Surfing is being used as a vehicle to set students up for the future in an innovative and pathways-focussed program developed by this Gold Coast teacher.
CooeeGC is based on the notion of an echo: that students get out of life what they put in.
Using a community-centred approach, Elanora State High School teacher Matthew Barber has established and developed opportunities to ensure students experience a smooth transition from school into their post-school life.
CooeeGC students complete core subjects to attain their Queensland Certificate of Education and undertake Registered Training Organisation (RTO) courses they have an interest in.
They also undertake surf training for six hours a week to complete a Certificate II in Public Safety & Aquatics (Surf Bronze Assessment).
Surfing culture plays a key role in CooeeGC, allowing students to connect with nature and the local community and step away from busy technology-led lives. The Gold Coast’s diverse surfing industry enables the program to provide relevant and real-world learning contexts.
Matt’s passion for the program and his commitment to see students thrive plays a key role in CooeeGC’s success, along with a flexible learning approach and individualised student learning plans.
Students can complete a Diploma of Business, which offers direct entry into university, or a school-based traineeship, along with a Certificate III of their choice. From there students work for local businesses. They also do a raft of volunteer work for various organisations—including the local Police-Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) and projects like Opening Minds Not Just Wallets.
With individualised learning, students strive to have good wellbeing, perform academically and be active citizens. They are immersed within the community and are constantly exposed to role models, different training methods, career experience and wellbeing practices. Communications skills learned throughout these processes also provide a key platform for student success.
CooeeGC students have actively participated in a wellbeing program with high-performance specialist and Australian Olympic coach and trainer Brett Robinson, have undertaken surf coaching with Clayton Neinaber, and fitness and mobility training, and mentoring, with Olympic snowboarder Alex Chumpy-Pullin.
Believing relationships are key, Matt engages in student and parent conferences and group events and integrates social projects alongside people like Gold Coast surf icon Nev Hyman. Matt role-models the concept of being a life-long learner, developing himself professionally through numerous first aid qualifications, a scientific trip to Heron Island, and working with elite performance specialist and world-renowned, mental-strength Olympic coach Nam Baldwin.
Matt’s global citizen ideals, his love for the ocean and his relationships-first focus in all CooeeGC activities have created and built a community that is connected, aware and supportive.
Congratulations Matt on your nomination.