Education targets the topic

Education and state targets were the hot topics at a recent forum on learning in Gippsland.

New school targets have been developed to focus efforts on -factors that allow students to develop and achieve their best.

The targets come under the banners of learning for life’, ‘happy, healthy, and resilient kids’, ‘breaking the link’ and ‘pride and confidence in our schools’.

Education regional director Stephen Gniel opened the first Outer Gippsland Education State forum.

Mr Gneil said representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria Police, the Catholic education sector, registered training organisations and others talked about how to achieve Education State targets.

“This is integral in how we progress, step by step and year by year, to achieving our education state goals by 2025,” he said.

Outer Gippsland Area executive director Alison Clark said participants discussed the importance of strong, evidence-based decisions and how the early years of education were a foundation for learning for life.

We spent time discussing ways in which we can work together to achieve the Education State targets and how we can build links within our communities,” she said.

“The connections made at the event will hopefully form the basis of strong collaborative partnerships across many community service organisations, slate and local government as well as training organisations, for the benefit of families, children and young people living in Wellington and East Gippsland shires.”

Gippsland Times, August 11, 2017


Students divide and conquer

Nothing beats hands-on experience, and that’s exactly what some of the students at East Gippsland Specialist School got on Wednesday.

Four of the STAR and Links Program participants were at Bunnings Warehouse not only receiving tuition in building room dividers, but also getting out and about in the community.

Jordan Hare, Becky Whitfield, Lisa White and Tom Wigg made the room dividers to be used at their school to create distraction-free discrete trial areas within each classroom.

Bunnings donated the materials — PV pipe and connectors — for the project, while Tony Nasrallah gave a step-by-step workshop, with teachers Barry Robertson and Ben Curnow assisting.

The STAR and Links Program Is an evidence-based program introduced to the school in June last year, designed for students with autism and intellectual disability to promote students outcomes in communication, social skills, academic achievement and functional skill acquisition.

Links curriculum leader at the school, Kerry Watson, said East Gippsland Specialist School was the first school in Australia to implement the program and trainers from STAR Autism Support have flown from the United States numerous times to support the school’s implementation.

“The school is currently in the process of becoming a core training site for other schools in the state to learn from, with four other schools across the state already adopting the program,”, Ms Watson said.

“The STAR and Links Program focuses on up-skilling staff on implementing strategies in their classroom such as discrete trial, pivotal response training and functional routines combined with using positive behaviour supports to enable students to grow to their maximum potential as future contributing members of East Gippsland.”

The senior students are often out and about in the community of a Wednesday, undertaking tasks such as cleaning up work-sites and mowing lawns, teacher, Ben Curnow, said.

Bairnsdale Advertiser, August 14, 2017


ADFA award for student

Gippsland Grammar year 12 student Claudia Klose has been presented an education award by the Australian Defence Force Academy.

The ADFA Education Award is presented annually to year 12 students in recognition of leadership potential and academic and sporting achievements during year 11.

Claudia received her award from the Air Force by Wing Commander David Houghton after a lengthy selection process, which -included an appearance before the Air Force officer selection board. Her award includes a tablet device, certificate and a plaque of recognition for the school.

Gippsland Times, August 15, 2017


Fed forums

Federation Training has invited the Gippsland community to take part in a series of community forums to help shape the future for the region’s TAFE.

“Federation Training is an integral part of Gippsland,” board chair, Des Powell, said.

“It has a vision to be a leader in education and training, partnering with communities and industry to build a socially vibrant, economically strong Gippsland.

“We are here to help students — regardless of their age or background — get the best training possible so they develop the skills they need to get the jobs they want, now and in the future.”

Federation Training managing director, Jonathan Davis, said his new executive team was working hard to build a forward-looking, accountable TAFE for Gippsland that creates job-ready graduates through quality teaching.

To help shape its future, Mr Davis announced five community forums would be held throughout September and October on Federation Training’s campuses and at other locations across Gippsland.

The forums would provide an opportunity for locals — from current and future students, their families, small business owners, industry and other key stakeholders to have their say on what they are looking for from Gippsland’s own TAFE.

Issues that are likely to be discussed include:
* Ensuring that Gippsland’s skills base meets the region’s current industry needs and future opportunities. Giving Gippslanders every opportunity to re-train and participate in post-school education so that they can enter the job market.
* Making smarter use of technology to offer more flexible course delivery and improve teaching quality.
* Ensuring excellence in teaching practice and training, products.
* Providing specialist teacher training to enable improved support for students with specific learning difficulties.

Following the community forums, the Federation Training board will develop the next phase of its strategic plan to be presented to the Government by the end of November for implementation from the start of 2018.

Bairnsdale Advertiser, August 21, 2017


‘Science on the Fly’ prompts uni interest

Engineering whiz kids, fast train inventors, pilots and world-changing scientists may be sitting in a classroom at Mallacoota.

At the very least, it’s more probable than ever that careers in science are more likely for young women in the far east after a recent visit by three RMIT University students/graduates who have intertwined their career dreams with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The push to engage girls in STEM subjects in Mallacoota was given a boot by the RMIT ‘Science on the Fly’ program as the first town to receive a visit.

School parent, Mark Tregellas, who liaised with RMIT to assist in bringing the program to Mallacoota, said it was a fantastic opportunity for engaging and inspiring young women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The team flew in on one of RMIT’s training light aircraft where they got to see a little of Mallacoota before arriving at the school. All the female students from Mallacoota college secondary years went to the presentations, while some of the keen middle school boys also dropped in.

Mallacoota P-12 principal, Tim Cashman, said the visit was “aspirational”.

