What's the secret to Eidsvold State School's increased school attendance? Yumbin. What's Yumbin, you ask? Fair enough question. Yumbin is the Wakka (local Indigenous language) term meaning 'all of us'. It is a concept that encompasses their ability as a school, staff and community to work together toward the common goal of creating an inclusive school culture.
The aim of Yumbin is to provide all students with a sense of belonging and connection to themselves, others and the community through language, leadership, social skills and health and wellbeing. Pretty cool, and it seems to be working. School attendance for Eidsvold students has improved 4.2% across the whole school and 5.9% for their Indigenous students.
Their attendance data for the first semester in 2016 was the lowest in the Central Queensland region. In 2016 their overall attendance rate was 83% and 79.7% for Indigenous students. In 2017 this improved to 87.3% and 85.2% respectively. Eidsvold holds special celebration days when classes or the whole school achieve 95% attendance. That's an achievement definitely worth celebrating.
So how does it work?
Every morning from 8.45am to 9.15am students are divided into five groups, each comprising students from Prep to Year 12. The five groups rotate across the week through the following programs: LOTE (Wakka Wakka), Rock and Water, Peer Skills, Stronger Smarter, and Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL). The P-12 composition of Yumbin groupings encourages older students to become role models for younger students and prepares all students with the skills to be healthy, resilient, lifelong learners.
School attendance data showed that historically Mondays and Fridays were Eidsvold's lowest attending days so they organised a breakfast club to get their students to school and ready to learn. The breakfast clubs proved to be very popular and successful with more than two thirds of Eidsvold students attending regularly.
Since the introduction of Yumbin, Smart Moves, and the breakfast club, Eidsvold has seen improvement in student behaviour and attendance, teachers are building capacity and leadership skills, and the community is becoming increasingly more engaged and supportive. Yumbin has led to a whole-school culture shift based on a shared vision of authentic school-wide partnerships whereby all decision-making processes are collaborative and staff, student and community voices are not only encouraged, but valued, as drivers of Yumbin.
All of Eidsvold's Yumbin offerings have an expert teacher that has been trained or received extensive professional development around these areas.
Other school attendance initiatives include a school-wide positive behaviour system that awards attendance within classrooms. Student attendance is also acknowledged on parade and Yumbin groups are awarded Yumbin tokens for the highest attending group for the week.
And it doesn't stop there. They're a talented lot at Eidsvold. Their Year 7 and 8s scripted and directed an Every Day Counts at Eidsvold P-12 State School video for their school. It features Aunty Doris who works at Eidsvold and monitors attendance.
About the programs
Rock and Water
The Rock and Water program is aimed at raising self-awareness of personal strengths and abilities and at learning how to play, work and live together with others.
Peer Skills is designed to acknowledge and build on young people's natural skills and help them to more confidently and effectively help themselves and their peers with some of the issues that challenge them.
Stronger Smarter focuses on High Expectations Relationships, positive sense of cultural identity and positive Indigenous leadership to the forefront of Australia's education system.
Smart Moves – Physical Activity Programs in Queensland State Schools
The aim of Smart Moves is to increase student participation in physical activity and improve the quality of the activity delivered to all Queensland state school students.