Stories of Us: PaCECommunity Program
A film-based community resource designed to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Parent and Community Engagement (PaCE) with schools and education providers.
Introduced by 2011 NAIDOC National Scholar of the Year, Professor Lester-Irabinna Rigney, Dean of Aboriginal Education at the University of Adelaide.
Advice: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images and voices of people who have passed away.
Video and Facilitator’s Guide (145 page binder)
The main objective of this program is to enhance the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities to engage with schools and education providers in order to support improved educational outcomes for their children.
Produced in collaboration with Aboriginal parents and students in northern Adelaide and designed for large-scale implementation, the program was supported by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations under their Parent and Community Education Program (PaCE).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and family of middle and secondary school students, and local community.
Building upon the proven effectiveness of past Stories of Us projects, the Stories of Us PaCE Program is a multi-faceted initiative composed of a video and binder resource, regional training of community representatives in the use of the resource, and its widespread implementation.
The program centres on short, simply staged plays developed by parents and students and performed for their community and school educators. The students perform both young and adult roles in the plays, bringing a certain playfulness in exploring a serious topic. These plays serve as a non-confrontational means of raising and exploring the community’s relationship with schools and education providers, acknowledging the positives and examining some of the obstacles to greater engagement and stronger partnership.
The presentation of the play is followed by a guided discussion aimed at strengthening parental and community engagement with schools and education providers, with a common goal of improved educational outcomes for their students.
While the plays are central to the program, in many respects the real work occurs in the development process (where parents and students work together in preparation for presenting the play), the forum discussion after the performance, and follow-up sessions. Each stage of the program is designed to help achieve the objectives of the PaCE initiative.
The program resource provides step-by-step instructions for the development and staging of the plays, extensive support information, follow-up sessions and program evaluation. Communities also have the option to simply present the play included on the video..
The Stories of Us PaCE Program resource is now complete. In 2012 we began training community representatives in regional centres in greater Adelaide to use the resource to implement the Stories of Us PaCE Program with their communities, including the creation and presentation of plays unique to their community. The resource also outlines an option to simply work with the example play (rather than stage their own).
The South Australian Department of Education and Child Development and MindMatters supported the program and assisted with development through to promotion and implementation of the program.
The development of the plays, their presentation and follow-up activities are all designed to help achieve the objectives of PaCE. In developing their plays, the students interview their parents and community about their relationship with schools and education providers – identifying both the positives and the areas requiring improvement. These points are then expressed in their plays in a manner that helps break the ice, predisposing the parents, community members and education providers to work together towards improved education outcomes for students.
The resource includes follow-up activities as part of the primary implementation process. The resource also has secondary applications. Community representatives are encouraged to work with a different group of students in subsequent years, developing their own plays (whose content will be different as the situation improves), discussing progress with the community, strengthening the community-school partnership and raising the expectation of students’ educational outcomes.