Health Impact Award
The Health Impact Award is designed to recognise the significant contribution made by an individual or group to Health programs in a Queensland school.
Winner: Jenna McKnight and Thomas Fisher, Carmel College Thornlands
Jenna and Tom have worked alongside each other at Carmel College for the past six years. During this time, they have been instrumental in pioneering Health as a senior subject at the school and have built it from the ground up. They both have a passion for Health and had taught it at previous schools. Upon arrival at Carmel College, they saw a need for this subject as it aligned with the clientele and needs of the school. It has grown to be the second largest elective subject and attracts a wide variety of students.
Their contribution to the 'health' space at the school has also gone beyond the senior classroom, where they have successfully implemented the Australian Curriculum across years 7-10, with a significant focus on developing units of work that would lead students to success in senior Health. Through Tom's roles as Program Leader of Athletic Development and more recently as a House Leader, Jenna and Tom have found innovative ways to integrate and diffuse positive psychology models and health frameworks, such as PERMA+, into a variety of subject electives and into daily pastoral care classes. Beyond the classroom, Jenna and Tom have organised for their Year 11 Health students to participate in the Qld Government funded P.A.R.T.Y. program for the last six years at the Logan hospital, which has been a much-anticipated experience by all and has inspired many students to choose Health related careers in their post-schooling transitions.
Outside of Carmel College, Jenna is heavily involved in all of the QCAA Assessor roles as a Lead Confirmer, Endorser and Marker. It is through participating in these roles, that she has been able to share key learnings with Tom, and together, they have improved student results in Health at Carmel.
The impact of their contributions to Health at Carmel College has been significant. There are many students who have selected this subject based on the success and 'word of mouth' from students who have been taught by Jenna and Tom. The number of students selecting Health as a senior subject significantly increased from having one health class historically, through to student numbers that consistently support two health classes over the last five consecutive years at the college.
Jenna and Tom have spent the last six years working together on strengthening the delivery of senior Health at Carmel College. Throughout this period, they have inspired many students to partake in health-related careers. In addition, they have developed the literacy and writing skills of their students with targeted learning experiences that can be transferable across multiple subject areas.
Their aim of inspiring students to build self-efficacy, collective-efficacy, health literacy and active citizenship within the subject has also led to significant community improvements. Through the Action Research Projects/Reports conducted during Unit 3 - Road Safety students have taken it upon themselves to contact councils, politicians and key community stakeholders that has resulted in significant road safety upgrades in and around the college (including flashing school zone upgrades, signage, crossings and traffic flow changes to carparks).
They have invested many hours into researching high-impact strategies and current educational pedagogical research that enhances their teaching and aims to engage students, while also producing excellent results in external exams. These strategies were shared with teachers across the state at the recent ACHPER conference, which led Jenna and Tom to build many additional professional networks and support graduate and experienced teachers alike. Furthermore, Jenna and Tom have influenced fellow staff in other departments at the school by delivering full staff professional development sessions that have modelled the teaching and learning strategies used in senior Health. This has then led to multiple staff members observing their lessons and implementing high-impact strategies in their own classes building the collective efficacy of staff. In addition, Carmel College is now delivering these same high-impact strategies as a school-wide approach to learning, which was inspired by the work the Jenna and Tom started.