2021 Annual Conference Presentations & Workshops

Keynote Speaker

Suzy Urbaniak – 2020 WA Local Hero Australian of the Year Awards

Suzy firstly worked as a geologist, finding gold in the Great Sandy Desert and Kalgoorlie. She later had to turn to education as a career path to support herself and three young sons. Suzy never imagined herself to be a teacher! Still, when she had to, she knew that her students would be young scientists and engineers in her classroom, exploring, creating and discovering.

Suzy would bring the real world into the classroom and take her students out into the real world. She later coined this ethos #therealclassroom. After many years, the seeds of The Centre of Resource Excellence (CoRE) Learning Model had evolved. With the support from her school and colleagues at Kent Street Senior High School – CoRE was officially launched as a STEAM Learning Program in 2015.

In 2019, together with two of her colleagues, the CoRE Learning Foundation (NFP) and its CoRE Expansion Program commenced.

Suzy has undertaken some 90 field trips with her students, currently coaches 40 educators and works within 10 schools in both regions and in Perth.

Suzy was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in 2016. She was inducted into the Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame in 2018, and in 2020 was acknowledged as Australian of the Year Awards WA Local Hero. Suzy is passionate about ‘supporting today’s youth for tomorrow’s world’ and ensuring that students have diverse learning tasks. Their talents and capabilities shine, where their learning achievements are recognised as improvements and successes.

#therealclassroom – ‘Supporting todays youth for tomorrow’s world’

  • What is #therealclassroom, and why it was developed? A brief history of its philosophy and purpose.
  • Today’s preschoolers will lead our nation through the second half of this century. Our world is changing fast; we are in Industry 4.0, they will be leading Industry 5.0. Their world is digital, a set of skills aligned to new industries. We must put skills first.
  • Skills. What skill?s
  • What is STEAM Learning, and how does #therealclassroom supports their development and better prepare them for their careers beyond 2030.
  • What is CoRE doing to improve STEAM Learning and making learning equitable for all its students?

Inspirational Speaker

Michelle Cowan – 2013 Football Woman of the Year, Inaugural Senior Coach of Fremantle Dockers Women’s Team (AFLW), 2014 AFL DSR Coach of the Year

Michelle Cowan has been involved in AFL for over 16 years and made history when she was appointed midfield coach at the West Perth Football Club becoming the first woman to coach professional Australian football at any level. This role was followed by a three year stint at South Fremantle Football Club as midfield coach.

Michelle later took on a dual role at Melbourne Football Club as the Senior Coach of their Women’s Team and Development Coach for the Men’s team. Awarded the 2013 Football Woman of the Year and 2014 AFL DSR Coach of the Year Michelle was also the inaugural Fremantle Dockers AFLW Senior Coach from 2016 to 2018, before moving to West Coast Eagles as AFLW Assistant Coach and has recently been appointed Head of Operations & Wellbeing for the team.

Combining her two passions of being a mother and AFL coach, Michelle’s amazing stories are a tribute to what all of us can achieve with enough guts, grit and determination.

Her achievements have made the path that much clearer for the next generation of women in football proving that when it comes to footy, gender is no longer a barrier to kicking goals.

Michelle’s presentation will focus on:

  • Team Dynamics – Leadership, culture and giving and receiving feedback.
  • Confidence – Find the confident you.
  • Winning Cultures – Team, leadership and shared visions.
  • The Journey – Michelle shares her personal story of perseverance and passion.

Saturday 21st August

Workshop 1: Why we shouldn’t leave school-based drug education until Leavers

Presenter: Des Guguid – Department of Education, Road Safety and Drug Education Branch

This workshop will explore whole school approaches to alcohol and other drugs prevention education and will include school case studies highlighting the value of this best practice approach for schools from Kindergarten to Year 12. Participants will understand why one-off education sessions are not enough to affect change.

Des has led a range of successful youth initiatives in education and youth justice settings and will share insights into the role of parents in working with schools to ensure strong approaches to drug education. An online learning package designed for parents and available soon from WACSSO will also be introduced.


Workshop 2: P&C Canteen Management

Presenter: Amanda Ferguson, WA School Canteen Association (WASCA)

The Western Australian School Canteen Association Inc. (WASCA) is once again excited to be part of this year’s conference and the 100 year celebrations. This year’s workshop will focus on working with P&Cs to ensure the canteen not only provides healthy food service to the school community (vital) but is also following best practice business principles that leads to a sustainable food service.

It’s time to ditch the archaic way of bookkeeping and embrace formulae and technology. This workshop will be hands on. You will walk away from this interactive session with an increased understanding of:

• The Department of Education’s Healthy Food and Drink policy.
• What role does the Canteen supervisor play with bookkeeping and finances?
• What role does the treasurer play with bookkeeping and finances?
• WASCA resources that can assist with record keeping.
• How to cost recipes and menu items?
• How portion control and reducing wastage can drastically increase your profits.


