LOWANNA College principal Adam Hogan is excited about the prospects for 2020.
Mr Hogan, 36, has just completed a memorable first year at the Newborough-based education provider following a four-year spell as principal of Maffra Secondary College.
He said the school had made significant strides in a number of key benchmarks during the past 12 months.
“We recorded our best NAPLAN literacy results in 10 years, which gives us confidence we’re heading in the right direction,” Mr Hogan said.
“For me it is about genuine literacy and getting kids to read well. Our goal is to have every child as an independent reader by the end of Year 7.
“We’ve invested heavily in that space, with three key leaders trained in the department-leading literacy course.
“The result of that is a three-tiered approach which is best practice.”
Mr Hogan is heartened by the fact Lowanna will welcome 180 Year 7 students in 2020.
“It is the first time our enrolments have gone up in seven years,” he said.
“Not only that, but we’ve had a strong uptake of our laptop program with 90 per cent of (2020) Year 7 students on board.”
Mr Hogan said that technology is a great enabler of learning and that not only students, but staff were being equipped with the right tools as part of a partnership with Microsoft Education aimed at building digital literacy.
Other key measures to show areas of improvement included student attendance (which has dropped from 23 days missed to 21) and growth in 18 of the 19 measures on the student attitudes survey.
“I’m a believer in education is done with kids, not to kids,” Mr Hogan said.
“We started by putting students at the centre and listening to them, building that engagement.”
Staff culture also saw a visible change in 2019.
Lowanna College boasts 115 staff, including 70 teachers, with surveys pointing to brighter outcomes.
“Our staff culture survey is above the state average in all areas,” he said.
“We provide supportive leadership, a professional learning environment and focus on efficacy.
“We value people and continue to make sure we’re always striving to raise the bar.”
The high school has also made significant strides in the sporting arena, with the Under-20 basketball team scoring gold at the national championships and four students (Sam Flanders, Brock Smith, Leo Connolly and Harry Pepper) selected in the recent AFL draft.
Lowanna College students return to school on January 29.