Head teacher Anthony Demertzis is passionate about thinking outside the box to get the best outcomes for students in the special educational classes at Warilla High School.
“I wanted to create a unit that really challenges staff and students to deliver high expectations and excellence for everyone. Excellence can range from a student catching the bus from point A to point B, to completing an apprenticeship.”
Ideas being tested include modifying subjects from the mainstream curriculum for the students’ life skills program. Students are also being grouped together in classes based on their behaviour characteristics and personalities, rather than just their disability diagnosis of autism, mild intellectual disability or mental health issues.
“It falls back on classroom management of teachers and the right school learning and support officers. When you’ve got the right staff that can create a rapport and relationship with the kids that is trusted, students will demonstrate that excellence.”
Anthony is also passionate about getting students ready for life after school. This year students created art that will be part of a public exhibition. Next year, they plan to set up a business that the students will manage that will offer services like carwashing and lawn mowing.