Connecting with Community
A key principle of the Connected Communities Strategy (PDF 665KB) is working in partnership with the local community to inform the delivery of the strategy and related services at the local level. Schools are encouraged to establish links with community service providers to better support the educational, health and wellbeing needs of students.
Connected Communities includes a range of ‘community-based’ components including:
Local School Reference Groups
Local School Reference Groups work in partnership with their community to set the vision and direction of the school and to advise the Executive Principal on the implementation of the Connected Communities Strategy.
They contribute to defining local goals and aspirations, identifying student needs and communicating views of the Aboriginal community and other stakeholders.
All Connected Communities schools have a Local School Reference Group chaired by the President of the local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group. Membership includes a representative from the school's P&C, parents, Aboriginal Elders and/or Aboriginal community members and the Executive Principal.
The Moree East Public School Local School Reference Group played a significant role in the design of the school rebuild to ensure it catered for the particular needs of students.
"The rebuild of the school is providing the perfect platform to create a centre of learning for students and an opportunity for new beginnings".
- Moree Mayor Katrina Humphries at Moree East Public School ceremony to celebrate Education Week (August, 2016).
Senior Leader/Leader, Community Engagement
Senior Leaders and Leaders Community Engagement strengthen relationships between the school and their community and assist the Executive Principal in the implementation of the Connected Communities Strategy.
The role includes:
- supporting Local School Reference Groups
- working with community leaders to establish Aboriginal language and culture programs in the school
- promoting school values and programs in the community
- attending community meetings
- promoting community attendance at school events
- supporting interagency coordination.
"One of the things I like about this job is that I can use art, music and culture to help kids find their strengths , to know their identity and build their confidence. I love to encourage them to trust their own opinions, to think and talk up for themselves. When we all worked together on the 'Suitcases Project' and again on the 'Quilt Project' they developed such confidence I could push them a little, and they were surprised to see they could always do something even better".
- Ros McGregor, Senior Leader Community Engagement, Walgett Community College
School Aboriginal language and culture programs
Learning Aboriginal language and culture is a significant feature of the Connected Communities Strategy. All schools are implementing Aboriginal Cultural programs and are providing the opportunity for students to learn an Aboriginal language.
At Wilcannia Central School, students combined technology with culture to assist in making an app using the Paakantji language, to be used by the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards.
At Menindee Central school, Paakantji language is taught in the primary years including Kindergarten to Year 1 classes, where it is taught each day. In 2016 Menindee Central School is trialling the Aboriginal Languages Stage 6 Content Endorsed Course which runs for 240 hours.
At Toomelah Public School, a local Elder, Poppy Glen, volunteers at the school, He has created a space for culture as well as nurturing the community vegetable and bush tucker garden. Poppy Glen takes great pride in the school environment and passes on his knowledge to the students.
This Bourke High School production was written, recorded and filmed over 5 days in April 2016 in the remote community of Bourke in far Western NSW. The project came about through a partnership between Desert Pea Media, Bourke High School and Outback Division of General Practice.
Desert Pea Media projects involve a dialogue-based storytelling process that encouraged participants to analyse 'the real', 'the ideal' and 'the bridge'. In simple terms this means critically thinking about how to create positive change for individuals, for each other and for our communities.