Immersing new students in the college culture

​Staff and students at North Lakes State College, a Prep to Year 12 school located 25 kilometres north of Brisbane, are excited to welcome all new students into Junior Secondary with the transition of Year 7s into high school in 2015.

With an influx of new students, the Junior Secondary leadership team is looking to ensure all new students have a cultural transition to high school, as well as a curriculum transition.

Leanne Matheson, Acting Principal at North Lakes State College said, “There is more to joining a new school than putting on a new school uniform. When students join North Lakes State College, we want them to feel comfortable, and have a sense of community and belonging, that is built on a foundation of shared values and goals.”

“As well as helping students acclimatise to the academic challenges in high school, we also felt that it is important to induct students into our school’s values and immerse them in the culture, identity, expectations, and values of the college,” Leanne said.

“Our three main values—courage, choice, and respect—flow into all areas of college life. They appear on classroom walls, in classroom discussions, and in the playground, and students receive accolades and awards for displaying our values and positive behaviour.” 

One way in which the college is inducting new students is through their cultural transition days. 

“During the day, our student leaders give presentations and stage skits that demonstrate positive behaviour and college values. The college holds orientation activities, based on the TV show, The Amazing Race, which aims to help students find key places around the school. Students work in teams to decipher clues, find markers, and collect stamps,” Leanne said.   

“They are also given a friendship bracelet with removable charms. During the day, we encourage students to give classmates they see displaying positive behaviour a charm. At the end of the day, they all leave with a full bracelet and fond memories.”

Parents are also encouraged to immerse themselves in the college’s values and culture. The college holds a number of parent information evenings to help new parents understand how the college supports student goals. The college also hosts specialist parent education training to support parents’ involvement in their child’s learning. 

We hold a five session course for parents, over 10 weeks. During these sessions, parents have the chance to meet and hear from the college’s specialist teaching and support teams, including our guidance counsellor, behavioural specialist, and learning support staff. By joining the program, parents get a real insight into how we can best work together to support their child,” Leanne said.

“These activities are part of an overall program to help ensure new students and their families feel just as much a part of our school, as those who’ve been with us from Prep.” 

North Lakes State College values

Courage: Overcome fear to do what is right, even when the decision is difficult and may cause personal distress.

Choice: Members of the college community should consider options and choose to act in the best interests of themselves and others.

Respect: Honour the dignity and worth of all people, treating everyone with fairness and courtesy. This should extend to caring for the environment.