The new Regional 2023 cohort have recently commenced their yearlong adventure with the STEM Academy, led by the University of Sydney, which aims to support teachers to inspire students into careers within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, helping grow the economy and create the jobs of the future.
48 teachers from nine schools in areas including Ballina, Byron Bay, Lismore, Richmond and Mullumbimby participated in an intensive two-day program. The aim being to to support teachers which will in turn improve student learning outcomes, increase understanding of STEM career opportunities, and build partnerships within the local communities.
Director of the STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy, Professor Manjula Sharma from the University of Sydney said: “The Academy program will enable teachers to create STEM projects for their students around solving authentic local challenges associated with big global challenges.
This will inspire creative thinking in young people and significantly enhance knowledge and skills preparing them for the STEM workforce, encourage entrepreneurship and open up further study opportunities for students.
The teachers, many who come from low socio-economic schools and have diverse cohorts, work with experienced mentors who provide support and assistance to plan and implement their own STEM strategies in the classroom.
“The structure of the course empowers teachers to best meet the needs of their own students in the structure of their own school.” – Simon Clough, Cape Byron Steiner School
“No doubt the STEM enrichment academy will be responsible for catalysing a range of STEM projects that will engage our future innovators.” – Matt Cartwright, Southern Cross School of Distance Education
“Design thinking is an effective tool to move us from deliverers of information to facilitators of learning.” – Zane van den Berg, Rivers Academy of STEM Excellence
“This academy has supported us to apply best practices for STEM education to our program so we can achieve our aim with shared expertise, mentorship, collaboration and networking opportunities. It has been an excellent and valuable professional development program with direct impact on student STEM learning.” – Katie McCloskey, Trinity Catholic College, Lismore
Data from schools who have previously undertaken the program indicate an increased in students studying STEM pathways, and in particular an increase in female students considering STEM careers.
Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School
Richmond Christian College, Ballina
Shearwater Mullumbimby Steiner School
Southern Cross School of Distance Ed.
St Mary's Catholic College, Casino
Wollumbin High School
Those adversely affected by recent floods:
The Rivers Secondary, Richmond River
Trinity Catholic College, Lismore
Mullumbimby High School