School’s ‘bold change’ improves student wellbeing

School’s ‘bold change’ improves student wellbeing

On 21 May, after a fantastic round of nominations, The Educator announced the finalists for the second annual Australian Education Awards.

The Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of the country’s top performing schools, principals, department heads and teachers.

Last year’s event was attended by a full house of over 500 of Australia’s education elite from across the country. Awards were presented in 24 categories recognising the work of the schools and individuals making their mark in the sector.

One of the finalists for the 2019 awards is Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School, which is up for two award categories – Best Student Wellbeing Program and Best STEM Program.

Strathcona is in the running with eight other schools for the Best Student Wellbeing Program.

In 2017, Strathcona conducted research into current wellbeing pedagogy and programming, resulting in the launch of the Felicitier (‘happy’) Program.

Teacher and author of the Strathcona’s Wellbeing Program, Lucinda Thom, said the program involved a “bold change” in the structure and delivery of pastoral care in the school to increase the wellbeing of students.

“We designed and implemented new initiatives such as The Buddy Program and the PAW [Pathways, Academics, Wellbeing] Model of mentoring to allow more effective relationships between students and greater connections with staff,” Thom said.

“Based on our school values, Felicitier Program aims to empower creative, ethical young women who have an authentic sense of self and optimism for their future.”

Strathcona is also a finalist with nine other schools for the Best STEM Program award.

Strathcona has been recognised for their STEM based education program called Tinker Train, which provides a pedagogical framework that aims to enhance student creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and problem solving.

Inspired by Stanford University’s User-oriented Design Process, the “Tinker Train” is teaching Strathcona’s students to generate original ideas and solve problems in new ways.

Michelle Dennis, Head of Digital Learning and Innovation at Strathcona, said the Tinker Train is empowering students to confidently solve authentic problems.

“It is empowering them with the skills to analyse problems, generate new ideas, express solutions, and assess validity,” Dennis said.

“It is our hope that as our girls develop their capabilities, competencies and confidence, they will continue to seek out opportunities and endeavours in STEM related fields in the future.”

Strathcona will join schools from across the country at the gala awards ceremony on Friday 16 August at Dockside in Sydney.