ACEL Conference, October 2007, Sydney
Dr Jennie Bickmore-Brand
Dean of Professional Studies, Southern Cross Graduate School, Western Australia
"Equipping the future generation to transform their communities"
This paper will outline an innovative graduation program being implemented across Australia (ages 10-15), the introduction of which is having the effect of changing the culture among staff, students and their families and local communities. The Citizens of Tomorrow, Today: the Lifelong Learning graduation program in operation in WA, Newcastle, the Hunter Valley, Kangaroo Island and South Australia, is already proving to have wider reaching effects on empowering young people. Not only has the negotiated pathway aspect of the program been shown to motivate students to achieve personal goals and engage in going outside their own comfort zones (regardless of gender), it has established an environment for families to reconnect in innovative ways, at the same time rewarding students for looking outside their own lives to see how they might make a difference to the quality of other people's lives.
A testament to the success of the program was demonstrated when at a Year 7 graduation ceremony, one of the students received a top award, which under "normal" circumstances, her academic and sporting performances would have relegated her to the lowest achiever. Mentors drawn from the local community support the students. A Rotarian reading the Record Book with comments about all the activities the student had done in school, clubs and for the local community commented that he "would rather have this than a CV any day!"
The role of the leadership in planting the vision and scaffolding its implementation, against opposition at times, will be traced throughout the paper.
Dr Jennie Bickmore-Brand heads up the Professional Studies arm of Southern Cross College working with Principals and Deputies and church leaders in professional development, teaching in the Masters in Leadership program. From 2001-2004 she was Head of Primary at Lake Joondalup Baptist College in the northern suburbs of Perth. Jennie has had a long history of influence in the Education sector, having taught in education in both South Australian and West Australian universities. Jennie's Masters research developed a set of Teaching and Learning Principals adopted in the secondary Stepping Out Professional Development program. Her Phd findings and publications have influenced the teaching of maths across all age groups. As President for two terms of the Australian Council for Adult Literacy, Jennie spans the gamut of teaching and learning contexts and is well placed to promote best practice in the development of leaders in educational settings.
Whilst Jennie has worked across all sectors in education and training she has a particular desire to support Christian schools in an era when their very existence is regularly threatened. Jennie has a commitment to working across various systems of governance and management to support educationalists respond to transition and change. This paper outlines a significant cultural change which Jennie instigated in her former leadership position as Head of a Primary School.