On Friday, August 3, Merimbula Public School was recognised for its quality teaching and learning programs and for having talented and dedicated staff at the Illawarra South East Region's 7th Excellence in Education Awards, held at Jerrabomberra Public School. The Excellence in Education Awards are a key feature of the region's Education Week events. They acknowledge and promote the many outstanding contributions and achievements made by staff, students, parents, community members and schools to public education in our region.
These awards demonstrate the strength of our public schools, the wonderful achievements of students and the dedication and commitment of staff. They also provide an opportunity to tell the wider community about the many inspiring people who make a difference each day in our region's 228 schools.
At the awards ceremony 16 students, 26 staff, 6 community members and eight schools were recognised for their significant contributions to education in the region. Merimbula Public School was definitely recognised, receiving 4 awards at the event.
Merimbula Public School Principal Mrs Michelle Hulme accepted an award for ‘Excellence in Teaching and Learning' on behalf of the school. Merimbula Public School was one of 3 schools to receive the award. To receive this award, the school's nomination needed to detail how the school's students achieve outstanding results in a range of key learning areas and how staff develop and implement innovative, high quality teaching and learning programs in accord with the NSW Institute of Teachers framework. At the school's Education Week Open Day Assembly, Mrs Hulme congratulated "all of our students and staff, together with the support of our parents and community, who have enabled the school to receive such recognition".
The school was praised when the award citation was read, stating: "Merimbula Public School has a dynamic, innovative, high achieving and collaborative staff that embraces leadership at all levels. As a result it supports school-based, learning community and regional initiatives to improve the professional practice of staff and improve student learning outcomes in a range of areas. The school has high achievement and is held in high regard by the local community. Its exceptional learning support programs have also been recognised in case studies filmed by the State Disabilities Unit and documented by independent evaluators of the School Learning Support Program Trial".
Teacher Mr Peter Claxton also received an individual award, "Excellent Contribution Beyond The Classroom by a Teacher" at the ceremony. Peter has been an innovative and enthusiastic member of the school's staff and wider community since moving back to the area in 2010. He has initiated a Breakfast Club at the school, started and coordinated the Sapphire Coast Learning Community Music Camps, ran musicals and performing arts extravaganzas at the school, taken groups of Merimbula Public School students to perform at the Sydney Opera House and has been a volunteer at Special Nippers and during the George Bass Ski and Surf Boat Marathon among other things.
School Administration Manager Mrs Jenny Smith and School Learning Support Officer Mrs Kelly McCormack both received awards for "Excellence In Educational Support by a DEC Employee". Jenny's work in establishing professional learning networks for women and support staff were recognised as well as her dedication to the many local schools she has worked in, particularly Merimbula Public School. Kelly's work in supporting the professional learning of her colleagues was also recognised, particularly her efforts when being filmed for a State Disabilities Unit professional learning resource for ‘Teaching Students With Significant Reading Difficulties and Dyslexia", which the school was the case study for.
This is the 6th regional or state awards ceremony Merimbula Public School has been recognised at over the past 2 years. At last year's regional awards Mr Peter Bootes also received an award for "Excellent Contribution Beyond the Classroom by a Teacher", Ms Kim Peters received an award for "Excellence In Teaching Practice by an Individual Teacher" and student Kiah Miller received an award for "Excellence In Student Leadership by an Individual Student". Parent and community member Ms Kym Marson has received one of the two "Public School Parent Of The Year" awards offered within the region last year and Mrs Smith and Ms Peters received awards from the Director General for their "Excellent Service To Public Education and Training" in December 2010 and 2011 respectively.
"Merimbula Public School really is an award winning school!" shared Principal Michelle Hulme "Most importantly though it has an innovative, dedicated and collaborative staff who work together with parents, community groups and organisations to offer the highest quality programs and resources available to students. Our physical education and performing arts programs are outstanding and our literacy, numeracy and welfare programs are exemplary particularly due to their integration of technology and learning support staff assistance".