Highschool leads innovation charge

Highschool leads innovation charge
Smithfield State High School

Words by Michael Serenc

SMITHFIELD State High School is powering ahead into an exciting new era of innovation and technology in the 21st century.

Principal Barry Courtney says the school has been a trailblazer for innovation since the late 1990s and isn’t slowing down any time soon with several exciting programs underway.

“All of us are working together to deliver world class, quality and futures-focused learning for kids,” he says.

The school is undertaking three different programs simultaneously – the establishment of a Tropical North Learning Academy (TNLA), the Literate Graduate program and the Global Tropics Future Project (GTFP) in partnership with several local primary schools and James Cook University.

The TNLA revolves around students looking at ways of improving life for people living in the tropics, while the GTFP focuses on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum.
The GTFP’s partnership with JCU’s Internet of Things (IoT) electronic engineering course offers similar subjects to students at the four participating schools, who have the chance to get a placement in the IoT course once they finish school.

The Literate Graduate program takes a more holistic approach, aimed at shaping students under the six areas of critical thinking, communication, creativity, collaboration, citizenship and character.

“Modern research says kids leaving school now will go through six to 10 different career changes with jobs that don’t even exist yet,” Barry says.

“So we will need people who are not just good thinkers but also those of good character who can work within their communities, because that’s where the problems are that will need to be solved.

“We want our students to transition into the future careers after school with success.”