Nick Murray

Pacific Links

An innovative program aimed at reaching out to the Pacific Islander community in Logan is encouraging a culture of learning and hope among today’s students.

AN award-winning schools-based program aimed at improving the learning outcomes for Pacific Islander students is being pioneered in Logan.

The Pacific Links initiative at Woodridge State High School involves partnering with local community organisations to raise the aspirations of students.

The initiative, which partners with organisations including Griffith University, Pacifika Pioneers, Good Health Nutrition, Voice of Samoan People and the Hope Centre aims to work with families and Pacific communities.

Community Hub Project Manager Josephine Aufai said research driven by Woodridge High found that a targeted initiative was needed to support the unique and complex needs of Pacific Islander students.

Dancing
Dancing

The school, which has a current enrolment of 1100 students, has more than 350 students of Pacific Islander heritage.

“The research showed that many students from the Pacific Islander cohort did not transition well to further education and employment,” she said.

“The school began researching alternatives and found that working collectively with community organisations and local businesses could be an effective way of enhancing the learning and vocational outcomes of these students.”

The targeted approach, which was originally established in 2010, includes a number of strategies aimed at building student success.

Under the Pacific Links project, a mentoring program has been introduced, linking students to key members of the Pacific Islander community.

The weekly meetings aim to encourage school attendance, build resilience and support students in setting academic goals.

The program also collaborates with local churches, attended by many of the students and their families.

In addition, the program also includes family nights, homework programs and home visits with school representatives.

Under the holistic initiative, students also receive leadership training, financial and employment advice, attend camps and gain insights into employment, study and vocational options after they finish high school.

Since Pacific Links was introduced school attendance rates have increased, suspension rates have decreased and student behaviour has improved.

The success of the initiative has provided a model which has now been used in other schools throughout Queensland.

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