Our wonderful teachers never enter their profession looking for accolades or pats on the back. But if ever there is a year they should be celebrated in style, it is 2020.
They've supported and nurtured students through flexible and remote learning, and been a plank of surety for our children in a constantly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) world.
So, it was only just that our schools and teachers were honoured at the Victorian Education Excellence Awards (VEEAs) and the (AEAs).
It was particularly exciting for the Department's North Eastern Victoria Region team, with Bandiana Primary School's Donna Wright recognised as the Australian Government Primary Principal of the Year and the Australian Principal of the Year at the AEAs. Mooroopna Park Primary School also won an AEA for producing the Best Student Wellbeing Program.
Donna and Mooroopna were the only Victorian Government school winners at the awards.
The region also saluted at the VEEAs, winning:
- Outstanding Secondary Principal: Jill Laughlin, Camberwell High School
- Outstanding School Improvement: Cobram Primary School
- Excellence in Physical Education and Activity: Ben Clark, Antonio Park Primary School.
North Eastern Victoria Region director Terry Bennett said it was 'great to see our schools distinguished through these awards'.
Exciting and rewarding
Camberwell High School principal Jill Laughlin said it was 'an honour to be recognised for the work that I do as a school leader'.
Award judges recognised that Jill had brought her school community together to create and share a clear educational vision, developing independent and self-managing learners.
‘It is exciting and rewarding work leading a community and making sure everyone is on board and heading in the same direction,’ she said.
'It is the most amazing job to be able to influence the development of young people'.
Committed to improvement
Cobram Primary School principal Matt Knight was delighted his school was honoured.
'It is a wonderful recognition of the hard work and commitment from our entire school community and our staff in particular,' he said.
The school's emphasis on improvement started in 2017 when it implemented a consistent approach to curriculum development, assessment and teacher development. The move has led to a significant lift in student results, wellbeing and engagement.
'We learn together, we implement together, and we evaluate together,' Matt said.
Physical approach pays off
Antonio Park Primary School physical education (PE) teacher Ben Clark said the award, above all else, 'affirmed to me that the work I put my heart into for the past five years was worth the late nights, early mornings and countless failed lessons that ultimately led me to where I am today – a teacher'.
'I have moved away from a sport-based model of physical education and instead sought to give students a wide variety of experiences, introducing games from around the world as well as inventing a range of activities and giving students the voice to steer their own learning along the way,' he said.