From the High School Deputies



What is STEM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

You may have heard through the grapevine that one of our Year 7 classes has been doing things a bit differently this year. Instead of the traditional programs for Science, Technology and Mathematics, 7A have been studying a pilot program that links the three courses together. It’s called STEM@Carey.

And you really don’t need to look far to find reasons for introducing this program. Almost every week the news carries a story about Australia’s declining performance in Maths and Science, or about how important STEM subjects are for future jobs growth and economic prosperity. Schools across the country are wrestling with measurably lower levels of engagement, participation and achievement in STEM subjects. There’s no shortage of people pointing out the problem. The question is: can anything be done about it?

STEM@Carey is being designed to encourage our students to engage purposefully with science, technology and mathematics as they solve real world challenges. We are aiming to develop skills that enable them to communicate with a variety of audiences, to become confident users of different technologies, to design practical and creative solutions, and to work effectively as part of a team.

To help us develop this program, we applied for and (drum roll, please) we were GRANTED a partnership with the Sydney University STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy. This prestigious group accepts just twelve schools at a time from all sectors: public, Catholic and independent. As a result, WCCS will receive outstanding training and support for its team of six teachers to be led by Kim Barry, TAS Coordinator, as we work to develop a curriculum Year 7-8 that is genuinely engaging, academically rigorous, and based upon solid educational practices.

With Academy support, STEM@Carey will now expand its pilot program from one class to three classes in 2018. Two Year 7 classes will commence the program next year, while the current Year 7 class will continue into Year 8.

I hope you can tell I’m pretty excited about this initiative. I believe it will make a real, positive difference to our students and, as an old maths teacher, it’s in an area where I can make a personal contribution. With the commencement of BYOD for Years 7 and 11 next year, however, I also believe that STEM@Carey will be just one among many innovative strategies we’ll be talking about in future.

Keep thinking bigger!

Mike Nightingale
Director of Teaching and Learning