The principal of the Belmont City College (BCC) found time to talk to the Belmont Chronicle about the BCC and their recent rating in the West Australian of third in the State.
When I asked how they got here, he said it's all about pathways and value adding.
"We have spent years building pathways for every student that comes here."
All public schools are funded based on the economic background of their area, including special project funding. The City of Belmont Council also funds programs undertaken at the school, and they have a close relationship with both The Base (centre for young people) and the local police.
Darrel came late to teaching after a career in performance, acting, theatre and music industry. He says his wife, who is a teacher, suggested that he would make a good teacher, and so he has, receiving the Principal of the Year Award, back in 2015. He came to the BCC in 1994 as a probationary teacher and has moved through all the positions from there, through Head of English, Deputy, and now Principal.
He's certainly seen things change. When he was a teacher, he used to think about the things that could be improved if he was ever in the position to be able to do so. Now he is, and the school is becoming a place where students are coming from some distance away, to take advantage of their pathway programs.
Darrel says BCC has a vibrant musical program, with music lessons, school bands and partnerships with the local primary schools, to get kids interested and learning music. They have academic extension programs and they have also rejuvenated the inter school sports based activities and carnivals.
"15 years ago, the school was declining. Now we are in a growth stage in terms of numbers. Parents want their kids to come here," he said. With 945 students now, they are expecting increased numbers next year based on the primary schools in our area.
"It's taken a lot of work and many people are putting the hard yards in to get our pathways of education in place, and then we all make them work by bringing the kids on their learning journey. Everybody works together to get here."
"The responsibility of a good educator is to engage with their students, and keep them moving along their education pathway. This is what we aim to do here for all of our kids."