Outstanding student achievement and inspiring public education staff and parents have been recognised in the 2020 NSW Minister’s and Secretary’s Awards for Excellence.

The awards showcase NSW public school students and staff who have made major contributions to their education communities and serve as role models to their peers. They also acknowledge schools that have embraced innovative programs to improve student wellbeing and academic results and are changing the way education is delivered within the government system.

This year, Jade Arnold, the school’s teacher librarian has received the Secretary’s Award for Excellent Service. This award recognises NSW Department of Education employees who have shown outstanding effort in improving the quality of teaching, learning outcomes and/or school environments in the NSW public education sector.

Ms Arnold has been instrumental in creating a visible culture of literacy and enquiry across the school. She has implemented the Sustained Reading Program that allows students to engage in reading curated texts to enhance interest and skill development. She further undertakes team teaching across all KLAs, conducting referencing and research workshops for classes, making the library the central hub of learning across the school.

These regular efforts are complemented by special events such as Book Week, thematic displays, author visits, author in residence programs, participation in the Sydney Writers’ Festival and Write a Book in a Day challenges to encourage life-long learning and a passion for reading for leisure. Ms Arnold has also championed the Premier’s Reading Challenge within the school, embedding it into the Sustained Reading Program and resulting in almost every student participating in the PRC since 2016.

This has also been reflected in the NAPLAN Reading improvements since her coming to the teacher-librarian role and are directly attributable to both the PRC and Sustained Reading Programs: from 2016 to 2019, Year 7 students in the top two-three bands have increased from 53% to 68% and Year 9 from 34% to 54%. In addition, she initiated the Student Librarian Team, creating another tier to the student leadership structure and democratising the role and direction of the library in the school community.

Holly Hayes and Mei Lin Meyers of Year 12 received commendations in the Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Student Achievement. This highly competitive award recognises outstanding Year 12 students who have excelled in their secondary years across academic excellence, sports, cultural, community and leadership.

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