At St. Thomas Aquinas we recognise that learning happens everywhere, not just within school boundaries. As a school community, we establish links and build relationships with a broad range of people and organisations to expand opportunities and improve outcomes for our students and families. These school-family-community partnerships support our schools’ vision and values and are focused on learning and underpinned by student agency. These relationships provide access to expertise, facilities, resources, support, and services, opening up additional opportunities for students and families to reach their full potential and achieve outcomes.
Not exhaustively, our partners include organisations such as Deakin University, Ardoch, City of Greater Geelong, Bluebird Foundation, and Cotton On. These educational agents purposefully and consciously contribute to the process of acquiring skills and knowledge of our students and families through creating an appropriate environment and experiences to facilitate their learning and development.
Through a student agency lens, our Student Leadership Program initiates new partnerships to meet the needs of our students in their leadership year. Most recent, our sports leaders voiced their desire to be more skilled in leading lunchtime activities for the whole school which resulted in a continuing partnership with SEDA young leaders in a mentoring capacity. Similarly, our digital technology leaders voiced their ‘boredom’ with the repetitive nature of their role within the school and their desire to do something else. Through providing a platform for students to put forward their views and ideas, new community partnerships formed that benefitted many. Students ventured into their community on a weekly rotation, building their knowledge and skills in ‘all things digital’ through the expertise and resources freely given within the community. The culmination of their new skills and expertise was evident through their co-organisation of the ‘Norlane Community Digital Expo’.