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Formulating a school science program

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Meet James Bayard (Cohort 2014), teacher and 6-12 Science Leader at Northern Bay P-12 College in Victoria, who alongside fellow Alumni Caitlin Conway (Cohort 2014) and Paul Bolitho (Cohort 2015), developed a program that saw them a finalist in the 2017 Victorian Educational Excellence Awards. The nomination was well-earned recognition of the developmental rubric, classroom teaching program and increased student achievement that their program developed across the four junior campuses of Northern Bay College from 2014-2017. 

“After a Careers and Technology Expo in 2016, Caity spoke to Paul and me about her idea to run an after school science program for the kids, to encourage their interest in science.”

“There was a cohort of students who wanted the opportunity to complete more science activities. When the school decided to run an extended school day of optional classes, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to make a program that gave those students the opportunity to explore their interest.”

“We wanted this to be an opportunity for them to engage with science in an environment where they aren’t assessed.”

“Initially, we tried to implement the CREST [Creativity in Science and Technology] science program [from the CSIRO]. But that wasn’t quite suited to the needs of our students, so we adapted the program on our own.”

“We wanted to provide students who were already deeply engaged with science the chance to further explore their passion, while also further developing their skills through hands-on investigation and experimentation.”

“Generally, we tried to gauge the kids’ interest areas and work backwards from there. The content is actually pretty creative and the kids have a lot of freedom to experiment because their performance isn’t measured.”

“Time management has been the biggest challenge for us (pretty much the same for every teacher right?) — trying to balance the organisation of the program with everything else that’s going on in a school.”

The program earned the trio a nomination in the Victorian Education Excellence Awards in October 2017, for the Outstanding School Advancement category.

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