Positive Partnerships visits Christmas Island

During the month of March four members of the Positive Partnerships team travelled to Christmas Island,  an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, lying south of Indonesia.  The reason for our trip was to meet with members of the Christmas Island District High School, a K-12 school run by the Western Australian Education Department. The purpose of our visit was to develop a plan with the school team to implement a Positive Partnerships program across their whole school community. We were warmly welcomed by the school staff, and they proudly shared some of the many strengths and priorities of their students, parents and carers, and staff. It was through the sharing of this information that the future plans for Positive Partnerships within the community began to take shape.

This initial visit to the Island not only provided us with knowledge about the school community, it also provided us with the opportunity to explore the Island, and develop insights into the broader Island community. It was an important visit. There is a unique cultural mix on Christmas Island including Chinese, Malay and smaller groups of Indian and Eurasian residents. There is also a substantial Anglo Australian population.  The school has a strong affiliation with the community and it strives to reflect the cultural values of these different groups.

There is a population of 265 students and approximately 58 staff within the school. It is anticipated that all leadership, teaching staff, education officers, specialist staff and administration staff will participate in the Positive Partnerships program. The school is into the third year of its current five year strategic plan which is guided by the Western Australian Department of Education and has a focus on 3 priorities - literacy, ICT, critical and creative thinking. Committees are also very active within the school guiding the direction in priority areas such School Wide Positive Behaviour Support and Health and Wellbeing.  As our initial planning meeting unfolded all participants were excited to see and make links between these school priorities and the Positive Partnerships content and resources. The team was also very keen to incorporate the many Positive Partnership resources that have been developed through partnering with culturally and linguistically diverse communities into the plan.

The school team was very clear in relation to the outcomes they hope to achieve as a result of the partnership with Positive Partnerships. They have a very involved parent community and through participation in the program they plan to increase the knowledge, understanding and confidence of both staff and parents in supporting their young people with autism and as a result develop a whole-school approach to supporting these students to achieve their best. We look forward to the next step in our journey with the school as we continue our partnership with the whole-school community.