Video transcript - Building relationships at Menindee Central School

Fiona Kelly - Principal, Menindee Central School

I'm Fiona Kelly. I'm a local Menindee girl and I'm lucky enough to be the executive principal here at Menindee Central School.

Menindee - tiny little community. 112 kilometres away from Broken Hill, but probably about 1,100 kilometres from Sydney.

Menindee is different in that we do have a lot of local people employed here, so for the students, there's a lot of role models and there's an expectation that you know, we're going to do what's right for the kids.

Daniel Fusi - Senior Leader, Community Engagement

Engaging parents in Menindee, it's different because even though we might be related by blood, like, sometimes it's not all...they've had a negative experience with the school. Some of my parents like to be Facebooked, Messenger. Some like Snapchat and others like a phone call. Others don't even want any of that. They don't want a letter or nothing. They want you to call around and have a cup of tea. And it's not just as simple as giving them a form to sign and then leaving, because you break down that relationship then.

So we have an assembly every second week. We have a lucky door prize, and then afterwards we go down and the hospitality kids will make scones or muffins or something and then we come down the staff room and the teachers, if they don't have classes, will often join us.

Each term, we do a theme, so last...Term 1 we had Harmony Day. This term's major community project's NAIDOC Week, so we'll be involved in having assembly later in the week for them and get the kids down, get some dancers in and some artists.

Fiona Kelly - Principal, Menindee Central School

With the dancer, he's working with each of the classes and then we're going to identify kids that, you know, were really interested and were keen but also, like, he'll work with a lot of the adults.

A lot of people, you know, like, they were brought onto the missions. When they were on the missions, they couldn't speak their language, they couldn't do the dance. So there was just so much of our culture that was lost - dance, art - and that's just a great way of, you know, making sure that everybody is represented.

Amanda King - Aboriginal Education Officer

I love NAIDOC Week. It's a chance for us to celebrate our culture. And it's just good seeing, like, the older community come in and, like, I know for a fact that they would never have come back into the school.

But now they come in. They feel like... I think they feel that it's safe, friendly environment, and welcoming and... And it's good that they can come in and see their grandkids and kids perform, achieve.

Noelene Ferguson - Grandparent

I can go down there any time and have a yarn with Fiona. I go down to visit the classrooms. You're always welcome in the girls' classrooms. Teachers are... Their teachers are really nice teachers.

Fiona Kelly - Principal, Menindee Central School

We haven't always had a great relationship with our parents. Parents didn't feel like they were welcome in the school. So the Yarn Up Circle was an idea of one of the local people in the AECG (Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc). And it's just a big circle that was done by the community.

Amanda King - Aboriginal Education Officer

We had the local police force donate the bricks, cement, to make the yarning circle. And it was a big day. We have a garden up there as well.

Fiona Kelly - Principal, Menindee Central School

We've had some people who have... You know, the first time that they went to the Yarn Up Circle was the first time they'd been at school since they were in schools, and this was just a great way to start the conversations with our parents and our community.

Jan Fennel - President, Aboriginal Education Consultative Group

What we got now and the relationship with the community and the Aboriginal people being able to be part of the school is huge.

We had a principal come in that willingly took the padlocks off and led Aboriginal people and consulted with Aboriginal people. Because a lot of people in Menindee are really concerned about their children's education and we want the best. Like we say, we might be a small school, but our kids are entitled to a top education.

End transcript.

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