2020 provided many opportunities for students to engage with new sustainability and entrepreneurial initiatives, develop their financial literacy and deepen their understanding of key concepts through fieldwork. Staff were excited by the partnerships and community links that were formed to assist us in providing a real-world context for the teaching of our subject areas into the future.
Our top highlights were:
start.business Learning in Action Program
We were one of the twenty one schools chosen to participate in the ‘Local Schools for Local Industry' initiative in 2020, funded by the NSW Government. This initiative allowed the Year 9 Commerce students in 2020 to work in teams to create a solution in response to problems identified in the local community and aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development goals. Students were involved in a school base pitching competition, working with industry and business mentors to develop their creative problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills. There ideas were impressive and their pitches engaging.
Economics – Pat Conroy visit
Pat Conroy the Federal MP for Shortland visited our school on the 30th of July, 2020 to speak to the Yr 11 and 12 Economics students about environmental and industrial relations economic policy. Pat displayed his strong interest in strategies that deal with youth unemployment in the Hunter and discussed his part in the development of Australia’s first Emissions Trading Scheme. Students were highly engaged in the presentation and asked some sophisticated questions.
Greater Bank Finance Academy Pilot Program
Commerce students received the benefit of the new financial literacy program developed by the Finance Academy, a 5 year partnership between the University of Newcastle and the Greater Bank. This initiative has now been incorporated into the Stage 5 Commerce program for future years.
UON Ambassadors delivered a session on the fundamentals of Financial Literacy and a Branch Manager from Greater Bank informed students about credit/debt during their second session.
All Year 11 students participated in the newly developed Financial Independence workshops as part of the Life Ready program in Term 4. During these sessions, students undertook a pre and post test to determine their level of knowledge and understanding of basic financial concepts such as credit, interest and budgeting. They participated in activities to develop their financial capability when dealing with obtaining loans, signing contracts and getting a credit score.
Year 8 Legal Studies Mock Trials
Year 8 Legal Studies concluded a semester of learning about the law by conducting an in class Mock Trial. Students took on the roles of narrator, judge, prosecution and defence solicitors, court staff, defendants, witnesses and jurors. It was a hard fought legal battle which eventually resulted in not guilty verdicts and couple of very relieved defendants. Mock Trials are an excellent means of incorporating the 'real world' into the Legal Studies classroom and the students really enjoyed having the opportunity the put their knowledge into practice. All the class should be congratulated on their enthusiasm, teamwork and the effort they put in to creating a really valuable, and fun, learning experience.
Environmental Representative Council – School Recycling System
After undergoing a Sustainability Challenge in 2019, a group of motivated students discovered that there is a lack of sustainability initiatives, particularly recycling schemes aswell as an inefficient bin system in our school. As a result we started an Environmental Representative Council in 2020 and successfully applied for a Sustainable Schools Grant. The students initiated passion projects in regards to waste management with the first project involving the improvement of our waste system with the aim of reducing general waste and establishing recycling systems in the playground, classrooms and staffrooms. Students conducted a waste audit and overhauled the current bin system in the playgrounds by introducing co-mingled recycling in conjunction with fewer but larger capacity general waste bins in stations around the school playground. Paper and cardboard recycling was were also introduced in classrooms aswell as a 3 way bin system in staffrooms. The ERC along with the GA team were responsible for the design of the stickering and bins aswell as the educational signage for the school. Return and Earn bins have also been introduced at the bottom of each of the blocks.