The senior students at Yarrabah State School have been helping the incoming Year 7 and 8 students and their parents get to know their school before they start in 2015.
The Prep to Year 10 school is split across three campuses and located approximately 50 kilometres from Cairns in Far North Queensland.
Jay Sansness, Head of Department at Yarrabah State School, said, “our school has been recognised as a Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Education. Over the past 12 months we have been focussed on different ways to ensure the 49 new Year 7 and 8 students feel supported when they move to high school next year.”
“We’ve been working closely with our team on the primary campus. We’ve been giving our new teachers in Junior Secondary professional development and we are looking forward to having newly refurbished classrooms completed. When it comes to sharing our readiness with our local community, we’ve relied on our teacher aides, who come from the local community, to bridge cultural gaps,” Jay said.
One of the most successful ways to engage members of the community have been the introduction of student-led Learning Walks, whereby senior students give new students and parents a tour of the school’s grounds and facilities.
“Our students are able to show off the school and engage with parents in such an authentic way. As they guide parents and students around the campus, they not only present our classrooms and facilities, but talk about their positive experiences at school in their local dialect. When our students ask if they have questions, prospective parents and students are much more likely to respond to our students, compared to myself,” Jay said.
Montgomery is a school captain and community leader at Yarrabah State School, who volunteers to lead the Learning Walks.
“I really enjoy showing parents around my school and they always look impressed when they see students working, and comment on how tidy the school looks. It makes me feel proud of my school,” he said.
He also offers advice for students starting high school next year.
“Have some goals and focus on them. My favourite subject is manual arts and I’ve learnt lots from my manual arts teacher, Mr Hartley. I’m looking forward to start an apprenticeship soon and I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity without his help or setting myself goals.”