Established in 1919, Dandenong High School is one of the oldest, largest and most culturally diverse Secondary Schools in the state. Located in the South East of Melbourne, Dandenong High School is a co-educational school from Years 7 to 12 with an enrolment of approximately 2000 students. The school is highly multicultural with 77 nationalities and 83 different language groups represented and has a team of 200 teaching and 55 non teaching staff.
Dandenong High School has an enrolment of 2000 students with approximately 330 at each Year level. In order to ensure students develop a deep sense of belonging and connectedness to the school, teachers and fellow students, we have created a highly unique vertically structured House model. Within each House, which is a state-of-the art designed Learning Centre, there are 300 students, 50 from each Year level from Year 7 through to Year 12, 25 teaching staff from across all Domains and teaching areas, a House Leadership Team of three and an Attendance Officer. In Years 7-10, students learn primarily in the purposefully designed and ICT rich learning spaces within the House for their core learning, moving to specialist learning spaces when required. Students have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with the teams of teachers within the House. Parents can communicate regularly with the House Leadership Team and the vertical structure encourages peer tutoring and mentoring across Years 7-12.
At Dandenong High School, student learning is structured around a collaborative teaching and learning model. We have seven identically designed Houses; each containing purposefully designed learning spaces. These spaces allow for diverse and innovative learning experiences to take place, with a strong emphasis on collaborative learning. Within each House there are 300 students, 50 from each year level from Year 7 through to Year 12. Each House has 25 staff from all Domains and teaching areas.
In Years 7-9, our collaborative model is designed with 50 students and three teachers for the core subject areas, including English/EAL/Humanities, Maths/Science, Health/PE and LOTE. Each Teaching Team plan collaboratively and divide each group of 50 students based upon the type of learning experience, the needs of each individual student, the learning space they have been allocated and the use of technology. Students then rotate through each teacher within one lesson or over several, thereby experiencing a range of activities, learning styles and experiences which ensure the learning is engaging, meaningful and targeted to meet individual student needs and maximize positive student learning outcomes.
Our Senior Studies program, which involves students in Years 10, 11 and 12 provides all students with a tailored individualised pathway, allowing for informed student choice. The personalisation of learning across the school is intended to ensure every individual student is provided with the most appropriate pathway so as to ensure success is achieved by all. The School has an innovative curriculum based on the principles of inquiry and deep learning and offers a broad range of opportunities to senior students including; VCE, Vocational Education and Training and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning. The school has strong links with Chisholm TAFE and students have the opportunity to enrol in an “Industry Taster” Program at the state-of-the-art Trade Training Centre, in addition to undertaking VET courses at the Centre.
An extensive English as an Additional Language program supports students and a focus is to build a strong learning culture with an emphasis on literacy and numeracy. Significant resources have been placed into programs to improve student outcomes in these areas including the introduction of a Literacy and Numeracy Engagement Program for students in Years 7 and 8 in the Jacaranda Centre. Furthermore, all students in Years 7 to 10 are provided with access to an online Skills Builder program focused on the development of Literacy and Numeracy skills.
Dandenong High School has an Accelerated and Enhanced Learning Program and a strong pastoral and student wellbeing structure. Performing Arts, sporting and co-curricular programs enable students to learn a musical instrument, participate in productions and reach state level in a range of sports.
The one-to-one student laptop program embedded across Years 7-12 enable student learning to be transformed through the creation of real-life, meaningful and highly engaging learning experiences. A technologically rich curriculum and innovative learning environment is fostered at Dandenong High School so as to enhance student learning.
In Years 7 – 12 all students have an Individual Learning Plan and meet weekly with their Learning Tutor. This enables them to set meaningful learning goals and prepare for their future beyond school. The ILP enables students and their Tutor to track student progress, establish clear career pathways and identify the student’s strengths and areas needing further development. The continual fostering of the relationship between the student and Tutor further enhances student connectedness to school and enables the Tutor to advocate for each individual student where needed.
