Recognition for schools making a difference

At the Ann D Clark lecture earlier this year, Teachers Mutual Bank together with the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) announced a new award in honour of the inspiring work of Ann D Clark.

The three $2500 award grants are designed to reward and recognise programs in the Parramatta Diocese schools that are making a positive impact on their students’ lives above and beyond the curriculum.

The in-school projects set the foundations for learning, and increase wellbeing for children requiring the most assistance, helping them feel safe and supported in the school environment.

Meet the winners:

St Agnes Catholic High School, Rooty Hill – Wellbeing Program

The six tier program was implemented to address the mental health needs of students at the school. It has been successful in increasing the students’ sense of belonging and connection to others, while also helping them ‘connect back’ with their families and community.

Features include a mental health wellbeing space, lunch club, Indigenous mentoring group, technology club and a girl’s resilience and big sister program.

St Finbar’s Primary School, Glenbrook – Learning Through Play

Using children’s’ innate learning styles, the program challenges Stage 1 students to make sense of the world and learn and address conflicts through play.

The holistic program integrates cognitive relationship and sensory experiences though seven zones, individually selected by students, which include dramatic play, construction, collage, science and nature, writing, reading and numbers.

The school has seen an 83% decrease in behavioral incidents, a two band improvement in literacy for the most vulnerable students and increased inclusiveness for neuro-diverse children.

St Joseph’s Primary School, Kingswood – Shared Vision for Attendance

With the need to improve attendance rates, St Joseph’s introduced a whole-of-school community approach. Tailored for each student’s needs, the program called on caregivers to help ensure good attendance and the children also rose to the challenge.

Since the program was introduced, there has been an improvement in NAPLAN results, behaviour, safety and a more than 20% increase in attendance rates over the past four years.

These schools will use their $2500 award to undertake further training, upskill other staff and acquire further resources for their projects.

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