Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn visited Ashley Stewart, Maths Department Head at Newton Moore Senior High School, as part of a trip to Western Australia to hear from local customers, communities and staff.
Ms Stewart was recently named one of three WA winners of a 2019 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award which, in partnership with national education charity Schools Plus, celebrate and reward remarkable teachers and school leaders with the aim of inspiring excellent practice in schools across Australia.
“Our teachers play a crucial role within communities all across Australia. It was great to meet Ashley today and see firsthand the wonderful influence she is having on her students’ lives,” Mr Comyn said.
Ms Stewart is using STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics) problem-based learning and Spatial Training to drive improvement in mathematics at the Newton Moore Senior High School.
“Ashley’s work is making a real difference to the students here in South Bunbury. Commonwealth Bank is pleased we can be a part of recognising the contribution our teachers make,” Mr Comyn said.
About Ashley Stewart
Inspired by a passion for promoting Women in STEM fields, Ashley Stewart is using STEM, problem-based learning and Spatial Training to drive improvement in mathematics at the Newton Moore Senior High School in Bunbury, WA.
The Maths Department Head was concerned about the low NAPLAN results of Indigenous students, particularly girls, and she chose spatial training – developing understanding of three-dimensional shapes and movement – as a more practical entry into a subject many found discouraging.
Her instinct proved correct. Along with vastly improved classroom engagement, NAPLAN scores have moved ahead of like schools. Limited achievement grades have also dropped.
Ms Stewart has also established an inventors’ club, and fielded three teams in the International Mathematical Modelling Challenge, all of which are working towards one goal: “To engage students in relevant, meaningful and exciting activities that develop a passion and ongoing interest in STEM professions.”
In recognition of her impact, Ms Stewart was awarded a Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award in March 2019. The award includes:
- $30,000 for a school project that Ms Stewart is using for her “Create Purposeful Change through Mathematics for All” project. The project will develop resources and education support services to engage all students, particularly Indigenous girls, to help them enjoy their learning, keep them at school and benefit from their continued education.
- $10,000 for her own professional development which will be used to fund her PhD studies on 'Developing mathematics understanding through use of problem-based learning with a focus on girls'.
- $5,000 for Ms Stewart to undertake an international study tour to Singapore in July with the other Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award 2019 winners.
For more information on the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards visit www.teachingawards.com.au
About the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards:
- The Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards are run in partnership with Schools Plus. Launched in 2016, the Awards are run annually to recognise and support 12 teachers and school leaders across Australia with a $45,000 Teaching Fellowship.
- The Awards form part of Commonwealth Bank’s ongoing commitment to improving Australian education outcomes. Commonwealth Bank has established these because it believes great teachers help children reach their potential. The Awards aim to elevate the teaching profession by recognising outstanding achievement and to inspire other Australian teachers.
About Schools Plus:
- Schools Plus is a national education charity that helps close the education gap caused by disadvantage, by connecting Australian schools in need with donors who know the value of a good education. Carefully targeted funding allows schools and teachers to give students extra support, or to trial new ways to improve learning. Schools Plus was established in 2013, bringing to life a recommendation in the 2011 Review of Funding for Schooling (Gonski Review). More than 4,600 schools across Australia are eligible for tax-deductible donations through Schools Plus.