• 2013 Annual Report Banner
  • Action Area 4 – Partnership


    Wellbeing and Community Partnerships

    The Catholic Education Office Melbourne’s (CEOM) Wellbeing & Community Partnerships Staff Group continued to highlight its commitment ‘to increase the active engagement of parents in their child’s learning’ through several key initiatives designed to build and strengthen links with parents and the local community that promote student wellbeing and improve learning outcomes.

    The CEOM’s Family–School Partnerships initiative has been a lead contributor in the implementation of this goal. The partnerships work led by the Wellbeing & Community Partnerships Group has supported the ‘development of Catholic schools as core community centres’. This whole-school approach to wellbeing provides a framework for the engagement of the school and the broader community.

    This work focuses on:

    • building partnerships and the development of relationships
    • enhancing community participation
    • promoting Outward Facing Schools 
    • forming clusters of schools to work together
    • building capacity of leaders and teachers across the system
    • recognising the role and expertise of other professionals.

    Parent Engagement in Action resource

    In 2013 the Wellbeing & Community Partnerships Staff Group developed the Parent Engagement in Action resource to support school leaders through a process of reflection and evaluation, focusing on parental engagement across four key areas: Relationships, Learning, Leadership, and Reflection. The resource was launched 30 October 2013.

    Parent Engagement tool launch
    Launch of the Parent Engagement in Action resource 


    innovate. create. relate. Conference

    The CEOM hosted the innovate. create. relate. Conference in November 2013. Over 350 participants explored key concepts and issues associated with leading and managing educational innovation as a means of enhancing student wellbeing, community partnerships and successful learning outcomes for all.

    Wellbeing Conference
    The innovate. create. relate. Conference at the Catholic Leadership Centre 

    Connecting Parents and School via Social Media

    In an inspiring masterclass workshop on ‘Connecting Parents and School via Social Media’ for school leaders and CEOM staff, Dr Joe Mazza, University of Pennsylvania, challenged participants to use social media to deepen the way we welcome, invite and collaborate with families. He affirmed that central to family engagement is building relationships. The masterclass was presented in association with the innovate. create. relate. Conference and the International Speaker Series.

    Partnerships in Learning Initiative

    The Australian Catholic University–CEOM Smarter Schools National Partnerships: Partnerships in Learning (PiL) Initiative developed resources for pre-service teachers and schools to maximise the pre-service experience by helping them to work together more effectively with families and communities as partners in children’s learning.

    Schools as Core Community Centres

    The Wellbeing & Community Partnerships Staff Group continued to support and facilitate six Schools as Core Community Centres (SACSC) clusters of schools focusing on school–community partnerships. A social Inclusion cluster of five schools across Northern and Western regions was formed.

    Other initiatives

    • Development of the Family–School Partnership statement animation 
    • Consolidation of the Family–School Partnerships Initiative across 35 schools, including the implementation of these resources:
    • the Learning Together DVD and support materials
      the Family–School Partnership statement animation
      the Parent Engagement in Action Resource
      the Good Practice into Common Practice report
      the ACU Evaluation Report and the Shaping the Future report
    • The Parent Seminar Series conducted 18 seminars to provide parents with practical parenting strategies
    • Implementation of the Student Wellbeing Leaders Strategy
    • Production of key resources for school leaders and teachers, including the Family–School Partnerships Newsletter
    • Partnership with the University of Melbourne Dax Centre to engage Catholic primary schools in projects to enhance emotional literacy through the visual arts
    • Support for school board members with a consultancy to establish school boards, through seminars, the Board Business newsletter and online resources
    • Participation by school leaders and CEOM staff in the ‘Learning Better Together’ Study Tour to Santa Fe

    Personal Story 

    Action Area 4 

    Michele Sampson
    Family School Partnership Convenor
    Yarra Cluster – Trinity Catholic School, Richmond North; Sacred Heart School, Fitzroy; and St Joseph's School, Collingwood

    Partnerships between families, community and schools are key to enhancing student learning. I have experienced this firsthand, spending four years working with a cluster of three inner city schools to help them build and maintain their partnerships.

    When schools actively reach out to parents as partners in their child’s learning, conversations start to happen, and the flow-on effect can bring amazing results. A particular example of how one school’s family partnership influenced three other schools was through a series of conversations called Talking Circles. It involved teachers and parents conversing about the language of schooling and what parents could do at home to help their child’s learning. The parents led the conversation based on what they needed to know. Some who hadn’t been visible before relished the opportunity to be a part of these conversations, and the results included better relationships, more understanding between parents and children about their learning, and a much more informed parent voice in the schools.

    A school that expanded their notion of partnership, and what it meant to be an ‘outward-facing school’, was Sacred Heart School, Fitzroy. I helped them take the lead in organising a UK study tour to find new ways to drive family engagement in student learning. We didn’t want it to be coming just from an educators perspective, so we asked a group of community agencies working as the Atherton Garden Network (which the school was also part of) to join us on the tour and provide the lens of how a community can collaborate to drive improved outcomes for children. Seeing how another international system operated gave us great ideas to bring back and, very importantly, showed us how schools that approached their education from the local context could enhance learning.

    Santa Fe Study Tour
    Participants of the ‘Learning Better Together’ Santa Fe Study Tour 

    Professional Learning Activity

    Course and Institution Primary Secondary CEOM Total
    Master Class with Joe Mazza: Principal of Knapp Elementary School, Pennsylvania, USA 25 2 9 36