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Who was involved?


Initial contact with the schools was made through the principal, at which time the project outline was provided and expected outcomes explained along with support that Office of the Board of Studies (OBOS) would be providing. Several schools were contacted at the end of 2001 and, while it had been planned to involve three schools with different features, only two were finally able to make a commitment. For the Principal of Walhallow it was particularly challenging as her position in 2002 was as a teaching principal of Stage 2. The Principal of Crawford PS was supportive of the project, and his role was crucial in identifying how the project fitted into the school management plan and priorities, facilitating, and actively supporting school staff involved in the project.


At Crawford the deputy principal was the supervisor of Stage 2. His role was to facilitate the release of the teachers for the mentor meetings and release time for the development of the units of work.

Classroom teachers

teachers from Crawford

While the project was targeting Stage 2, at Crawford it was the three Year 4 teachers who volunteered for part of this project. These teachers indicated that they saw this project as providing them with an opportunity to improve their understanding of the syllabus and their own teaching of Mathematics, time to engage with the new Mathematics syllabus, and further develop their understanding about Aboriginal students' learning.

Aboriginal Education Assistants (AEA)

Annie and Lorraine

AEAs play a significant role in schools as they are a vital link between the school and the community. In many schools they are among the longest-serving staff members and they have a continuity of knowledge of the school and its programs. The involvement of the AEAs at each of the project schools was different but critical because of the nature of the communities in which they operated.

At Walhallow the AEA provided great support to the teaching principal in ensuring that many of the organisational arrangements were made when the community members and elders were at the school. Her role was integral to many of the day-to-day school activities and she was also supportive to the students in the classroom.

At Crawford the AEA very quickly facilitated the attendance of the teachers (and mentors) at an ASSPA meeting. These meetings proved to be the turning point in the project at the school. The relationships between the AEA, teachers and parents developed very positively and they began the journey towards the development of the units of work, the use of the in-school tutors for numeracy learning and for the implementation of the units.

University Mentors

Peter and teachers

A second level of mentorship was provided by a university research team who also supported the project. Three university staff were invited to join the project. Each had expressed an interest in investigating both how the two schools forged learning partnerships with Aboriginal communities, and how they developed professional support structures that would assist in the development of effective primary Mathematics programs. They played active roles with schools and teacher mentors as well as providing a significant part of the overall assistance provided to schools with teacher mentors.

OBOS Officers

The role of the Office of the Board of Studies was to provide some expert advice on development of the new syllabus. The project officer was responsible for the documentation of the project through the collection of video, digital and audio data. Additional data was collected by the teachers and mentors through journals, video footage and work samples developed as the units were implemented.

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