STELR in the Pilbara

STELR’s principal sponsor, Orica, joined forces with The Smith Family and STELR to host a teachers’ professional development day, and donate STELR  equipment to Pilbara high schools on Tuesday 1 December 2016.

Staff from Hedland, Karratha, Newman and Tom Price Senior High Schools attended the workshop that was hosted by Hedland SHS. Newman SHS was one of the early adopters of the STELR program and the other three schools have recently been donated the equipment by Orica.

Orica Mining Services Pilbara CEO Paul Bernhardt said: “Orica is the founding and major sponsor of STELR and has been involved since 2009. As an organisation that has technology and innovation at its core, Orica is proud to support STELR, which aims to engage students in science, technology, mathematics and engineering. The program’s hands-on renewable energy module now reaches more than 35,000 students each year”.

The Smith Family, a national children’s education charity, has partnered with Orica in Western Australia since 2014. The partnership supports The Smith Family’s education programs in the Pilbara region for disadvantaged children.  Lorna Woodley, WA General Manager at The Smith Family, said: “With Orica’s support in the Pilbara we now help more than 200 students through our Learning for Life financial sponsorship, working in 15 partner schools, and we run a range of related learning programs. With this initiative, we were able to assist STELR to make some local contacts thanks to our in-region presence, and it was great to see the hard work come to fruition knowing it will benefit students across the Pilbara”.

The distance between the four senior high schools in the Pilbara is a real barrier for joint professional learning. Whilst the nearest schools are about two-and-a-half hours apart (by car), the driving time between the schools in Tom Price and Hedland is around five hours. So the teachers were very grateful for the opportunity provided by Orica, allowing them to meet face-to-face and discuss both the STELR program and wider curriculum issues. 

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