Multiple studies have shown the positive impact that female mentors and role models can have on girls’ confidence, academic outcomes and post-school life.
At Strathcona Girls Grammar, located in Melbourne, girls are being primed for success by getting to rub shoulders with some of the world’s best successful female enterprise minds who are guiding them through the development of their own business ideas and providing a glimpse of what the future possibilities may look like.
The school’s award-winning TC Envision Program – specifically tailored for Year 9 students and woven together with the Victorian Curriculum – teaches important entrepreneurial and life-ready skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, design capability, intellect, collaboration, communication and resilience.
Each term at Strathcona is underpinned by a different theme, starting with ‘exploring space and community’ in Term 1, followed by ‘specialising and upskilling’, ‘being an entrepreneur’ and finally ‘building your credentials’ in Term 4.
The school was recently named one of The Educator’s most Innovative Schools of 2021 in recognition of this program, and a range of other initiatives, that have seen student grades, and outcomes, improve markedly.
“To me, innovation is being creative and original in work and thinking in a way to that leads to improved outcomes. It means testing new ideas to do things differently and building on existing ideas but with a fresh perspective,” Strathcona Girls Grammar principal, Marise McConaghy, told The Educator.
"Innovation can be incremental, disruptive, architectural or radical. Schools tend not to be radical, but the pandemic was disruptive, and it did lead to innovative thinking and practices.”
Teaching girls to think outside the box
McConaghy said encouraging innovative responses inspires students and teachers to research and explore and use a variety of tools to uncover something new.
“This improves education because it compels students to use a higher level of thinking to solve complex problems and encourages teachers to use their experience and research to generate new approaches to teaching and learning.”
McConaghy said that as the school heads into 2022, it will continue to pride itself on its “innovative spirit” and build on its educational offerings.
“We have a number of programs happening in 2022, including our Learning Legacy Program which was developed in response to the school community’s experience of remote learning, our recently launched Centre for Learning Futures as well as an extensive new Wellbeing Program,” she said.
McConaghy also pointed to the school’s Teaching Excellence Lifelong Learning Program, Bold Moves Project, Global Graduate Framework Initiative, micro credential initiatives, Tinker Train, SOUL Program and Making Thinking Visible Project.
“Not to mention the team behind our award-wining TC Envision program are continually working to enhancing that program,” she said.
“It’s set to be a busy year!”