Brett believes there are too many kids who are disengaged from mainstream school. And according to him it’s not just just due to behaviour. To make a difference for disengaged kids, Brett’s prototyping a plan for off-campus student focused learning centres as an alternative learning option. With 49 kids who were out of school, or on the way out, engaged in a positive education, we think his project, the La Trobe Valley Flexible Learning Option (LVFLO), is totally worth profiling.
- Observe. Find a problem that was systemic. Brett was thinking about big scale change pretty early.
- Research. Brett spent time looking at best practise alternatives that were outside the average education setting. He looked at other schools in the state that were doing a top job of engaging at risk kids and were also pretty cost effective. This hunt also gave him an idea on what kinds of models the department were already supporting.
- Propose. Brett gave the department a detailed report on the current situation and the vision for LVFLO with a goal of locking down some funding and gaining ‘campus’ status.
- Search. He found an appropriate location for the Flexible Learning Option, with easy access to transport (it ended up being in town, in a commercial real estate property).
- Recruit. He stared looking for suitable staff, people who were passionate and effective.
- Design. The learning program was student focussed, individualised, and holistic. Brett settled on the ‘Calmer Classrooms’ approach.
- Enrol. Brett really thought carefully about the enrolment process. He wanted to make sure that the kids were ready and right for the environment.
- Listen. Monitor and evolve. Constantly.
- Scale. Brett’s looking at the best ways to expand and start creating organisational structures that can support expansion.
Brett’s impact with LVFLO is already pretty amazing.
“We currently have 49 students. The average time out of education before coming to IVFLO was 5 months. We have 14 Koorie students, 15 in out of home care and 7 in residential care. 15 students are currently on a youth justice order or have been in the last year. The average attendance rate for our core group who have gone through induction is 80%. That’s the data, but the real proof is in the attitudes, you have to see it to believe it.”
Like the Idea?
If you’d like to give a variation of LVFLO a shot, Brett would love to hear from you. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Brett and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer him on in the comments below as well.