The small town of Kilmore is home to a school as multicultural as they come.
The Kilmore International School, open to children from Year 3 to Year 12, attracts students from around the world to study the International Baccalaureate Diploma program.
Principal Andrew Taylor believes the institution’s cultural diversity and multicultural education provide children with important learning opportunities and an increased sense of wellbeing.
‘‘We have more than 170 boarders, and they are predominantly international students,’’ Mr Taylor said.
‘‘The international community is quite diverse — we have a range of cultures and nationalities here.’’
This is no understatement. About 50 per cent of the school’s population is from overseas.
And this exciting blend of young people, from Melbourne, rural Victoria, Australia, Asia, Europe and Pacific island nations creates a unique community where tolerance, leadership, good citizenship and diversity are valued.
‘‘The local students learn a lot from international students,’’ Mr Taylor said.
‘‘They learn tolerance, they learn another language. It is required (by the IB curriculum) to learn a second language and most students are doing Chinese.
‘‘So, Chinese students can be tutors, and local students can be peers or tutors of English for international students.’’
German, Korean, Indonesian, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese languages are also taught.
In addition to international exposure, local students take pride in their own culture, and teach their peers with tact and responsibility.
‘‘Public speaking and leadership aren’t necessarily qualities promoted in schools in foreign countries,’’ Mr Taylor said.
‘‘These can be quite transformative to international students.
‘‘We celebrate the differences, whether it’s cuisine, the dress code, language, music or religion. I think that helps prepare our students for a diverse world, which is moving faster and closer every day.’’
If multiculturalism is the backdrop for learning at Kilmore International School, the pastoral care program — which caters for the needs of every pupil — is the school’s well-structured script.
Students begin each day within a 15-minute home-room teacher meeting. This home-room teacher monitors students’ academic progress and emotional wellbeing, liaises with parents when necessary and provides a pastoral report once a semester.
‘‘It is quite important to have that pastoral care coming through a dedicated teacher,’’ Mr Taylor said.
‘‘We also have a counsellor in school, as part of our welfare system, who can provide one-on-one pastoral support and counselling to students who need it.’’
The latest group of graduates have demonstrated why TKIS is listed in The Australian newspaper’s Your School 2016 feature as the second highest rated country school in terms of academic results.
Eighteen per cent of the Year 12 graduates received an ATAR of 98 or above, placing them in the top two per cent of the state.
In addition, 63 per cent of students scored an ATAR of 90 or above, with 48 per cent of students scoring an ATAR of 95 and above, placing them in the top five per cent of the state.
Out of the 2016 graduates, 61 per cent received their first course preference in the first round of university offers with 85 per cent receiving tertiary offers from Monash University and the University of Melbourne.
Among the courses offered were medicine and health, commerce, engineering and science.
Significantly, nine of the 2016 graduates were also awarded university scholarships.
School captain and dux of the class of 2016 Ju Rong Ryan Tham and local Taylor O’Brien were among the high achievers.