Over the past few months students at St Arnaud Secondary College have been receiving assistance with their numeracy and literacy skills from a group of community members three afternoons a week.
In what has been called the “Power Hour”, up to 40 students, 15 community volunteers, along with a number or school teachers, have been attending on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for about an hour to enhance the learning of young people in Years 7 through to Year 9 – especially in the areas of Literacy and Numeracy.
The “Power Hour” initiative was developed by the St Arnaud Secondary College as a strategy to increase the aspirations of young people within the community, and support them in their learning, and builds on other successful initiatives that have been developed within the St Arnaud community such as the Award Winning “Right Choices” program co-ordinated by the St Arnaud Primary School.
As the principal of St Arnaud College, Branko Lukic indicated:
“When you provide education in a community that has seen a great deal of change over recent times, and across many researches is seen as one of the most challenging communities within Victoria, it raises the question:
“Is there a need to change how we are doing things here?”
The “Power Hour” program is one of these creative initiatives the school has developed to accommodate the challenges being faced in St Arnaud and to enhance the learning that the school currently provides their children and young people.
Coordinator Roxanne Egan says
“ The aim of the program is to increase student aspirations by assisting students who find Mathematics and/or English particularly challenging”.
“The expectations of our amazing community volunteers is to work with between one and three students for one hour each week to assist them improve their basic numeracy and literacy abilities in order for them to feel more confident in their skills. Primarily we would like to spark young people’s interest in Maths and English and improve their self confidence by allowing them to experience consistent successes in short, supported activities as part of this program.”
The “Power Hour” is one of many initiatives the St Arnaud Education community have developed as a way to engage children and young people within learning, and ensure that the learning opportunities and outcomes are improved across the community. Two key areas of focus include:
- the three St Arnaud schools (one government secondary college, one government primary school and one catholic primary school) developing a Learning Alliance to provide a high quality learning environment across all education settings and support every child and young person throughout their schooling journey;
- the development of the Youth Community Action Network, which brings together a range of education, community, business and government services in providing opportunities for young people to link more positively with their community and encourage them to aspire to be their best.