Schools that are effectively engaging the school community build the skill capacity and knowledge of staff and the community. School leaders work towards building shared understandings of beliefs and values about teaching and learning, consultation processes and the school’s vision.
- implement professional learning programs on effective communication and consultation practices and IT support for parents, as well as staff and students
- engage and embrace the skills and contributions of the community
- keep students, parents and staff informed
- celebrate and promote community and student achievements
- allow community representatives to express their diverse approaches to, and understanding of, participation in the school community
- utilise parent and community members to participate as leaders in their chosen area such as the school garden, event management, graphic design, fitness programs, policy writing, fundraising initiatives, resilience workshops, yoga.
What they said
We developed a comprehensive policy for all staff on effective communication procedures with parents, families and community agencies. Principal, Halinda School
I will always be a part of the community. The school is a learning place for everyone not just the students. Parent, Berowra Public School
It has been a real journey for us all learning about the local language and what was pulled away from the Aboriginal people. Principal, Tathra Public School
How they did it
Tathra Public School identified a member of the local Aboriginal community to deliver professional learning to staff. The school worked with the community to produce resources that support the Aboriginal education program in the school including; an Aboriginal language dictionary, an Aboriginal language walk and talk track around Tathra with matching guidebook, and an app to assist teachers and students with the pronunciation of Aboriginal words.
Callaghan College Wallsend Campus focused on technology integration and connectivity to enhance community engagement and consultation. The school app, website, Facebook site, email and the Lynda.com learning system were all used to support seamless communication across the school and community. Partner primary schools were supported by Callaghan College staff to install similar technology, allowing communication across the learning community.
Focusing on numeracy
Condell Park Public School used Early Action for Success as a vehicle to improve home-school partnerships. The school focused on numeracy, implementing strategies that would lead to improved student results. This was selected to be the focus for the school’s engagement with parents.
A parent workshop on mathematics in the classroom was presented by the instructional leader and parents were invited to observe mathematics lessons. Using a buddy system senior and junior students worked together to allow parents to see learning at a range of levels. Parents saw that their children were learning mathematics in a very different way to the way they had been taught. Parents were impressed to see approaches to learning that seemed to be playing but actually involved specific mental strategies.
The ability of students to articulate their learning and relate it to real life problems was also of great interest to the parents.