“Opening their (students) eyes to science and engineering … an opportunity to see what it can be,” he said.

Hayley Whitehead spoke about working with Elon Musk on the SpaceX program’s hyperloop train contest, Taylor Mather about being a team leader for RMIT’ s Electric Car Racing program, and Anna Garliss and Lindsay Behnck about courses and careers in aviation.

Taylor Mather, who studied engineering and business, is the glue that holds the RMIT Electric Racing team together.

Studying maths and science in secondary college, Taylor said she used her passion for motor-sport as her driver.

“Learning gets tedious at times, but I used motorsport as my motivation,” she told the students.

“If you love what you do it doesn’t seem like a job. I love STEM.”

Ms Mather explained how she studied an asso-ciate degree and bachelor, both HECS funded, and said there are scholarships available for women in engineering, which present a “high chance” of success given there are “not that many women in engineering”.

Ms Mather said she was hoping to move into a V8 team, or an internship with an F1 team in the future.

Hayley Whitehead, who completed her secondary schooling at Mt Waverley, studied what she enjoyed and was interested in STEM at high school, before spending a gap year in Finland. Mechatronics then came calling.

“It wasn’t easy to start off with. Continuing to try and not get disheartened was important,” she stressed.

An internship with Boeing Aeronautics Australia in Melbourne was followed by joining the RMIT hyperloop electrics team and going on to compete in the final 30 (from 1700 world entries) in Los Angeles.

She is now working with Metro Trains on overhead electric wires.

“STEM can take you places where you wouldn’t expect: hyperloop, Boeing, Metro.”

`When are we going to get that in Australia?’ was one the first questions asked of Ms Whitehead, referring to the hyperloop (magnetic) train that could travel up to 1200km/h. The question demonstrated that it is youth – who don’t place a ceiling on expectations or reality – that are thinking about their future more than many of the nation’s current leaders.

“Hopefully we’ll see it in Australia,” Ms Whitehead replied.

“It’s the perfect place for it, Melbourne to Sydney in 15 minutes, on to Brisbane.”

The final presenters of the day were pilot-in-training, Anna Garliss, who flew the RMIT plane from Point Cook to Mallacoota for the day, and RMIT aviation instructor, Lindsay Behnck.

Anna, who is working on her commercial licence through an associate degree course at Point Cook, and Mr Behnck walked the students through what was involved in studying to obtain a pilot’s licence, both recreational and commercial, at RMIT over a two-year course.

They spoke at length about the career opportunities in aviation, and Ms Garliss said after doing a number of skydives decided she just “wanted to be in the air … I want to fly”.

The American highlighted the “awesome” assistance available to Australia students wanting to study at a tertiary level.

“The most important thing, work hard in class, maths, physics. If you’ve got your background now it will float you through the rest of your life,” she said.

Ms Garliss also highlighted numerous scholar-ship streams available for women wanting a career in aviation. Mr Tregellas said the students and teachers asked many thoughtful questions, and the students received a great handout of material about RMIT.

“The team then had lunch with the school staff before flying back to Melbourne. Teachers are already getting questions from students about pathway choices in STEM subjects,” Mr Tregellas said.

“It was a pleasure showing the team Mallacoota for the day. If any schools in the region are keen to be a part of the RMIT “Science on the Fly’ program please let me know and I will put you in contact with the team.”

Bairnsdale Advertiser, August 21, 2017


Australia Day awards launched

Officially launching the East Gippsland Australia Day Awards last Friday, East Gippsland Shire councillors and staff were joined by previous award winners and recipients of Australia Day honours at council’s Corporate Centre for a celebratory morning tea and to hear from OAM recipients.

Working with Red Cross at local, regional, state, and now a national level, Anne Macarthur OAM was recognised for her commitment to the organisation in 2005 with a Bairnsdale Citizen of the Year title, followed by an OAM in 2007.

She addressed those in attendance on what it means to be an OAM recipient and what to look for in making a nomination.

The first female chairman of Red Cross Victoria, Mrs Macarthur said in 2018 she would like to see more female nominations for the award, as well as an increase in those individuals who make a difference at a grassroots level.

“Like most recipients, I think I haven’t done anything to be recognised,” Mrs Macarthur said.

“I simply do what all our Red Cross members do at a grass-roots level.

“I am an ordinary Australian and honoured to- be awarded an OAM.”

She encouraged attendees to go away from the launch thinking of someone in their community who would be worthy of nomination. East Gippsland Shire Council mayor, Cr Joe Rettino, reminded East Gippslanders that while Australia Day may seem a while away, nominations for the awards close in three months’ time, on November 24.

“So now is the time to think about the people who make a difference in your community and start collecting information for the nomination,” Cr Rettino said.

The categories include Citizen of the Year (people 27 or older on January 26, 2018); Young Citizen of the Year (people under 27 years on January 26, 2018); and Community Event of the Year.

Strong nominations will highlight how nominees have:

* Made a significant contribution in the current year or over a number of years.

* Demonstrated outstanding leadership or are role models in the community.

* Excelled in their field, for instance arts and culture; community service, sport and recreation, etc.

* Benefitted the community (for the event category).

‘We all know people, young and old, who are inspirations in the community. People who give and give without ever expecting anything in return, people who are always doing things to benefit others, people who make a difference to their community,” Cr Rettino said.

“Now is the time to acknowledge those people.”

The East Gippsland Australia Day Award nomination form is available on council’s website, and hardcopies are available at council’s Customer Service Centres and Outreach Centres.

Nominations close Friday, 5pm, November 24.

East Gippsland News, August 23, 2017