After being saved from closure, a Townsville school specialising in education for children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds is entering a new era.
Shalom Christian College at Condon is changing its name to Carinity Education Shalom on Wednesday October 20, to come in line with four other schools around Queensland operated by Baptist-based not-for-profit Carinity.
The unveiling of the school’s new identity follows rapid growth in student numbers since Carinity acquired it from the Uniting Church in 2018.
The school’s educational model sees each of the 136 students, from 74 families, picked up and dropped off each day in Carinity Education Shalom’s dedicated mini-buses. The school also provides a daily breakfast for students, ensuring they are well nourished to maximise their ability to concentrate and learn in the classroom, aiding educational outcomes.
The unique approach has proved popular, with enrolments doubling from 70 students to almost 140 in the past two years. The number of staff at the school has also increased, by more than 30 per cent.
The school currently caters for children from Prep to Year 9 and will progressively introduce more secondary year levels up to Year 12 by 2024.
Carinity Education Shalom Director of School Campus, Sharyn Ive, said the independent, co-educational school provides a culturally safe and supportive learning environment for students, most of whom are Indigenous.
“We are committed to providing an inclusive approach to education, in a Christian framework, to improve the academic, spiritual and cultural outcomes for all students,” Sharyn said. “Our curriculum provides a balanced approach ensuring learning is in a supportive environment, meeting the emotional and creative needs of the individual child. Undoubtedly, Shalom is a valued space in Townsville, especially for our town’s First Nations community.”
As well as education, cultural learning, and spiritual development, Carinity Education Shalom provides a range of support services focused on assisting families and maintaining the health and wellbeing of students.
The school has undertaken extensive upgrades to buildings on campus, including major refurbishments of senior classrooms and Food Technologies kitchen. There are plans to revamp more classrooms and the science block in 2022 while the school’s dedicated bus fleet is set to double.
Students and staff including dedicated school chaplains promote a school- wide positive behaviour framework – dubbed ‘The Shalom Way’ – to drive student success in a welcoming, safe, and supportive environment.
Carinity’s Executive Manager of Educational Services, Christine Hill, said Carinity Education Shalom is a sister school to four special-assistance Carinity Education schools in Gladstone, Brisbane, Rockhampton, and Hervey Bay.
“Carinity has been educating young people for more than 20 years. Our vision is to create communities where people are loved, accepted and supported to reach their full potential,” Christine said. “Our schools are not just about students achieving academic goals; we give young people the experience of belonging and show them the opportunities open to them. It’s about students having hope for a positive future and being supported to achieve personal goals.”
Since 1949, Carinity as an outreach of Queensland Baptists has been making a real difference in people’s lives through comprehensive and integrated community services.
These include caring for the frail aged in their homes or in integrated seniors’ communities, helping families and young people through difficult times, and supporting people with disability. Carinity also provides shelters for homeless youth, alternative education for teenagers who struggle in traditional schools, and prison and hospital chaplaincy.