With only 63 students and a handful of staff, St Joseph’s Primary School Merriwa is a small school making a big impact.
The Maitland-Newcastle Diocese recently awarded its Principal Helen Whale the Monsignor Coolahan prize for Leadership.
Helen said the prize was testament to the whole school community.
The citation said St Joseph’s “is a warm and friendly school. Helen encourages and supports a positive climate within the school community, building strong relationships with all levels of the school, the parish and local community”.
Helen was recommended for the award after a group of 30 principals visited the school.
The citation said “they were greeted by an atmosphere of welcome, where students, staff, families and the surrounding community felt clearly valued and supported”.
“I think the principals appreciated the warm atmosphere and that real learning was happening. We are endeavouring to keep up with our city cousins in terms of implementing curriculum, being innovative and bringing continuous improvements to the children,” Helen said.
The citation said Helen is committed to “authentic learning and challenges her staff to provide quality teaching and learning which will enable students to become self aware, intellectually curious, critical and creative thinkers, respectful of others, engaged citizens and committed to both spiritual growth and lifelong learning”.