'Imagination is an important part of all human endeavour. The musical world reminds us that the importance of 'dreaming impossible dreams', 'climbing every mountain' and pursuing 'high hopes'; the sporting world tells us that inspiration is at least as important in breaking records as is perspiration; political and cultural figures who have made a difference have usually been motivated by a vision of an idealised future which they have successfully communicated to others; many of us adults attribute our life successes to school experiences and to teachers who imbued us with lifelong enthusiasm, goals and confidence' (IDEAS Manual, 2001, p.32).
Colleen Hope, Principal of Thursday Island State School an IDEAS Torres Strait school (1999) welcomes us aboard 'Our planning boat "Au Zageth - Ginar Yume Education" (Big Work in Action for Our Education) on a voyage of promise and potential. Since the 16 May 2003 when our productive pearling lugger was launched by our Elders at the Partners for Success Business meeting we have been dropping anchor at ports around TI to listen to our school community's voices of direction for the children of Thursday Island State School'.
Caroline Cloudy, a School Council representative and Father Dalton Bon an Elder of the community of Thursday Island sees that the purpose of this maiden voyage has been to, 'Carefully charter our destination of "Creating Positive Futures" for Thursday Island State School students and community in our next 5 Year Plan'.
The school community has captured their beliefs in the school's vision of:
'As we've anchored we have gathered committed crew members that will ensure we reach our destinations.
Our crew to date:
With a strong crew - Mrs Hope: Principal of Thursday Island State School, Mrs Savage: Deputy Principal and community member, and Ms Woods: Deputy Principal and IDEAS CoFacilitator - will skipper "Au Zageth - Ginar"; on a voyage of discovery. 'To date we have gathered vital artefacts to ensure the success of our voyage'.
Collectively students, community and staff are saying that on our voyage we will need:
' 'Au Zageth... Ginar Yumi Education' exemplifies a whole school approach' says Flo Levi , a school and community member, 'When we viewed the processes of developing a professional learning community, school wide pedagogy and effective leadership, we discovered that they were closely integrated. It is the integration between all three elements that is enhancing school success'
The creation of a professional learning community has established networks within the teaching community and is assisting in spreading cultural pedagogies across the entire school. The professional learning community has had focus of both school revitalisation and student learning outcomes. Backward mapping from student assessment pieces and work samples to teaching practice has identified the need for professional development, changes to teaching practice and adaptation of the current curriculum. In moving from the schoolhouse to the learning organisation Thursday Island State School has bonded their community together to develop and build their shared vision, which is based on a platform of new values, beliefs, norms and working practices. The school is achieving successes that demonstrate the collective capabilities of its school members to create a unique mental model. This is developing as the Thursday Island State School Community Learning House approach. Thursday Island State School's findings in regard to professional learning community, leadership and cultural pedagogy can be used as an exemplary model and pathway for organisations to follow suit.
Photos of Elders fingerprinting and signing the Thursday Island State School and community paddle