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Inside Teaching : June 2010
www.atra.edu.au | email@example.com FEATURE 7 Jubullum Village, the site of a mission, while others travel up to one hour each way by bus. Tabulam PS shows how schools can maximise opportunities through close community connection. In 2008, school and community leaders met to examine school data to do with academic outcomes, attendance, behaviour and student welfare, in order to apply an evidenced- based approach to the shaping of what eventually became the Tabulam Schools in Partnership Agreement. Signed by staff, students and community members, the agreement confirms that, 'We will work together to support our kids, value education, encourage cultural awareness, support regular attendance, and ensure a happy, safe and friendly environment.' A local artist created a painting to represent the partnership agreement. The community and school also worked together to develop a school motto: 'Stand Tall -- Respect All.' All staff now wear a uniform embroidered with that motto. The success of Tabulam PS comes through collective effort, but the will to work together is the product of a long-standing and highly effective educational partnership between Lesley Mills and Carmel McGrady. Mills started at the school as a casual teacher, became the Aboriginal education resource teacher, and has been principal since 2004. She's worked closely for almost 25 years with McGrady, the Aboriginal education How can schools best maximise opportunities for Indigenous students and others? MICHAEL WINKLER visits Tabulam Public School to find out, and discovers the secret lies in building close community connections -- and that depends on staff sticking around long enough to make a difference. The Bundjalung people in far north-eastern New South Wales have always dived for turtle. Even inland from the coast in Tabulam, the local footy team is called the Turtle Divers. Young boys are taught diving techniques that have been passed down over millennia. At a recent expedition for turtle on a Saturday, the local primary school, Tabulam Public School, provided goggles for the divers, helped out with lunch and provided digital equipment. With still shots and video footage from the day, the school then set about working on a DVD the following week about the turtle diving expedition, embedding literacy as well as information and communication technology in the task. It's one small example of the way the school works in the community in Tabulam, where responsibilities to the local children continue after the home- time bell, where local Indigenous perspectives are incorporated across the curriculum, where the key to success is, in a word, integration. Tabulam is a small, low- socioeconomic rural centre on the Clarence River, west of Casino and east of Tenterfield. There's no supermarket or medical facility and not much work, although there is a garage- come-general store, a preschool, a post office, a café, a rural store, a police station, a pub and the primary school, where 60 per cent of the school's 66 students are Indigenous. Many come from