DIMBOOLA Memorial Secondary College is celebrating after its VCE results placed it in the top 10 government schools in the state.
Principal Anne Gawith said staff and students were delighted to learn the school was ranked eighth for its 2017 results, with a median study score of 34.
The school was one of two rural government schools in the top 10.
Mrs Gawith said many of the government schools that out-performed the college were select-entry schools.
The college’s average ATAR was 77.83, and a third of the school’s study scores were 37 or higher.
Dux Sam Polack – one of 11 students who completed VCE at Dimboola this year – achieved the highest ATAR in the Wimmera, with 99.25.
The results come as the school continues a range of unique student and teacher programs to improve student outcomes.
Mrs Gawith said among these was an explicit focus on improving teacher practice through a rigorous performance and development program.
“All staff have willingly embraced this program, in which they observe each other’s classes and provide meaningful feedback,” she said.
“Every initiative we have introduced has had a direct connection with improving student outcomes.
“In 2017, DMSC also introduced a hands-on learning program to help re-engage younger students with their education. While in its infancy, we are already encouraged by observable changes in some of the participants’ attitudes to school. This program will continue in 2018.”
The college was also a pilot school for the Education Department’s Professional Learning Community program in 2017, and was identified as an exemplar school in this area.
“The college is also a lead school in the department’s Respectful Relationships program, and we are receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback on the work we are doing in this area,” Mrs Gawith said.
“In 2018 we will continue our sharp focus on student outcomes. We will not be complacent, remaining ever-mindful that there are always areas that require improvement.”
Mrs Gawith congratulated the college’s VCE students on their results, and the 12 students who studied the VCAL stream in 2017.
The school has achieved study scores above the state average in both VCE English and maths for the past three years.
In 2017, Dimboola Memorial Secondary College students had a median English study score of 33, and a median mathematical methods study score of 32.5.
Mrs Gawith said it was pleasing to see students achieve study scores of 40 or higher across a range of subjects, including biology, food studies, health and human development, outdoor education, product design and technology, studio art, and physical education.
One student achieved a perfect study score of 50 in PE.
Mrs Gawith said the school recognised a small cohort of VCE students meant potential for significant fluctuations in results.
“One student’s results in a cohort of 100 does not have the same impact as one in 20,” she said.
Mrs Gawith said many of the school’s VCAL students had secured employment in their chosen fields.
“All have contributed in a positive way to the betterment of their school and community through their projects,” she said.
“These include the White Ribbon campaign with Simone O’Brien; RUOK Day; a colour run for epilepsy awareness; Jump Rope for Heart; and regular visits to Allambi, Dimboola’s aged care home.”
Mrs Gawith thanked the college staff for their contributions to students’ achievements in many domains.
“All teachers have an impact – starting in year 7, right up until the completion of year 12,” she said.
“Our education support staff also contribute to a positive learning culture by participating in ongoing professional learning, and genuinely caring about the outcomes of all of our students.”