Student leadership program yield results

A project to develop leadership skills in Year 9 students has led to the creation of an indoor/outdoor classroom.

In 2011, Georges River College, Penshurst Girls Campus was invited to take part in a student leadership program. Penshurst Girls principal Anne Ross said the objective was to equip student leaders with the values and tools to help them implement leadership initiatives throughout their school and community.

"The Year 9 student representative council (SRC) students brainstormed ideas with fellow peers regarding a project for the school that they could lead and manage," Ms Ross said.

From these sessions the idea of an indoor/outdoor classroom was born.

In a statement of intent the Year 9 SRC wrote: "We have decided to change our boring performance space into an alternative learning area. We plan for this area to come alive with bright and vibrant colours to create a comfortable learning environment for our peers. We would like to recarpet, paint and refurbish this area with wireless Internet provided for the students' laptops. It includes school community involvement and it caters for the whole school."

The challenge of making this a reality was overcome when Creating Brighter Career Connections (CBCC) came on board. Its role was to identify and build relationships with businesses, parents and community groups.

Students, parents, teachers, Pole Depot Community Centre and St George TAFE helped fully re-design and refurbish a run-down and virtually unused space on the school grounds.

"The CBCC partnership broker, Sarah Royall, was instrumental in keeping all the agencies communicating with each other," Ms Ross said.

She said the community support had completely astounded her.

"Certainly witnessing the snowball effect of this project has been a wonderful educational journey for all of us within the school community, especially the students," Ms Ross said.

"The students have really participated in action learning from leadership training to leading and managing a project."

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