Recognition for Horizon Program

World renowned Cambridge University has included Catholic College Wodonga in its list of the globe’s most innovative schools.

The College features in a publication celebrating 800 years of excellence at Cambridge University.

‘Innovation 800’ showcases global leaders and institutions at the forefront of change in the field of education. The project celebrates a shortlist of just 100 schools and colleges worldwide, and highlights their novel, impactful and effective solutions to some of the most pressing challenges faced by educators: how to keep up with the demands of a rapidly changing world; how to reenergise and inspire students to their fullest potential; how to foster healthy happy, confident, life-long learners, passionate and optimistic about their own and the planet’s future.

One of the key pieces of feedback we received was for the recognition of our Horizon Program. The Horizon Program, which was developed by our Learning and Teaching Leaders who are led by our Deputy Principal Learning, Teaching and Innovation Shaun Mason, commenced in the second semester of 2017. Horizon is an independent learning program which is comprised of three separate elements

  1. A weekly challenge
  2. An ongoing project
  3. A collaborative project

The program is available for students from Years 8 – 11 and we currently are interviewing applicants for Semester Two.

On Tuesday of this week, with Shaun and our Horizon leader Logan Hayward, I participated in the interviews for the students shortlisted for next semester. To say I was blown away listening to students articulate their passion and how they would like to explore it, is an understatement. Students discussed in detail, passions such as permaculture, coding, sport leadership, reconstructing engines and beef cattle genetics. Connecting students to their passion as a vehicle for learning truly excites me.

As learners, our Horizon students are breaking new ground. They are not only designing learning opportunities for themselves, but also gaining a deeper understanding of themselves as learners. This understanding, I believe, is a key skill which we must develop at schools for our students who are moving into careers that are yet to be invented. This was highlighted by the Foundation for Youth Australia report in 2015.

“Other policies to promote problem solving capabilities include shifting pedagogical methods in schools and universities away from volume – based rote learning to inquiry – based or experiential learning.” (p.33)

Over the coming term I will connect with the Horizon students at least twice a week. I am very confident that it will be me, who becomes the learner, as I engage in the passions of our Horizon students.

Below is the audio from an ABC interview which was aired last week (20 June) discussing our school being recognised as a ‘best practice’ pioneer.

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