Mindfulness, YouTube, TED Talks and Neuroplasticity are some of the innovative approaches being used to dramatically decrease disruptive student behaviour and increase attendance among at-risk students in North Queensland schools.
About nine out of ten students referred to Townsville’s Stanton Lodge, which caters for state school students who have serious behavioural issues, return to state schooling with a significant reduction in suspensions.
Almost eight in ten (77 per cent) have fewer behavioural incidents recorded and around seven out of ten (68 per cent) show an increase in school attendance in the four years since the school’s establishment.
The impressive statistics come five years after Kevin Butler, Stanton Lodge’s Head of Facility, was tasked with providing a service for at-risk state school students in his region. Since then 1200 students from 42 schools have attended.
“Students that attend have a wide variety of needs as a result of verified disabilities, trauma backgrounds, out-of-home care scenarios and mental health diagnoses – or related behaviours and symptoms – to name a few,” Kevin’s nomination states.
“The innovation, and resultant challenges, comes from the fact that there is no set program that meets these needs perfectly, so Kevin has used his extensive experience in this field working with children to extract different aspects of many evidence-based programs to best help his students to achieve quality outcomes in their personal and social capability development,” the nomination states.
Some of the evidence-based programs being used to help students develop their Personal and Social capabilities include SenseAbility, Mindfulness, Brain Talk Therapy, Restorative Practice, Zones of Regulation, Rock and Water, which teaches self-awareness, Drumbeat, which uses drums as part of a wellbeing program, and Motivational Media. Apps, YouTube, TEDTalks, within small group lessons. Teaching neuroplasticity and concentrating on kitchen and workshop focussed activities also play a key role in engaging students.
To increase the prospect of student success, Kevin ensures there is daily parental, or carer contact with teachers so each student’s progress can be discussed, and professional links have been forged with key Queensland Health services.
Kevin has facilitated and participated in professional development around Autism Spectrum Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Distressed and Deliberation Defiant behaviour, Youth Mental Health First Aid, Trauma Informed Practice, Pathways to Trust for Neuroscience, Restorative Practices and Mindfulness activities.
Kevin’s dedication to learning more about the challenges his students face, his knowledge of behavioural programs being used successfully worldwide, and Kevin’s skills in building relationships with students all play a key role in student success at Stanton Lodge.
“The impact of this work on society is difficult to measure,” Kevin’s nomination states.
“However, there is a general acceptance that the improved personal and social capabilities that are being displayed will result in these students becoming valued and contributing members of society.”
Congratulations Kevin on your nomination.