St Rita’s College announced one of country’s most innovative schools St Rita’s College announced one of country’s most innovative schools

St Rita’s College has been named as one of Australia’s most innovative schools in a recent report by The Educator magazine. 

Recognised for two new initiatives, its Graduate Teacher Network and Study Skills program, St Rita’s was chosen as one of 50 schools across the country who are collectively shaping the future of education.

St Rita’s College Deputy Principal of Studies, Mrs Maree Trims, launched the Graduate Teacher Network with the aim of closing the networking gap caused by COVID-19 during the online learning period earlier this year.

Mrs Trims said the network had proved immensely beneficial in allowing graduate teachers to connect with their peers, with nearly 20 graduate teachers from Catholic girls’ schools coming together on a regular basis.

“Sharing resources and having the ability to reach out to colleagues who are in similar career situations isn’t new in the workforce, but the graduate teacher area had been overlooked and was seen as a critical lifeline for these staff, particularly at a time where they were facing uncharted territory with classroom delivery,” she said. 

“We are hoping to continue developing the College as a workplace at which graduate teachers can improve professionally as informed and capable professionals.”

St Rita's Deputy Principal - Studies, Mrs Maree Trims, with graduate teacher Mrs Georgia Dogger.

St Rita’s College graduate teacher, Mrs Georgia Dogger, said the network had proved extremely beneficial in its first year.

“Together, we have the opportunity to workshop our approaches to delivering units in the most engaging and accessible way for our students,” Mrs Dogger said.

“We are striving to be experts in our field, meaning that we can never allow ourselves to stop learning; each of us brings a unique flair which can positively contribute to practical suggestions for lesson planning and content delivery.”

Georgia Dogger teaches a Year 7 Geography class.

Also recognised by the Educator was the College’s Study Skills program, providing students with crucial lifelong skills in time management, organisation, motivation, focus and goal setting, as well as fundamental reading and writing practices.

Head of Study skills, Ms Amanda Wallas, said the program was informed by pedagogical research, using data from analytics and test results to refine processes and optimise delivery.

“Actively shifting away from the traditional notion of the teacher as the fount of all knowledge, Study Skills instils the confidence in students to empower and develop their own learning strategies,” Ms Wallas said.

“For instance, Years 11 and 12 students form groups of up to four students, and their collaborative work on a specific subject provides greater depth and a consolidation of learning to benefit each other.”

Head of Study Skills, Ms Amanda Wallas, delivers an online Study Skills session during the Learning at Home period.

2020 College Captain, Caitlin Wasmund Loughnan, said not only did the program teach valuable skills, it also helped to shake up a lot of traditional study methods and encouraged them to consider trying something new. 

 "Students’ minds are opened to the idea that anyone can change their learning, and that there are infinite options available to them," Caitlin said. 

Senior students work in collaborative groups in order to share knowledge and skills.

The Study Skills program is part of a partnership with the ARC-SCI Science of Learning Research Centre Partner Schools Program, supported by researchers at The University of Queensland.

For more information on the St Rita’s College Graduate Teacher Network, click here.

 For more information on the Study Skills program, click here.

 To view The Educator’s full list of Innovative Schools 2020, click here.