The CONNECT Program is an educational initiative that incorporates an inclusive, flexible learning environment that has been designed to engage students who would otherwise be at risk of leaving school early. CONNECT provides students with a positive and meaningful academic opportunity as an alternative to the traditional school setting, providing a self-paced curriculum through differentiated instruction. This provides point-of-need learning that supports literacy and numeracy, with the goal of connecting students to their learning and community.
CONNECT is provided for students from years 7-10 that have been identified as at risk due to absence, behavioural or social/emotional issues that are contributing to disengagement in learning. CONNECT provides a safe, nurturing environment that gives a great starting point to re-engage with education. Students may be part of the program on a full-time or part-time basis, or attend on a casual basis mixed with their mainstream classes.
CONNECT classes are held in a separate flexible learning area on the Eaglehawk Secondary College school grounds that encompasses a garden area and outdoor classroom. A well-rounded curriculum with a strong focus on Literacy and Numeracy, complemented by PE/Health, Art, Passion Projects and Gardening classes, is delivered. All of our classes have an underlying wellbeing and holistic focus on our students and their individual needs.
Individual Education Plans are developed for each student in line with college-wide plans and form the basis of goals to work towards to ensure success in the program. Students are supported by Education Support staff who work directly with students or provide wrap-around wellbeing services.
Students wishing to enrol in the program undertake a series of interviews and meet with staff to ascertain their suitability for the program.
Generally a referral will be made by the student’s Community Wellbeing & Engagement Leader, a member of the Wellbeing Team or as a recommendation from an external organisation. This is followed by a meeting with a CONNECT staff member and a visit to the CONNECT classroom prior to a decision being made as to the suitability of the program for the young person concerned.
In collaboration with a student’s family/carer, a decision is made together, that will assist in providing the student with an educational and wellbeing outcome that will benefit them. We ask that families communicate any concerns and issues with us, to ensure that we continue to work together re-engaging their child/client with their education. Evidence shows us that a strong, cohesive relationship between home and school is vital to the success of the Connect program for any child.
The timetable of the program runs in line with the mainstream school timetable, including break times. This allows students who are ready to flow between the mainstream and CONNECT settings.
Students who enrol in CONNECT can attend on a part-time or full-time basis. Their timetable is fluid and can be amended according to the individual student’s needs at a particular time. This allows for a highly individualised program for a student to meet their wellbeing and educational needs.
The aim of the CONNECT program is to break down barriers to learning in a non-threatening, supportive environment. The program provides the opportunity for students to learn skills that will allow them to successfully return to mainstream schooling or move on to other educational pathways.
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