The 2017 LEAD Awards for Excellence were presented by the Honourable Sue Ellery MLC, Minister for Education and Training, at the Catholic Schools Staff Breakfast held on 8 August.
The Awards acknowledge and celebrate Catholic schools and colleges for initiatives that exemplify Learning, Engagement, Accountability and Discipleship in practice. There were a record 30 applications for 2017, with the Leaders’ Choice Award added to the program for the first time, and decided by online voting open to CEWA Principals. A panel of judges including Principals, CEWA office staff and representatives from the University of Notre Dame Australia selected eight Award winners, as well as seven LEAD Awards of Merit recipients.
Read about the Award-winning initiatives in each category below:
Assumption Catholic Primary School – Making Space for Learning Program
To support all children and families who belong in our school community, Assumption Catholic Primary School staff focused professional development and school programs on building self-awareness, resilience and emotional regulation for students.
Through a relationship with the Australian Children Foundation, all staff broadened their knowledge and researched the latest innovations in schools in Australia and throughout the world in the areas of trauma practice and positive thinking.
Staff used a creative, ‘can-do’ mindset in developing opportunities for students, including incorporating the MindUp curriculum, and implementing a variety of learning practices that support self-awareness and emotional regulation. Pre and post data is imperative to track progress, as are observational checklists to monitor disengagement behaviours.
Assumption Catholic Primary School have noted the impact of the initiative as:
- Collective commitment from the teachers, students and parent body to support students through experiences of trauma.
- All staff participating in professional learning experiences, not only building collegiality, but focusing on opportunities to build active and engaged learners within the school, and
- Staff using creative skills to further the initiative including prayer opportunities and conceptualising a Sea Container becoming a Sensory Room to support all students.
Mercy College – Reading HEADS
To build capacity in the reading strand of the English Learning area, and create opportunities to engage in reading activities beyond the classroom, Mercy College established Reading HEADS (Helping Everyone Achieve Desirable Standards).
Mercy College has a diverse student population, with many families who speak a language other than English at home. Students often begin their schooling years with limited English and poor receptive and expressive language skills. As a staff, it was determined that creating more opportunities for reading was an essential step to improving literacy outcomes for all.
Reading HEADS required a full-community approach, where parents and senior students were educated about best practices in reading.
Reading HEADS is a practical way to read daily in a supportive environment, and empowers children to become independent, proficient readers, boosting self-esteem in other learning areas.
A range of activities are being applied within the College to support all students, including Support-A-Reader, Twilight Storytelling, Early Bird Reading, Digital and Buddy Reading.
Reading HEADS has developed a love of reading within the school community. It has built confidence across the student cohort and had a flow-on effect to other learning areas. It has created the means for students to discover the world around them and teach students about where they came from.
St Anthony’s School – STEM Story
To create a collaborative learning environment for children to develop creative and critical thinking skills, St Anthony’s School developed an innovative STEM program for Year 1 and Year 3 Students.
Utilising collaborative and cooperative learning strategies, four staff members researched and designed innovative STEM ideas, which are captured in the School’s vision for STEM:
To create a collaborative learning environment where children can gain and apply knowledge, deepen their understanding and develop creative and critical thinking skills within an authentic context.
Students in Years 1 and 3 were teamed up to participate in eight activities – BeeBots, Marble Track, Marble Maze, Design a Cargo Ship, Design a Catapult, Sky-High Towers, Tooth Pick Towers and Space Lander Mission.
The Year 1s benefited from being coached by their older peers and Year 3s benefited from teaching younger peers about different concepts, assisting them to consolidate their learning.
Through the successful implementation of the STEM program, in Term 3 2017 it will be extended to Years 2 and 4 students. In addition, the STEM program has:
- Created a collaborative educational environment across year groups
- Challenge children to ‘think outside the box’ and incorporate skills from a range of subjects, and
- Established a culture of coaching and feedback amongst students.
Iona Presentation College – Hyperscience
To extend Year 9 and 10 students beyond the curriculum and delve into the exciting and challenging aspects of STEM, Iona Presentation College established a project based learning experience. Hyperscience empowers students use their skills, along with technology, to build a final product through a process of research, design, prototyping, and evaluation.
Participation has grown from 10 students in the launch year to 40 students in 2017. Students are collaboratively exploring subjects including engineering, astrophotography, medical science, building skills, critical thinking, creativity, citizenship and communication.
Hyperscience is now a Year 10 elective subject at Iona, strengthened by partnerships with the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, UWA (with use of their spirit telescopes and light curve programs), Engineers WA and the special skills and expertise of staff across the College.
