The workshop focused on creative ideas that could lead to developing projects between schools and local communities. These partnership community programs between schools and communities reinforce a sense of leadership for participating students and maintains a non-academic conversation amongst the youth and their parents, teachers and principals. In addition to generating a list of potential ideas this workshop was facilitated by guest speakers who shared experiences from successful projects as well as a means of obtaining funding for these projects at schools.
Guest speakers included Principal of Punchbowl Boys High School (NSW), Mr Jihad Dibb. Mr Dibb rehabilitated the image of this high school using these projects to positively engage the youth at his schools and their local community.
Some of these projects included open community dinners hosted at Punchbowl, where teachers serve the students. Another example was the creative effort taken by parents to make graduation gowns for all graduating students.
Principal Jibad Dibb shared his 11 Secret Spices to harnessing the power of the community. These were Vision, Passion, Valuing Traditions, Relationships, Attitudes, Recognition, Connection, Opportunity,
Curriculum, Time to Grow and Effective Systems.
Get to know your community, they are all different! Get to know your local places of importance and local business, invite them along to school events. Have community based events and provide lots of real food. Mr Dibb emphasized that fundraising should not be the focal point of a P&C, rather the P&C should be participating and involving the community of the school. Break down the barriers that prevent parents from participating. Whether it means making meetings informal and more inviting, or providing toys and welcoming their children along. Try hosting a meeting during a school disco. The key messages are: trust, relationships and passion.
Our other guest speaker was from the ACT Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ms Beth Peters who spoke about current projects supported and funded by the ACT Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Her presentation included how schools in the ACT can willingly get on board and gain support from industry and organisations to successfully manage and promote these partnership projects between local schools and communities. Ms Peters talked about a recent partnership between Hawker College and a Kangara Waters, a local retirement village.
Students were able to complete a wide range of work experience at the village. Including age care vocational training, business administration studies and bricklaying. The Chamber of Commerce is here to help P&Cs and schools build these relationships. Reach out if you have an idea!
Principal Jibad Dibb at the workshop talking with parents and teachers.
This article was published in ParentACTion 4.2012, November 2012.