One Arm Point Remote Community School (5583)
One Arm Point Remote Community School (OAPRCS) is in Ardyaloon (One Arm Point), an Aboriginal community on the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia. OAPRCS has a dynamic staff from various backgrounds, including a number of local Aboriginal staff who provide integral knowledge and expertise regarding students and our school's unique context. Strong relationships with the local community and local service providers form the base of a collaborative and targeted approach aimed at improving outcomes across the board and ensuring the children of Ardyaloon are given every opportunity to succeed.
The OAPRCS vision is to facilitate a welcoming, safe and stimulating inclusive environment where Aboriginal culture is embraced, celebrated and embedded into the school curriculum. Students are supported and encouraged to reach their academic potential and staff are committed to helping students become strong, proud and resilient members of society. At OAPRCS, we employ a vast variety of strategies to improve student outcomes and we have found an overarching focus on Community Engagement feeds all other school priorities such as attendance, our early childhood program and ultimately - all student outcomes. Our strong focus on Community Engagement - which includes the capacity building of our local Aboriginal staff - has created a very strong relationship between the school and the community and the high level of trust has resulted in what we believe are great outcomes for a 0 -12 remote community school in our context.
We prioritise the employment of local Aboriginal people, we have a strong School Council that regularly meets, we have a working School and Community Partnership Agreement and we have regular cultural days facilitated by local Aboriginal staff and local community members. The school has an Aboriginal Education Manager and is also supporting 3 local Aboriginal support staff through their Bachelor of Primary Education degree. Local support staff also teach the Bardi Language Program, coordinate the 0-3 program, facilitate NAIDOC Week, coordinate the School and Community Cultural Camp, deliver the Cultural Induction of new teachers and take on many other well supported leadership roles around the school. Recently, the OAPRCS AIEO team also delivered the very successful and first ever Aboriginal Educators Conference organised and facilitated by Aboriginal educators for other Aboriginal educators.
Amongst many other things, our staff run before and after school activities for community kids and community members which they would not otherwise be able to do. Staff provide a safe and suitable physical environment that supports a rich and diverse range of experiences to promote learning and development. Staff continue to implement whole school instruction in Protective Behaviours and follow a collaborative, whole school approach to promote positive social behaviour for students underpinned by the behavioural expectations and school values: Be Confident, Be Safe, Be Respectful and Be Your Personal Best.
Staff facilitate learning experiences which are culturally and developmentally appropriate, challenge students and have real-life applications. Regular curriculum meetings and informal discussions are held to encourage teachers and support staff to maintain high expectations and strive to achieve better literacy and numeracy outcomes for students. All staff go into community on home visits to communicate with parents/carers about student progress. This is a powerful process that helps staff understand individual circumstances with more clarity and allows parents to develop a rapport and trust in our teachers.
Staff engage in community activities strengthening an already strong relationship and their participation in an ongoing local Bardi Jawi cultural induction ensures they are culturally responsive to Aboriginal students and respectful of the local culture. Staff constantly draw on the knowledge and expertise of local Aboriginal staff and community to be culturally responsive to students and their families and to assist in the provision of culturally appropriate learning programs.
The establishment of strong structures and routines has been instrumental (pre-Covid) in improved outcomes across the board at our school. Improved engagement, behaviour and academic outcomes are evidence of a school wide focus on improvement which is our post-Covid intention as a school. Documented plans and policies are well-articulated with obvious priorities (Literacy, Numeracy, Relationships, Student Well-being, viable Career Pathways and Attendance) and provide clear school-wide direction. Shared leadership spreads responsibility for the school wide focus on improvement and the delegation elicits improved outcomes at a faster rate.
The OAPRCS school culture integrates local Aboriginal ways of being, doing and knowing to enable high student achievement and participation, inclusive cultures and a meaningful impact for all students. We have the respect and trust of the whole community which is an amazing and powerful thing which all staff at the school are incredibly proud of. We are literally a community school as we believe it takes the contrbution of our whole community for the school to run at its full potential and it is an incredible thing to be a part of.
In the latter part of 2020, the last 90km of unsealed road on 218km journey from Broome to Ardyaloon was sealed meaning access to the school and the community is now much easier, especially during the wet season, when previously the community would often be closed for days and sometimes weeks at a time due to the condition of the unsealed road.
OAPRCS is a wonderful school in an amazing community situated in a remarkable part of Western Australia with a staff that is passionate, hardworking and committed to helping Ardyaloon students become strong, proud and resilient members of society and positive leaders of the future.
Student Wellbeing: To provide students with a warm, safe, engaging and welcoming school environment.
We continue to work in collaboration with community and service providers such as the school psychologist, Department of Communities, Telethon Kids, Boab Health, Jalygurr, and Allied Health services to provide a wide range of medical, social, emotional and wellbeing support for our students. Our school implements a whole-school approach to student behaviour and engagement with an active PBiS committee including staff and community, as well as active student voice through the Yr 5-12 student leadership team. Staff will start the 2023 school year by attending a 2-day Trauma Informed Learning professional development course.
Early Childhood: To provide a high-quality early childhood program for families and children.
The school facilitates an onsite 0-3 program run by a qualified teacher and Aboriginal Education Officer to provide support for families of pre-school aged children. This builds strong community relationships and supports the children in transitioning to formalised schooling. Our onsite Kindergarten program provides rich, culturally relevant learning programs five mornings a week, in addition to high quality, full-time pre-primary to Year 2 teaching and learning programs.
English: Our particular focus in 2022 was explicit teaching of all components of English, while maintaining an engaging and culturally relevant curriculum.
Mathematics: To improve the numeracy skills of all students and to provide developmentally appropriate learning experiences catering to individual learning needs and focuses on developing students' mental math, number and measurement skills.
Attendance: To increase attendance rates across all years, but with a particular focus on Kindergarten and secondary school through informal/formal processes, strong community relationships, trust and an engaging school culture.
Secondary Pathways: To offer secondary students relevant training and experience in career pathways available to them on-Country. The purchase of a new school boat in 2023 will revitalise the senior high school aquaculture program and provide students with amazing on-Country learning opportunities.
Community Partnerships: To continue to work collaboratively with our school council, the Ardyaloon council, the local community, and local service providers in an effort to maximise wellbeing, attendance, social and academic outcomes for all students. We will continue to work on our school and community partnership agreement and embrace the idea a community school runs best when it is supported by the whole community.
Language & Culture: To continue to implement a consistent and meaningful Bardi Language program and Bardi culture program, with regular community input and support. Community elder and former OAPRCS Language Teacher Violet Carter has come into the school to mentor Jacquie Hunter, who currently teaches Bardi Language across the school. Embracing the 2-Way Science program will consolidate much of the work the school is already doing in our cultural program and in collaboration with the Bardi Jawi and Oorany Rangers, the prospects of the 2-Way Science initiative are very exciting.
For more information please contact the school on (08) 9171 9400 or visit our Facebook page at One Arm Point Remote Community School.