Empowering Education: Parent Levy Grant Supports Staff Development

Merryl Sequeira and Leana Martin

Each year, parents donate $60.00 to the Parent Levy Fund, which contributes to special projects at the College. In the past, these projects have been determined by the Parent Council. This year, all parents will have an opportunity to vote in Term 4 through the new Parent Voice structure. One of the projects previously approved was a $5,000 grant for Staff Professional Learning.

Principal Jennifer Oaten recently announced the recipients of the $5,000 grant, which is designed to support staff to undertake action research, implement an innovative idea or participate in further study or professional development.

This year’s grant recipients are Leana Martin, Head of Careers & Transition, and Merryl Sequeira, Mathematics and Robotics Teacher.

We spoke to Leana and Merryl about their exciting plans for utilising the grant.


Why did you apply for this grant?

I applied for this grant as I saw it as a great opportunity to attend a conference completely focused on career development research, theory and practice, which would really help my role as Head of Careers and Transition. Career development is so important for our students today; it allows them to make informed choices about their education and better plans for their future. Having an informed career counsellor working alongside them helps them set realistic goals and create actionable steps to achieve them, which can increase their drive to succeed academically and personally.  

What do you plan to do with the grant?

I am attending the 2024 CDAA (Career Development Association Australia), the only national in-person, live-session conference completely focused on career development research, theory and practice with a cross-sectoral perspective. I am also using this as an opportunity to visit Melbourne universities like the University of Melbourne, RMIT, Monash University and Swinburne University of Technology. 

What benefit will this bring to your workplace or job?

Attending the CDAA career conference can bring numerous benefits to my workplace as Head of Careers & Transition. It will allow me to stay up to date with the latest trends, tools and methodologies in career counselling, ensuring practices remain current and effective. Participating in workshops will allow me to enhance my career counselling skills. Finally, it is an opportunity for me to connect and network with other career counsellors and professionals and by visiting the Melbourne Universities, build connections and a chance to see their facilities and explore the courses they have to offer.


Why did you apply for this grant?

I am currently studying for a Master of Education in Leadership and Management at Notre Dame University. There are many units in the course, and having the support of the school in studying is a big help. 

What do you plan to do with the grant?

I will be using this money towards the unit Positive Education Student Wellbeing and Achievement. Completing this unit will deepen my understanding and application of positive education and positive psychology. Positive psychology is a branch of psychology that focuses on understanding and promoting human wellbeing. It emphasises the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. Some examples include happiness, fulfilment, resilience, and character strengths, which aim to improve people’s quality of life and help them reach their full potential.

What benefit will this bring to your workplace or job?

Having a deeper understanding of positive education will, therefore, enhance my teaching, pastoral care, leadership, and skill development by helping students reach their full potential. I hope to be able to add to my current pedagogy while creating a positive school culture and improving student outcomes.

The Parent Levy Grant is already making a significant impact, enabling our dedicated staff to pursue professional growth and bring back valuable knowledge and skills to our school community. Leana’s participation in the CDAA conference will enhance her ability to guide students in their career development, while Merryl’s advanced studies in Positive Education will enrich our teaching practices and student wellbeing.

These initiatives reflect our commitment to continuous improvement and excellence in education, ensuring that our students receive the best possible support and guidance. We look forward to seeing the positive outcomes from Leana and Merryl’s endeavours and are grateful to our parent community for their support and involvement in these meaningful projects.

Shaping Future Leaders- Jennifer Oaten

At Santa Maria College, we believe that leadership is a journey of learning, not just a title or position. For over 80 years, our Year 12 students have been at the forefront of shaping our school’s culture through their leadership. As one cohort graduates and another takes the helm, the baton of leadership is passed, igniting the potential within each new group of young women.

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