Many schools achieve long-term, sustainable change by consulting broadly with the community in relation to how learning at home and school are connected. Changes to curriculum offer an opportunity for schools to discuss learning progressions and cultural relevance with parents and carers.
- use the Family School Partnerships Framework School Assessment Tool - Reflection Matrix to plan for improved engagement
- analyse the current school context and learning background of parents
- explain ethical responsibilities to students and parents
- integrate and act on opportunities presented by programs such as Early Action for Success and Positive Behaviour for Learning
- strategically utilise available funding
- review the language background of families for the introduction of bilingual programs.
What they said
"An important factor in the success of the initiative was the identification of the imperative for change in curriculum offerings and the communication of this to the wider community." Principal, Toormina High School
"It is imperative that the students see how much their parents value what the school does . . . how parents play an active role in shaping our school and the importance of education at school and at home." Principal, Briar Road Public School
"The Aboriginal education program we see as a moral obligation . . . that we must teach the students about the first Australians .. culture, .. language, .. the connection to country that people have here in Tathra, particularly on this site." Principal, Tathra Public School
How they did it
At Condell Park Public School the opportunity to be involved in Early Action for Success gave focus to the school’s effort to change.
The entry level achievement of Year 7 students provided an opportunity to change teaching programs, assessment practices and engagement strategies with parents and external organisations at Rooty Hill High School.
Hilltop Road Public School introduced a parent ‘excursion’ program to encourage parents/community members to engage with school staff and programs in a social setting. It was thought that providing a social and cultural excursion program would enable parents/community members to increase their knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning at the school, and their knowledge of the social and cultural history of the local and wider areas.
The first excursion was organised by the school’s community liaison officer and the school chaplain. The opportunity for members of the community to meet each other, as well as to interact with school staff, has furthered the development of mutual trust and understanding and has led to increased parent/community involvement with the school.