Deb Lever has two daughters who've undertaken Year 7 in a pilot school.
Deborah Lever is a parent with two daughters in Years 7 and 8 who have both experienced Year 7 in high school when they attended Cleveland District State High School, one of 20 state schools selected to pilot Year 7 ahead of the statewide move.
Deb shares her thoughts on how her daughters have grown and developed during their time at high school.
“I felt really excited when each of my girls started high school, last year and this year respectively. It was the same feeling as when they lose their first tooth, started Prep and then started Year 1—all those firsts. There is naturally some hesitation, as well as joy associated with that, but it’s a new journey. I’ve found that as long as you have a good attitude, you can get through it together.
“I have been happy with the school, and my daughters’ teachers. In particular, I’ve been impressed by teachers availability, as well as their professionalism. Just today, I had email conversations with both of the girls’ home-room teachers and the school regularly has open events, where parents can visit classrooms and see how their child is doing.
“I think a part of the reason the girls have adapted quickly to life in high school has been due to the Junior Secondary model that Cleveland District State High has implemented. It means that the school feels a little smaller for the girls. In fact, the older students are very mindful of the younger ones and are really caring. My two girls still look out for their two older buddies, and enjoy having a nice association with them.
“There are also good opportunities for students to explore their interests with co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. My girls have both discovered things about themselves. They’ve found they can do things they’d never before considered and are growing in confidence every day. They are both into dance, which neither of them has ever done previously, and they are both discovering themselves musically. Lexy is now learning the cello and Leah the trumpet. They are both doing really well and I feel this is because there is an emphasis on achieving a balance between academic achievement and extra-curricular activity.
“I know that next year there will around 100,000 students starting high school, in either Year 7 or Year 8. When we were getting each of the girls ready to start high school, we wanted the move to feel like a natural transition. We helped the girls feel comfortable by buying their school uniforms early and having them try them on, letting them pick out their school bags and some stationery items. We drove past the school a number of times and went to the open events.
“If I was asked for advice from parents, I’d just remind them to look at it as a new journey and a bit of an adventure. It’s a whole new aspect to your child’s life. It’s amazing and rewarding to watch as they start to find new interests and strengths.
“We all deal with change as a part of life and it can be good, if you manage it. By the end of the first term I’m sure they’ll feel a lot more settled and it will be a journey you’ve shared together. In no time at all, you’ll be looking back on this time with fond memories of their achievements.”