Many products have been developed through this program, including:
- Apps, including one linking cancer patients to support groups
- A 3D printed prosthetic hand
- A drone designed and built for use in natural disasters
- Coffee table books on astrophotography, and
- Customised teaching tools using 3D printing.
Since the introduction of Hyperscience the profile of STEM has increased across the student cohort. The projects and products have been featured in school publications and local newspapers, promoting the exciting and varied learning opportunities provided for students at the College.
Mercy College – CAVE: Your Journey, Our Support
Mercy College established the CAVE – Careers and Vocational Education – as a space, a program, and a team of people guiding students through their transition from Year 12 to the next step in their personal journey.
The CAVE provides students and families with access to programs and services that empower them to make informed choices about their career. The CAVE is a friendly, safe and positive environment, enabling students to achieve their personal best through individualised support to enhance the academic curriculum.
The CAVE is led by the Careers and Guidance Counsellor, alongside the Head of Vocational Education and Training. The CAVE is a bright, functional and welcoming space for students, staff, families and external partners, and incorporates a range of practical and multi-functional areas.
Some initiatives run through the CAVE include the Careers Expo, Meetings with Industry, ‘Lunch n Learn’ sessions, and Try a Trade in partnership with MPA Skills and Skill Hire.
Clontarf Aboriginal College – Religious Education Week 2017
To contextualise faith within Aboriginal spirituality and cultures, Clontarf Aboriginal College established Religious Education Week 2017, full of engaging, fun, action-packed and culturally-appropriate experiences for all students.
With a Welcome to Country by Noongar elders, and a high-calibre list of local community leaders speaking with student groups, this week was an opportunity to interact with members of the Perth Catholic community in an open dialogue around faith and spirituality.
Religious Education Week 2017 was co-designed by staff and students, incorporating art, sport, music, language and faith, creating a distinctly Clontarf experience. A range of games and quizzes engaged students throughout the College across the week.
The week entrenched faith and culture throughout all aspects of College life, beyond RE classes. It will be run again in 2018 and is firmly embedded in the College calendar of events and in the Annual School Improvement Plans.
Most significantly, the impact on students was profound. The initiative supported them in forming a deeper understanding of faith and culture, built within their own traditions, and creating every opportunity to develop their own spirituality.
Iona Presentation College – Presentation Faith in Action Project
The Presentation Faith in Action Project was developed by Iona Presentation College to encourage young women to live as disciples, responding to homelessness out of a transformation in their relationship with Jesus.
The project was focused on Year 11s, delivering practical, inquiry-based learning opportunities and increasing awareness of social issues. A website was created as the platform for guiding students through inquiry-based projects that touched their hearts, informed their minds and transformed their actions, now and in the future.
The project was divided into three core components:
- Understanding Youth Homelessness in Australian Society
- The Catholic Church Response to Homelessness as a Social Justice Issue
- Making Change and Taking Action: Adding Student Voice to the Issue
The project has empowered students to understand and respond to social justice issues, and become agents of change within the community. Students have gained greater understanding and appreciation of the Church’s engagement in social issues, and they appreciated the use of contemporary pedagogy in RE.
The RE Team have been inspired to transform the delivery of curriculum to better support students through their journey of faith formation and religious knowledge.
St Patrick’s Primary School – Christian Meditation Project
To enhance spiritual development for all students and support them to find God in stillness, silence and simplicity, St Patrick’s Primary School has cultivated a culture of Christian Meditation across the Pre-Kindy to Year 6 classrooms.
The initiative focuses on the fruits of meditation, which include helping children relax and experience calm. It has helped deepen a sense of community and allowed children to experience God.
The parent body supported the introduction of Christian Meditation, which is taught sequentially from Pre-Kindy to Year 6. Staff have attended relevant professional development and continue to participate in ongoing training through professional learning communities.
The outcomes have included:
- Pre-Kindy to Year 1 students associated positive feelings with meditation, including ‘happy’, ‘good’, ‘thoughtful’ and ‘calm’,
- Years 3 to 6 students found Christian Meditation to be a meaningful form of prayer, with students indicating it was a time to be close with God, and
- Students believed the mantra Maranatha helps to create physical and emotional stillness, allowing a closer connection with God.
St Patrick’s has extended Christian Meditation within the community, inviting parents, students and staff to meditate together.
The panel also selected seven recipients for LEAD Awards of Merit:
- Hammond Park Catholic Primary School
- Liwara Catholic Primary School
- Mercedes College Perth
- Mercy College
- Our Lady of Mercy Primary School
- St Andrew’s Catholic Primary School
- St Francis’ School
Click here to read more about the LEAD Awards of Merit projects.