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Community

Gilgandra

Though there had been a history of interschool collaboration in Gilgandra, there appeared to have been only limited contact with members of the community. The established relationship between the schools allowed planning and development to begin without delay and generated an energy and enthusiasm for the task that lasted throughout the project. Momentum was not unduly slowed even when illness caused a change of AEAs early in the project. The role of the AEA in making links with community members and encouraging their participation was a major focus of the project.

A key issue for this project was the gaining of permission from the local Aboriginal Land Council to use The Pines for the Maths activities. A Land Council member attended most of the team meetings and this contributed greatly to the partnership developed between the learning team and the local Pines committee. (The Board of Studies publication, Working with Aboriginal Communities: a Guide to Community Consultation Protocols, can provide guidance on an appropriate consultation process.) Throughout the project, community members shared local knowledge and histories, contributed to planning and development and participated in the day at The Pines.

The 2004 project at Gilgandra used the Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Balladoran for their Mathematics project. Balladoran was another site where the local Aboriginal community lived both before and after the huge flood of 1955. The Cultural Centre has been developed by Ralph and Audrey Naden with many of the traditional lifestyle settings and artefacts.

A very large number of community members joined the students for the day and accompanied each group to activities and provided background information about the traditional use of each structure and artefact.

The 2005 project was supported by a community member who also worked as a volunteer in the school. His involvement in the project started in 2003 and he shared his experiences with other parents and community members.

An unintended, but very significant, outcome of the Mathematics projects has been the increased involvement of parents and community in a number of other school projects.

Research papers that discuss the increase in community capacity that results from experiences of school and community partnership building can be found on this website.

http://ab-ed.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/go/resources/

Coonabarabran

At Coonabarabran there had been little history of contact between the teachers of the primary and secondary schools, even though the schools were on the same site. The primary school AEA was already working on a range of projects with teachers, and issues over the employment of an AEA in the high school initially hindered the collaboration. However, these issues were resolved through the enthusiasm and involvement of a parent member of the team who was involved throughout the planning and implementation of the units. The parent also encouraged the participation of several elders in the activity day at the Warrumbungles.

Teachers Steve and Jan represented stage 4 Teacher Tara and Aboriginal Education Assistant Michelle represented the primary school Suellyn, community member
Suellyn

Warren

At Warren Central School the AEAs and the Aboriginal Education Resource Teacher (AERT) gained permission from the community to use The Beemunnel for a 'Big Day Out' activities day as part of the project. The school had previously used the area for NAIDOC activities. The area had been the home of many members of the Aboriginal community in Warren.

Community members were invited to share their knowledge and expertise with the students to design and paint Aboriginal artefacts. Additional activities were also developed as part of the unit of work that culminated in the Maths day at The Beemunnel.

Quirindi

A community meeting was held at the local RSL Club to present information to parents, community and schools about the project. It was very well attended and parents and community were encouraged to participate. Additional information about Aboriginal languages was also presented at the meeting at the request of the community.

An activity day was planned at the primary school for students in Stage 3 and Stage 4 (Year 7 students). There was enormous interest from parents and community which was evident from their attendance on the day to observe and interact with the students.

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