Proud principal witnesses a cultural change
LAIDLEY State High School principal Michael Clarkson wants students to reach their goals.
He is determined to provide a framework of support for all students, which would not only drive them to success at school but also in life.
Mr Clarkson said while achieving high academic results was important, his focus was ensuring students would integrate into the community in life after school.
"The real measure of success is how many kids go away and do something with the education they've been given,” Mr Clarkson said.
Six months after graduating school, the class of 2017 had more students employed as full-time workers than part time workers.
Mr Clarkson said this was promising after the graduating class of 2016 had five times as many part time workers compared to full time.
"We want kids to know they will succeed at life if they're good human beings, but it's easier to succeed if you have a bit of paper to go along with it,” he
In 2018, Laidley State High School not only achieved the highest percentage of OP 1 to 5 in the Lockyer Valley, but the graduating cohort also attained a 100 per cent Queensland Certificate of Education.
"We've been at 98.1 and 99.2 but we've never been at 100 per cent before, so that's really pleasing,” Mr Clarkson said.
"Every cohort is different and every group that comes through has a different group of needs and our job is to respond to those needs.”
Fostering a close student-teacher bond was critical for achievement for Mr Clarkson.
"Our teachers need to be very clear about what support they need to provide to students,” Mr Clarkson said.
"The support needs to be explicit in nature, it's not general help, students need to know what they're good at to be able to move to the next level.”
Year 12 students Ebeny Murphy, Ella Charlesworth and Archer Dennis said the support they received at school gave them the confidence to succeed.
The four are part of a young achievers program, a partnership with the University of Queensland, which connects the school's brightest with like-minded students.
Ebeny said the initiative made her goals seem possible.
"I study harder and seek out teachers help because the school helps us prepares for options after year 12,” Ebeny said.
After 15 years as principal, Mr Clarkson said he could feel the culture changing.
For the past four years the school has had full enrolments, which Mr Clarkson took as a good vote of confidence from the community.
Along with maximum enrolments, the percentage of students transferring from local primary schools had also increased.
"I'm really proud of is when I first arrived Laidley State High School wasn't a school of choice in the area and we've completely addressed that now,” Mr Clarkson said.
In 2019, the school will expand to new heights with $8.5 million of funding, which would build the school's first two-storey building.