How this principal measures ABCN success

Copperfield College Kings Park Campus Principal Mary Chiodo describes the tangible impact of our programs on her students.

A few weeks ago, Copperfield College Kings Park Campus Principal Mary Chiodo was approached by a Year 10 girl in the school yard. She asked Mary if she could be considered for the next ABCN Future Thinkers workshop that her friend had previously attended. ‘It was the first time a student has nominated to be involved,’ Mary says. ‘Students could be chatting about a million things and they are choosing to include their ABCN experience in their discussions. Now that’s what we call success.’

It’s one tangible way the 33-year veteran of the Melbourne-based college measures the impact of ABCN programs, which she introduced to the school 10 years ago. This year Copperfield College is running six different programs. Mary points to the example of Aspirations, which helps Year 10 and 11 students broaden their awareness of career options and make informed decisions about pathways beyond school. ‘Since we started connecting our students with mentors through Aspirations, a large number of college captains, duxes and other high-achieving students have been former Aspirations participants.’

She says a key challenge for students is that they have difficulty becoming what they don’t see. ‘This is why ABCN is so important in our current educational ecosystem: they help students see the future.’

Copperfield College is one of 200 schools ABCN works with, targeting schools in low socio-economic areas. The educational resource gap between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in Australia is one of the largest in the OECD. ABCN supports its school partners’ efforts to bridge this gap by developing students’ confidence and connections to explore a previously unseen world of workplace opportunities. Participants in our flagship programs complete Year 12 at a higher rate than the national average, are more likely to go on to university and are less likely to be unemployed long-term.

Mary has also experienced the ABCN effect first-hand: she herself is a participant in the Partners in Learning program, which pairs principals with CEOs of ABCN member companies to share experiences and expertise, solve problems and explore leadership challenges. ‘At first glance, it may seem that a campus principal working in a disadvantaged school would have little in common with the CEO of a multinational organisation,’ she says.

But her talks with Korn Ferry Managing Director Tim Nelson revealed that, while their day-to-day work requires different technical knowledge, both spend most of their time and energy on building positive relationships in their respective workplaces. ‘This is a large part of the broader success of our partnership with ABCN: the focus on people,’ Mary says.

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