Previous Study Award Winners

2020 Study Award

Following this years AGM, we presented the 2020 VPA Study Award sponsored by Bank First, for Promoting Community Links.
This year the award went to Maria Giordano, assistant principal at Oak Park Primary School. Her topic is building resilience in children to improve their mental health. 

Building Resilience in children to improve their mental health, Sponsored by BankFirst

The 2020 Study Award for  Promoting Community Link was awarded to Maria Giordano, Assistant Principal at Moreland Primary School. Maria’s topic is building resilience in children to improve their mental health. Maria’s project looks at positive psychology and how to best help young children to help themselves and build resilience. As a result of her research Maria has since implemented the following services at Moreland Primary School to help improve the children mental health.

• Hired a mental health and WB leader
• Introduced green chronicle entries around the school, based on school values:
Respect, Resilience, Responsibility. Goal of 10 entries per week
• SWPS will be the overarching umbrella for Positive education philosophy and
respectful relationships in 2023
• Introduced a Wellbeing Curriculum team and wellbeing student leaders
• Lifeskills - commitment for F-6
• Mindfulness - Year 5/6 students, every day at 12.00pm
• VU student supporting positive education- mindfulness, meeting with students
regarding their anxiety.
• Lunchtime clubs - YOGA, quiet area, meditation, chess club, running club etc
• ON Psych - currently seeing 12 students each week
• Wellbeing Days- students and staff
• Gratitude Journals F-6
• Investigating a Therapy Dog - Dogs Connect program.

In summary, encouraging students to identify, explore, use, and develop their strengths, I believe, is a powerful strategy of helping them thrive and flourish in the present and the future. A positive and supportive learning environment will help to build connectedness or belonging to school and is a significant factor for children in helping to build their resilience. We also know that amplifying student voice, student agency and student leadership contributes to improved student health, wellbeing and learning outcomes.


2019 Study Awards

Our 2019 Study Awards were presented at our 2019 Conference dinner on the 15 of August. 

Developing Others – Building Capacity, Sponsored by Woods Furniture

The 2019 Study Award for Developing Others – Building Capacity was awarded to Michelle Wilson, Principal of Sebastopol Primary School. Michelle's project is called Walk Together with Courage; Indigenous Australia Study Tour.

Michelle will create an Australian Study Tour with a focus on Indigenous Australia. The tour will centre on Indigenous Learning, Voice and Language, to encourage educational leaders to develop positive practices that foster genuine connection between Koorie and non-Koorie Victorians.

The first stage of this journey will take place at the newly declared World Heritage Site of Budj Bim, in Western Australia where the Gunditjmarra people created a significant aquaculture system over 6600 years ago.

Michelle intends to use the learning from this study tour in addition to the insights of the Marrung Document to build capacity of schools in the Central Highlands to explicitly teach Indigenous culture and language.

Ross Scannell, Client Manager at Woods Furniture; Michelle Wilson, 2019 Study Award Winner; Katy Haire, Deputy Secretary, Early Childhood and School Education, DET; and Anne-Maree Kliman, VPA President.

Promoting School and Community Links, Sponsored by Bank First

The 2019 Study Award for Promoting School and Community Links was awarded to Donna Wright, Principal of Bandiana Primary School. Donna's project is called Aspirational Learning in Rural Victoria – Grades 5&6.

Donna’s project looks at developing community and career pathways through the Primary School lens. The project looks to broaden children’s ‘imagined future’, by removing the restrictions of environment and experience that limit what a child dreams they can become. She poses the question: ‘how do I know I can become a neuroscientist if I have never met one?’

She intends to establish links with work educators, local universities, and local aspirational leaders within multiple industries to open a discussion with year 5&6 students about vocations and the multitude of pathways available to them.

With the support of this award, Donna wants to implement activities that will improve access to further study and new pathways for rural students - and ultimately help develop more aspirational children.

Adrian Wilson, Business Development Manager at Bank First; Katy Haire, Deputy Secretary, Early Childhood and School Education, DET; a conference attendee accepting the award on behalf of Study Award winner Donna Wright; Anne-Maree Kliman, VPA President; and Deborah Grossek, VPA Board Member.

Principal Health and Wellbeing, Sponsored by Teachers Health

The 2019 Study Award for Principal Health and Wellbeing was awarded to Ashley Graham at the 2019 Council Meeting and AGM.
Ashley's project was favoured among the judges as it focuses on Building a Culture of Support for the BMW Network Principals.

Ashley will learn more about Principal Health and Wellbeing practices, and build a plan of action that will support the wellbeing of a group of principals who are often quite isolated in their community.

VPA President Anne-Maree Kliman, Study Award Winner Ashley Graham, Sarah Kupsch from Teacher's Health, VPA Board Member Deborah Grossek, and VPA Treasurer Cheryle Osborne. 

2018 Study Award Winners

In 2018, the Study Award Program topics (as detailed below) were consistent with the VPA's priority areas of action for that year: 

Promoting School and Community Links

VPA President Anne-Maree Kliman, Study Award Winners Dale Power and Kylie Nissen, Adrian Wilson from Bank First, and Secretary of DET Gill Gallister.
VPA President Anne-Maree Kliman, Study Award Winners Dale Power and Kylie Nissen, Adrian Wilson from Bank First, and Secretary of DET Gill Gallister.

Dale Power and Kylie Nissen, Principal and Assistant Principal respectively at Miners Rest Primary School, co-won the 2018 VPA and Bank First Study Award Promoting School and Community Links. Dale and Kylie's project will look at targeted inclusiveness in early learning by reviewing and delivering a refined version of the Connect-Ed program, which will strengthen parent engagement and learning through interactive on-site sessions. 

Special thanks to Bank First for sponsoring the Promoting School and Community Links Study Award

Principal Health and Wellbeing

Secretary of DET Gill Callister, Sarah Kupsch from Teacher's Health, Study Award Winner Mark McLay and VPA President Anne-Maree Kliman.

Mark McLay, Principal of Pleasant Street Primary School, won the 2018 VPA and Teachers Health Study Award for Principal Health and Wellbeing. Mark will produce a booklet that combines knowledge from wellness and happiness experts with effective case studies, to create a key resource that will empower Victorian principals to rebalance their lives. 

Special thanks to Teachers Health for sponsoring the Principal Health and Wellbeing Study Award.

To learn more about previous Study Award winners and their projects, please click here.