Workshop 3: Protecting Children in their Digital Worlds

Presenter: Taryn Wren, ySafe

Protecting children in their digital worlds is an ever-evolving task for Australian families. Now more than ever parents are looking for guidance in how to manage screen time and navigate the world of games and social media.

We are therefore pleased to help our parent community by offering a crucial and engaging education session with ySafe, Australia’s leading provider of cyber safety education. This practical, strategy-rich session will cover the most important points that all families need to know about online safety, including information about social media and gaming trends, screen time recommendations and step-by-step instructions on how to set up a cyber safe home for kids of all ages.

If you have ever struggled with getting your kids off their games and into bed, worried about the content of the games that they are playing or felt concerned that your child was spending too much time in the digital world, this workshop is for you!


Workshop 4: Working Towards a Common Goal – Volunteer Interaction

Presenter: Dr Megan Paull

Volunteer associations rely on their membership to achieve their goals, and the interaction between those members is what produces great outcomes. Except… there are times when those interactions are not quite as great as we need them to be. This workshop will explore what makes for great and not-so-great interactions between volunteers, and what we might do to resolve some of the issue which arise.

Megan has been conducting research and running workshops in the area of volunteer management for nearly thirty years. Megan has a wealth of experience to share – not only as a researcher but as an active volunteer who has served on school P&Cs and with other community organisations.

Sunday 22nd August

Workshop 5: Creating Calm, Confident and Caring Kids

Presenter: Di Wilcox, The Magic Coat

Di will give simple and effective tips and strategies to support children’s well-being and will incorporate topics such as managing anxiety, friendships and bullying. She will also give the audience tips for creating routines and setting boundaries to help a child feel secure and loved and for those who are trying to co-parent their child, Di will also have tips for you.

Di has won a number of awards with her most recent the 2020 UNWA Humanitarian Award for her work in the prevention and support of children’s mental health.


Workshop 6: Education Support Myths and Legends

Presenter: Debi Taylor, President of the Western Australian Education Support Principals and Administrators Association (WAESPAA)

The governmental education system in Western Australia is designed to support all children. The strategic direction for the Department of Education is every child, every classroom, every day. But what happens when the mainstream has stopped working for your child. What are your options, where can you go and what does it look like?

There are many myths about Education Support what we do and don’t do. From “once you are in Education Support you will never get back to mainstream”, to “if a child is in education support they will never get a job” – or Debi’s personal favourite – “they don’t teach in education support schools they just babysit!’

Debi will try and debunk some of these myths and will take you through the many options of education support and what it looks like in a classroom. As well as explaining how lucky we are in Western Australia to have an inclusive system that tries to put the child first.


Workshop 7: Speaking about Sustainability – Panel Discussion


Rachael Roberts, Sustainability Program

Rachael completed her teaching degree in 2016 after 20 years of participating in sustainability projects in Perth. Her interest was sparked as a parent and member of the School Council at Hillcrest Primary School. Rachael Chaired the schools’ first Sustainability Committee, conducting audits of water and energy use and finding efficient solutions resulting in an estimated $10,000 a year in savings for the school. Rachael returned to Hillcrest Primary School as the Sustainability Teacher and implemented a whole of school approach to waste management, with her school winning Waste Wise School of the Year in 2018. In 2020 her work across the Sustainable Schools WA framework was recognised with the UNAAWA World Teachers’ Day Award for Sustainability Education. Rachael is also currently the Convenor of the East Metropolitan Network Group for Sustainable Schools.

Anita Bennett, Containers for Change

What’s the problem we need to solve? The battle against landfill and raising a school army to fight it. How to raise funds for your school with Containers for Change. Saving money on commercial waste collection by using Containers for Change. Some hints and tips to make the most of the program. How to raise a green team in your school. Empower them, encourage them to create their own solutions and share the results. What do I do with the bins? What’s the best ways to return for your school? Working with refund point operators or taking it to a depot yourself. Sharing the success stories – some schools that have made huge changes with Containers for Change.

David Paddon, Your Move Program

Fewer Australian children than ever are walking and cycling to school. In the last 40 years, the national rate of active travel to school has dropped from 75% to 25%. In Perth, active travel to school rates are as low as 20%, with 50% of children travelling by car despite living within 1 kilometre of their school. Your Move Schools is a free program funded by the Department of Transport that aims to get students active on their way to and from school, increasing student physical activity levels and reducing car trips and parking pressure around school areas. The program is a great fit for school sustainability programs, providing rewards, incentives and funding opportunities for schools that encourage more active travel throughout their communities.


Workshop 8: P&C Employment – Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA

Presenters: Chris Nunn, Learning Designer - Matt Butterworth, Safety and Risk Consultant - Andrew Emerson, Employee Relations Advisor

This presentation by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA will feature subject matter experts on Work Health & Safety, Employee Relations and Learning Development. Our experts will take you through an overview of WHS considerations as they currently stand and introduce some of the important changes ahead in the upcoming WHS reform. We will also provide you with best practice tips on employer obligations, unfair dismissal, record keeping, performance management, communications and more.