Mountain Creek State High School is well known as an innovative educational institution, with a history of excellence in all areas of learning. One of these reasons for excellence is the personal attention given to students through the use of the sub-school infrastructure.
These sub-schools are semi-autonomous units that are self-directing and self-governing. They are responsible for the monitoring of behaviour and progress of students, communication with parents and provision of pastoral care.
They are led by a number of Heads of Department and Heads of Sub-School who are jointly responsible for the monitoring of behaviour and progress of students in the sub-school.
Each sub-school has its own sub-school staff amenities building which is staffed by a Sub-School Officer.
Heads of Sub-School have their own mobile telephones which make them accessible to the staff they support and which allows speedy contact with parents when the occasion arises. Students appreciate this level of contact between school and home and realise that problems and difficulties can be swiftly addressed and resolved.
Sub-schools improve student learning outcomes through the promotion of positive student-teacher relationships. They encourage and support communication among teachers in improving their teaching and enhance collaboration among teachers in managing school-wide problems. The traditional school organisation minimises collective, collegial behaviour on the part of teachers. “It leads to bureaucratic, rule-prone direction from the top but then creates autonomous teachers who, behind their classroom doors, can readily ignore much of the top-down direction.” Mountain Creek State High School has been deliberately structured to avoid this.
Central to the concept of sub-schools are a number of other beliefs:
That an organisation’s structure can enhance the working environment for students and teachers.
That a consistent whole-of-school approach to effective teaching and learning is essential to the development of an effective school that seeks to maximise student learning outcomes (i.e. academic, social and personal)
That teaching strategies and curriculum should focus on the maturity level of students. The more individualised instruction can be the more it meets the psychological needs of students, particularly young adolescents.
That only through the collective efforts of teachers can schools operate effectively. For example, “A lone teacher can impart phonics, fractions and the pluperfect tense, or the periodic table, but only through teachers’ collective efforts will schools produce educated graduates who can read and compute; apply scientific principles; comprehend the lessons of history value others’ cultures and speak their languages; and conduct themselves responsibly as citizens. Such accomplishments are the product of a corporate venture.”
Teacher accountability is achieved through ownership, commitment and collegiality rather than through supervision.
In a shared-influence setting, such as a sub-school, teachers have less individual autonomy because the pressure to do things differently comes from a source they need to respond to - their peers. This loss of individual autonomy is offset, however, by the collective ability to do things on behalf of student learning that the teacher is not able to do in isolation.
Learning partnerships are generated.
Sub-schools foster student growth and development and a deeper sense of belonging for all involved in the school community.
The five sub-schools are: