Thirty finalists from government schools across Victoria were shortlisted for the 2018 awards.
Five individual awards and four team awards were presented at a prestigious award ceremony on Friday 26 October at the Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne. The Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education was awarded to the category winner whose contribution was judged to be the most outstanding to Victorian government school education in 2017-2018.
Read about the 2018 winners below.
Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education
Narre Warren South P-12 College
Narre Warren South P-12 College's Principal Class Team has created a culture of aspiration and achievement. It has led to an incredible transformation over the past three years.
The school's leadership team led a school-wide teaching and learning model in 2015. The model includes intensive focus on student data and responsive teaching. This triggered fundamental changes to curriculum design and delivery.
An unwavering focus on data-driven priority setting was also introduced. Benefits and improved outcomes for students are the core of every leadership decision.
A new College Wellbeing Centre was set up to provide holistic support services for students with additional needs. A team of counsellors, youth workers, a speech pathologist, a chaplain and a psychologist work at the centre.
The team has also encouraged strong parent and community partnerships with the school. The school has partnered with sporting clubs, language schools and other community organisations. This has cemented the college as the heart of the community.
The school has undertaken significant capital works programs to deliver whole-community resources. It is renewing local family engagement and pride in the school.
The team focuses on giving life skills and pathways to every student so they succeed beyond school. The Principal Class team has raised expectations for the school, and students have responded. Success is shining through in opinion surveys and achievement data, including NAPLAN, VCAL and VCE results.
Outstanding Primary Teacher Award
Kerri Smith, Fish Creek and District Primary School
Fish Creek and District Primary School prep teacher Kerri Smith believes teaching and learning is all about relationships.
With 35 years of teaching experience, Kerri believes children learn best when they're having fun. She establishes strong connections with her students using engaging teaching strategies.
She uses a range of collaborative learning approaches to encourage student skills in critical thinking, problem solving, team work and independence.
Kerri gives all students the opportunity to take part in STEM-based activities. These activities challenge them to be creative and solve problems.
Kerri ensures her students are always growing by setting daily and weekly goals and challenging them to do their best. She is a passionate advocate for developing her students' skills and talents. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion with her students.
Kerri started a buddy program which pairs new prep students with a year 6 peer. She organised a "Buddy Bench" so all students feel included, and to encourage empathy and social connection.
Her colleagues say she is a lifelong learner who shares her wealth of knowledge. She is the driving force behind her school's Professional Learning Teams. Kerri meets with staff every week to help develop their teaching practices, and shares her professional learning with them.
Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award
Cassandra Marinopoulos, Berwick College
Berwick College maths teacher Cassandra Marinopoulos believes understanding the way students learn is key to successfully meeting their learning needs.
Cassandra is part of her school's Getting Ready in Numeracy (GRIN) program. GRIN encourages underachieving maths students to develop their skills.
Cassandra has undertaken extensive professional development on teaching and learning strategies. She has shared her knowledge as the driving force of peer collaboration at Berwick College.
She supports her colleagues' professional development by showing them a wide range of teaching strategies. She uses inquiry and evidence-based methods to evaluate the impact on student learning.
Cassandra worked with the college's engagement and inclusion leader to deliver professional learning workshops for integration aides. These workshops build their capacity to differentiate and support literacy for students of all abilities.
Cassandra aims to create a supportive culture with high expectations. She wants to encourage all students to achieve success, whether they are highly academic or have additional needs.
Cassandra is an integral support to students funded under the Program for Students with Disabilities. She also leads her school's High Achievers program. Her colleagues say she has a unique ability to improve the learning outcomes of both gifted and struggling students.
Cassandra has played a key role in enhancing whole-school accountability for quality teaching and learning. She builds a culture of collaboration with her peers to positively impact student learning.
Outstanding Primary Principal Award
Jane Satchwell, Chelsea Heights Primary School
Chelsea Heights Primary School principal Jane Satchwell says she is proud of her journey with the school community to achieve her vision: 'High Standards, High Expectations'.
The vision aims for clarity and simplicity. It ensures strong understanding and application across the whole school.
Jane took the school from disadvantage to creating a culture where everybody believes that all students can succeed. Data indicated a need for the school to change its social climate. The first challenge was to transform the belief that demographics led to low performance.
Jane led a whole-school transition guided by the Professional Learning Communities' core principles. She enhanced staff collaboration, community cohesion and student-centred learning.
To achieve new targets for student success, Jane developed a learning environment that was safe and conducive to learning. This includes clear and focused teaching instructions with frequent monitoring and intervention. The results have been outstanding.
Over Jane's eight years with Chelsea Heights Primary School, the culture has changed. Before, the school was underperforming and reactive. Today, the school is collaborative, professional and adaptive to changing educational needs.
The school has achieved and sustained medium to high literacy and numeracy growth. Student behaviour has significantly improved. The school culture promotes inclusion and collective responsibility to support all student achievement.
Outstanding Secondary Principal Award
Robert Pyers, Horsham College
Horsham College principal Robert Pyers has led the school's revival over the past five years.
Robert has turned around declining student numbers and community confidence in the college. This has happened through his vision, and by demonstrating trust, care and high expectations for everyone at school.
Robert believes that empowering and valuing staff professionalism is critical for a school. The right model of leadership and support can deliver exceptional student outcomes.
Robert established a distributive leadership structure and professional learning communities. This has created a collegial climate at Horsham College, which staff have embraced. The school's curriculum development, teaching practices and student learning outcomes have transformed.
