Aboriginal Education showcase

Chelsea Kelly, 15, knows the chemical composition of nail polish and face creams thanks to a new project-based learning initiative that keeps students interested in school and helps them into a job.

The program, dubbed MSCOOL, helps students learn maths, science, English and other subjects within a real world context by linking learning to the interests of students. Chelsea hopes to be a beautician.

MSCOOL was just one of a range of innovative programs showcased at the second Connected Communities Education field day recently held at Moree Secondary College.

Principals, teachers and community members from 15 schools across the state gathered in Moree to showcase and celebrate initiatives in Aboriginal student education under the Connected Communities Strategy.

Connected Community schools work in partnership with Aboriginal leaders in the local community, with primary and secondary schools serving as community ‘hubs' that facilitate a range of services from birth, through school and to further training and employment.

Initiatives highlighted at the field day included student wellbeing through yarning rooms at Taree Public; teaching Gamilaraay language to students in years K-6 at Boggabilla, and Gathang at Taree High; student leadership at Menindee Central School, and ways to increase parental involvement at Coonamble Primary and High schools.

Raising literacy and numeracy outcomes was another key theme explored across the day.

Moree Secondary College Executive Principal Peter Sheargold said the field day was an important opportunity to connect with other educators and community members and explore successes that could be transferred to other schools and communities.

"We had schools from Menindee and Wilcannia to Taree and Tamworth, and we all have different ways of engaging with our Aboriginal students and the local community,' he said

"All of the schools have a significant relationship with the Aboriginal community through their local Aboriginal Education Consultative Committee to harness their expertise and ensure there is effective consultation and community participation."

It was also an opportunity to hear directly from students who performed at the opening and presented at some of the sessions.

Moree Secondary College presented on three of the school's current focus areas, including MSCOOL.

Also highlighted was the success of their SistaSpeak and BroSpeak cultural and mentoring programs.

Director Connected Communities, Kim Proctor, said the day was a great success.

"If we continue to focus on the strengths of our Aboriginal students and work in partnership with families, schools and other organisations, we will continue to have more success in helping our students get a great education and good jobs when they leave school."

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