Jason Smith, Principal, Tamborine Mountain State School
To lessen tension between students, parents and the school, principal Jason Smith took the unusual step of banning homework at Tamborine Mountain State School, replacing it with ‘work at home’ strategies that include philanthropy, entrepreneurship, family time, sports, and cultural and art pursuits. Smith has also transformed the school’s staffing and curriculum for the 21st century by employing specialist teachers in STEM, science and digital technologies, which is rare for a primary school.
Smith has also created the Tamborine Mountain Learning Academy partnership. One of the programs born from this partnership is the Young Scholars Program, which identifies high-performing students in Years 4–6, puts them in the same class for two years, and links them with the local high school for further extension and enrichment. Students in the program have experienced two years’ worth of growth in one year of learning – a feat the director-general of education called a “game-changer” for the school’s students.