Schools, community combine to close the gap

A FIRST for ACT schools, the University of Canberra has teamed with Jervis Bay School, Vincentia High School and the Wreck Bay community to deliver the successful Stronger Smarter program.

A group of 23 participants have undertaken an eight-day program at Jervis Bay Public created by Dr Chris Sarra and committed to “closing the gap” for Aboriginal children.

Jervis Bay School principal Bob Pastor said he saw the workings of the hugely successful program in a workshop in Queensland last year and knew it was imperative to bring those teachings to the local school.

“It costs approximately $3500 per person to go through the course and it would not have been possible without the partnership of the University of Canberra and Stronger Smarter,” Mr Pastor said.

Since 2006, Stronger Smarter has worked with more than 11,000 schools across the country, challenging personal and professional thoughts and approaches, which in turn help leaders to connect with Aboriginal students and their families.

The day programs held at Jervis Bay 

School engaged 11 participants from Jervis Bay School, six from Vincentia High School, four from the Wreck Bay community and two from the University of Canberra in a range of activities and discussions developed to enhance “high expectations” of students, teachers and families. 

Wreck Bay community council member Leon Brown said the program was something everyone interested in children’s education should know about.

“This is about bringing in the key stakeholders and exploring ways to improve the way we transfer knowledge to children,” he said.

“It’s vital for people to learn these skills to ensure our children’s education is well structured, well delivered and relevant.”

Jervis Bay School teacher Nicole Stevens said the program had made her realise the relationship with Vincentia High School needed to be improved.

“It is fantastic that all of these people from the schools and the community have come together because without the unity of all of these parties, nothing can change,” she said.

“It’s exciting to see everyone on board with this.

“I have noticed a lot of the points raised in the workshop are already carried out in our school, thanks to Bob’s guidance, he is a great principal.

“His leadership has seen a strengthening of ties within the community.”

Vincentia High School deputy principal in specialty programs Paul Hogan said the plan was to strengthen the partnership between the junior and senior school.

Smarter Stronger will carry out the next session at Jervis Bay School in the coming months.

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