The school has introduced a whole-school literacy and numeracy plan. Staff have a sense of collective responsibility for student progress and achievement. The plan is based on common assessments and an instructional teaching model.
Robert has initiated strong collaborative practices. This has led to effective new evidence-based teaching and learning strategies.
Robert says the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) has guided the college's transformation. FISO remains a critical tool in planning, monitoring and celebrating its progress.
Under Robert's leadership, Horsham College has achieved significant gains in numeracy, literacy and VCE results.
Local community confidence has been re-established. Students and educators alike consider Horsham College a school of choice.
Outstanding Business Manager Award
Chris Dickson, Warrnambool College
Warrnambool College business manager Chris Dickson has dedicated her career to government education. She values the important role of education support staff and business managers in achieving great student outcomes.
Colleagues across the greater Warrnambool school network say they admire Chris. She has in-depth knowledge of government school sector policies, guidelines and financial management.
Chris constantly shows her commitment to building professional competencies for herself and others. She organised network support and speakers for a regional professional development day. She also initiated a business managers course at South West TAFE. It had very strong attendance across Warrnambool, Hamilton and Portland. This vital initiative shows Chris's passion and hard work for all government schools in her region.
Chris regularly helps principals and business managers from small schools. She assists with human resource management, financial planning and Departmental policy.
Her colleagues say that she shares her working knowledge "completely and selflessly, with a genuine desire to help and see improvement in other government schools".
Chris has secured ongoing funding for programs through strategic budget management and enterprises. This includes four on-campus businesses, including a swimming school and international students' program.
Chris has supported the school leadership team in applying for facility upgrades grants with succesful outcomes. The technology and arts wings have enabled new heights of innovation at the college.
Outstanding Koorie Education Award
Bruthen Primary School
From the moment students walk through Bruthen Primary School's front gates, the pride for its Koorie community and culture is clear.
Over the past two years, the small school of 45 students has developed an Aboriginal language and culture program. Aboriginal education and culture is evident in every classroom for every student.
A truly collaborative effort between students, staff, parents, community Elders and Koorie engagement support officers has created outstanding outcomes. They are united in their enthusiasm and commitment to explore the stories of the past and work towards a positive future.
In 2017, the school's Student Attitude to School Survey achieved the 88th percentile for sense of inclusion. This is in no small way due to the Koorie education program's success in teaching principles of understanding, empathy and pride.
The school has also achieved positive academic outcomes. There are notable improvements in literacy and numeracy benchmarks since the Koorie education program began.
As a result of this, Bruthen Primary is deeply proud of its Koorie culture and language program, which it puts at the core of all student learning. They also share the program's success by working with other local schools to help establish their own culturally inclusive program.
Outstanding Inclusive Education Award
Warringa Park School
"Imagine the possibilities" is Warringa Park School's vision for all students and staff.
The school's leadership team oversees a multi-campus P to 12 specialist school with over 500 students. They create learning experiences that create the best possible lifelong outcomes.
Individual learning plans support the unique abilities and potential of every student. From specialist activities for the youngest, to pathway programs for the oldest - the learning journey is rich and rewarding for all.
The school's 'Learning Centres' are shaped by what students need to succeed.
Every learning space is distinct and personalised and teaching instruction is flexible. Technology is available to engage students and accelerate learning.
Strong community networks are a priority. School, industry and tertiary partnerships are creating outstanding opportunities for students.
Students gain practical skills through industry. Structured workplace learning is offered to every Year 11-12 student.
The school's 'Café 11' social enterprise also provides hospitality skills experience for Year 9-11 students.
Through community partnerships, Warringa Park is providing enriching arts education for their students. Students participate in imaginative and creative activities in visual and performing arts.
Warringa Park is a leader in its education sphere. They participate in local and international collegial exchanges that share and strengthen their practices.
Outstanding School Advancement Award
Narre Warren South P-12 College
Narre Warren South P-12 College was also the winner of the Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education. Their profile can be viewed at the top of this page.
Outstanding Education Support Team Award
Melbourne Girls' College
The education support team at Melbourne Girls' College knows that their decisions have significant outcomes for the school and their community.
The Operational Integrity Team formed to improve planning and administration of the school's funding and resources. Their goal is to support student achievement in the best way.
The team found that previous processes were at odds with the school's strategic priorities and best intentions for their students.
The school conducts around 600 activities a year. Data from May 2015 showed that 146 activities were not planned or did not align with budgetary priorities.
The team worked closely with the school community to make sure they understood the Department's governance structure for financial systems and processes. They focused on student resources in the classroom and financial hardship.
The Operational Integrity Team's vision is for student learning and wellbeing to be at the forefront of every decision. They have successfully engaged teaching staff, students and parents with this vision.
The team reduced ad hoc activities from 35 in 2017 to 12 in 2018. Having a shared vision meant spending money where it was most needed.
The education support team now regularly shares its success through peer networks. They are keen to collaborate, continuously improve and share knowledge across the sector.
2018 VEEA Finalists
Thirty finalists from government schools across Victoria were shortlisted for the 2018 awards presented at a prestigious award ceremony on Friday 26 October at the Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne. There were five individual awards and four team awards.
2018 Individual Award Finalists
2018 Team Award Finalists
See the four team awards finalists for the 2018 Victorian Education Excellence Awards by clicking on the drop down menus.