Wendy Goldston’s passion for teaching and innovation in the classroom, and her exemplary rapport with students, has already seen her selected from over 30,000 teachers Australia-wide as one of 10 ‘most inspirational teachers’.
The Rockhampton teacher is an inimitable educator, who uses highly effective and unique pedagogy to inspire and ‘grow’ life-long learners.
In 2016 she was recognised as one of ten OfficeMax nationwide A Day Made Better Award winners.
Wendy has since been appointed as Frenchville State School’s coordinator of BLOOM (Bringing Learning Opportunities to Outstanding Minds)—a ‘one of a kind’ extension and enrichment program that she is zealous in designing, creating and implementing.
BLOOM provides selected students with the opportunity to ‘bloom’ to their full potential. With an emphasis on inquiry learning, the program aims to place BLOOMers in ‘The Learning Pit’, improve educational outcomes, foster a growth mindset and strengthen differentiation for high achievers in Years 3-6. About 175 like-minded students are presently extending their Literacy and Numeracy by working with Wendy in a stimulating, engaging, collaborative, challenging and supportive group setting.
BLOOM focuses on the development of the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum through creative, real-life and life-like Cross Curriculum learning experiences. Wendy takes classroom Content Descriptors, and invents complex unfamiliar challenges intended to develop each BLOOMers’ capability to live and work successfully in the 21st Century.
At the start of each new term BLOOM students fervently anticipate entering a truly ‘original’ classroom, which has been created by Wendy.
Combining elements of The Arts too, Wendy creates interactive displays for each literacy and numeracy theme. These displays immerse BLOOMers into their learning environment, fostering ownership and excitement. Wendy supports this through her own dramatic role adoption. For example, last term Wendy was ‘Goldy’ who owned an icecream van for numeracy, and the Amazon safari guide ‘Rain Forest’ for literacy.
Beyond the colourful, flexible learning space Wendy embeds opportunities for academic rigour, sustainability and active and informed citizenship. Parent Helper Karen Wilcock states, “Year 5 students recently learnt about impoverished children’s access to clean water. Wendy then provided an opportunity for BLOOMers to walk in the shoes of these youth with BLOOMers carrying six litres of water for over an hour.” Additionally, BLOOMers have adopted two orphan orangutans, and have hosted a Make A Difference (MAD) fundraiser, raising over $2,500. The funds purchased a well in India and livestock for communities in Africa and Asia.
Data indicates that strong academic growth is occurring due to the BLOOM program. Ninety-seven per cent of BLOOMers improved their Informal Prose levels, while 100 per cent maintained or attained a very high level of achievement in Mathematics and English.
In addition to academic results, feedback from parents and students notes positive mindset development.
The program requires an immeasurable amount of work from Wendy but it is certainly paying off. Ninety-eight per cent of parents surveyed at the end of 2018 stated, “BLOOM is essential for catering for high achieving students at FSS”.
BLOOM has also gained media interest and there are plans to expand it.
Congratulations Wendy on your nomination.