Dandenong High School has a strong focus on supporting student pathways and transition throughout the school. This begins with a comprehensive Grade 6 Orientation Program, Parent Information sessions, school Tours for families and Orientation Day. Furthermore, our extensive Transition programs enable interaction and the development of meaningful relationships between Dandenong High School and our feeder Primary Schools.
The school has extensive community and industry links and is involved in many programs that assist student transition from school to work or further education and training.The school also has strong partnerships with Monash and Deakin Universities and in 2013 is part of the Deakin Access Express Program, which is focused on building student aspiration for university study. The school has an excellent Work Experience Program, opportunities for students to attend work placement and runs the Beacon Foundation Program in Year 10.
Dandenong High School has many students from a wide range of backgrounds and we appreciate the rich diversity that this brings to the school. Amongst these students are many who are beginning to learn English as an Additional Language (EAL students).
At the school, our staff is committed to ensuring all students are empowered and achieve success in their studies. Teachers, the School Leadership Team and support staff all demonstrate genuine care and specialised skills to make certain that each EAL student receives individualised and effective support. In this way, we can safeguard their wellbeing, ensure the development of their language skills, provide full access to the curriculum and enable positive participation in school life. Teacher Aides are trained in the support of students from a range of backgrounds and can speak Dari, Farsi, Arabic, Tamil, Sudanese and Arabic.
English as an Additional Language (EAL) is offered within English in Years 7-10, allowing students to benefit from both EAL-tailored delivery as well as having the opportunity to learn through multiple ability groupings. EAL is also offered as a subject as part of the VCE Study Program. A range of EAL electives are run in Years 9 & 10, offering a more personalized language learning environment for EAL students.
Qualified EAL teachers are in all English Teams in Years 7-10 and in all Humanities subjects from Year 7-9. Teachers from across the school are trained in the delivery of EAL in the mainstream.
The Foundation Senior Studies course at Year 11 provides the individualised development of students’ literacy and numeracy skills for further Senior study. In the Senior School, flexible VCAL and VCE courses are offered with VET: EAL.
A range of leadership, sport and art programs are run, including a Homework Club, which takes place every Tuesday afternoon in the Jacaranda Centre, which provides extra support and opportunities for EAL students. Support is given to students from the Language School to settle in to school life. Extra EAL support is available in mainstream and separate classes throughout the school for recently arrived students with interrupted schooling through refugee-like experiences. Students receive support to feel happy and comfortable in school through group and individual programs. Assistance is offered with issues including financial assistance, where required.
Student Leadership Program
Dandenong High School values Student Leadership and is committed to creating an environment in which the student voice is genuinely acknowledged, nurtured, celebrated and one that ultimately affects positive change within the school community.
Our Student Leaders, including the School Captains, Vice Captains, SRC Presidents, House Captains and Student Representative Council act with integrity, compassion and exemplify excellence in every endeavor. They are responsible for identifying, implementing and evaluating whole school initiatives that allow students to feel respected, empowered and highly involved in the decision making process.
Dandenong High School employs 200 teaching and 55 educational support staff, all whom demonstrate outstanding commitment, expertise and passion towards student learning, which is reflected in the success achieved by our students. The Dandenong High School Leadership System incorporates a unique and highly innovative Distributed Leadership Model, which includes the Executive Leadership Team (the Principal, the Associate Principal for Curriculum Development and the Associate Principal for Curriculum Implementation), seven House Leaders, all whom are Assistant Principals with a whole school curriculum responsibility and 14 Leading Teachers, consisting of Assistant House Leaders, Curriculum Development and Implementation Leaders and Domain Leaders. All expert teachers undertake a leadership role within the House or across the school. Three Curriculum Leadership Teams – the Curriculum Committee, the Curriculum Planning Team and the Collaborative Learning Team drive curriculum development across the school, each with a visioning, implementation and support role, but each with a different focus and each led by the Associate Principals.
All new staff to the school are well supported through an extensive Staff Induction Program and the VIT Registration process for Graduate teachers, in addition to the VIT requirements for all teaching staff, are overseen by a leadership team.