The Southern Cross : September 2012
September 2012 Page 5 www.thesoutherncross.org.au The Southern Cross news | Saint Barbara's Parish School in the middle of the South Australian outback is proposing English language lessons for its new migrant parents in a bid to give them a more inclusive voice within the Roxby Downs Catholic community. "How are they going to have any input without a common language to share that input?" said principal Bernadette Lacey. Ms Lacey said the mining town's transient and multicultural community meant a number of migrant families new to Australia had very little English language skills. She said the language barrier was an impediment to new parents, particularly mothers, becoming an integral part of the school community. "We really want to be able to support them and welcome them into our community as well as ensure our school has a vibrant and inclusive voice," said Ms Lacey. The R-7 school boasts 12 different nationalities amongst its 230 students, including families from Africa, Bolivia, Brazil and Sri Lanka. St Barbara's has attracted funding for the language course through the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations as part of the Empowering Local Schools National Partnership initiative (within the Smarter Schools National Partnerships program). Catholic Education South Australia National Partnerships senior advisor Kevin Comber said there were 15 other Catholic schools in South Australia involved in the Empowering Local Schools National Partnership. Each school, he said, was meeting the Federal Government challenge to develop new and innovative ways to empower their school communities to be more involved in decision making that reflects even more inclusive responses to the needs of students, staff and parents. "Our Catholic schools have a great deal of local and parental engagement already so the Federal Government has challenged us to increase the number and range of parents and caregivers in decision making beyond those people already serving on boards to support the principal to make truly inclusive decisions," said Mr Comber. "The school board is still the key governance body but we are exploring ways to invite more parents, and a broader range of parents, to have their say in this project." St Francis de Sales College, in Mt Barker, has invited randomly selected parents to form a governance group. The group will meet monthly over the next year to discuss decision making within the College and how the Catholic identity of the school community could be enhanced. "What makes this project remarkable and most exciting is the opportunity it presents to engage parents in a way that has not been done before," said St Francis de Sales College deputy principal Andrew Baker. "(It) provides the opportunity to hear from parents that are not usually involved in decision making to provide a voice to those who have not previously engaged in the school community in this way." Diverse desert tongues find a voice HAVING A SAY: St Barbara's Parish School principal Bernadette Lacey wants to help the migrant parents of the Roxby Downs school find their voice. By Rebecca DiGirolamo ALL THE CONVENIENCE WITHOUT THE PENALTY CALL 1300 655 003 OR VISIT CATHOLICINSURANCES.COM.AU FOR A COMPETITIVE QUOTE TODAY At Catholic Church Insurances (CCI) we care about people, not just property. That s why you can choose to pay your personal insurance premiums (Home Building and Conten Vehicle, Landlord, Caravan and Trailer+) with us at no extra cost*. Some other insurance compan a fee for this service. With CCI pay by the month, your yearly premium is simply divided by 12. Easy! By spreading your payments evenly throughout t can better budget for life s other necessities. 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