplain, Defence Transition Mentor, Youth Support Coordinators, Guidance Officers, Community Education Counsellors, as well as our Executive Leadership Team.
Service learning is a major focus of the wellbeing department where classroom learning is deepened through service to others. It engages our staff and students in community service and focuses on the development of empathy and a passion for improving the lives of others.
Programs led by the student wellbeing department include:
- Extended HGR lessons
- Pink shirts (student volunteers creating a positive playground environment)
- Anti-bullying workshops
- Reach for the stars
- Power up
- Student voice
- House group parades
- Student leadership framework
- Cultural festival
Kirwan High has the services of five guidance officers whose work consist of careers, educational support and wellbeing.
Guidance officers give career advice and planning, discuss subject changes and selection. They also manage student support plans, tertiary admission, apprenticeships and traineeships.
Enrolment interviews are conducted by the guidance officers while also providing support for students with complex and high support needs. Skills in studying, resilience, stress, time and behaviour management as well as conflict resolution are provided by the guidance team.
When further assistance is needed, students and families are referred to outside agencies where necessary.
Kirwan High is proud to be the first state high school in North Queensland to appoint a school chaplain. The chaplain makes a tremendous contribution to school life through the positive engagement of students in community service programs and a range of other school based activities.
School based youth health nurse
A school based youth health nurse has been part of the Kirwan High community since 1999. The role of the youth health nurse is to promote the health and wellbeing of young people by providing information, support and by connecting them with other support services if required. The youth health nurse works with the school community on issues that may affect the health and wellbeing of young people and the school community as a whole to create a supportive, healthy school environment. Appointments can be made directly with the youth health nurse based in the student engagement team’s offices in the first year centre.
Youth support coordinators
The youth support coordinators work to support young people at risk of leaving school early by ensuring that they stay connected to learning. This is achieved through supporting students and families to improve attendance at school; the establishment and coordination of various peer support groups to support those struggling with a variety of issues such as bullying, conflict, social skills, resilience, self-esteem and more. Individual support sessions are also available to provide more intensive support.
Defence transition mentor
Kirwan High has a large number of students from defence families. On arrival you can obtain, from the guidance officers, information concerning our defence transition mentor.
The role of the defence transition mentor is to assist students to make successful transitions into a new school and community by providing support and information.
You can access the defence transition mentor in either of two ways:
- Self-referral - Students may make an appointment with the defence transition mentor by calling into the student engagement team’s offices in the first year centre for an appointment.
- Parent referral - Parents may refer their child/children to the defence transition mentor if they have any concerns by phone, email or in person.
The desired outcome is a smooth transition of secondary school students from mobile Australian Defence Force families from school to school and across curriculum jurisdictions.
Positive behaviour for learning (PBL)
Positive behaviour support (PBL) is a school-wide approach to behaviour management. The key focus is to positively engage students and staff and all other members of our school community in a respectful and safe learning environment.
At Kirwan High students will be taught explicitly what it means to be an engaged, respectful and safe student. A key component of PBL is the schoolwide acknowledgement system that recognises those students demonstrating these positive behaviours.
Role of house group teacher
On enrolment, students are assigned to a vertical house group led by a house group teacher. The student stays with this group through to Year 12. The role of the house group teacher focuses on pastoral care i.e. the development of a caring school environment in which every student feels they belong. Parents are able to meet these teachers early in Term 1 at the meet and greet and are encouraged to make contact with house group teachers at any time.