ARTD has recently completed the first monitoring reports for the NSW Department of Family and Community Services’ Community Builders program. This program funds community organisations for activities that build community strength and capacity.
Using the monitoring system we developed and piloted with services, we have produced state, regional and individual service level reports.
The state and regional level reports provide an overview of the program’s scope, reach and outcomes. They are an important tool for funders to understand how the program is working and to inform decision making.
The individual reports—all 476 of them—provide each service with data on their service delivery and feedback from clients, along with average scores on performance measures for the region and the state. These reports are a useful resource for services to understand how they are travelling and to consider further improvements to services to reduce community inequality and disadvantage.
Connecting to Country is a new and innovative program for teachers and principals in New South Wales funded by the Commonwealth Government under the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Closing the Gap strategy. It focuses on developing teachers’ and principals’ willingness and ability to establish relationships with Aboriginal students through learning about their cultural, linguistic and family backgrounds, and then using that knowledge to inform classroom practice and pedagogy.
The program begins with a three-day cultural immersion workshop—Being Culturally Aware, Becoming Culturally Inclusive: A Pathway to Cultural Competence—developed by the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) and implemented by Regional and Local AECGs. Following this, participants attend a two-day professional learning workshop to build on and strengthen their capacity to plan, develop and implement culturally inclusive programs and school leadership practices.
The NSW Department of Education and Communities has engaged ARTD to evaluate the program’s effectiveness, strengths and challenges and the impact it has had on principals and teachers, Aboriginal students, their families and communities. The evaluation will contribute evidence for the future sustainability of the Program. The evaluation is due to report in March 2013 and the findings will be made available to interested stakeholders including the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the NSW Aboriginal Consultative Group Incorporated, the NSW Teachers Federation, the Primary Principals’ Association and the Secondary Principals’ Council.