Good Shepherd Catholic College is getting more serious about squashing education inequity for its Indigenous students with the launch of their reconciliation action plan.
The new plan is focused on establishing deep, sustainable relationships rather than ticking a box that the school observes Indigenous education.
Teachers were taken on a “walk on country” by Kalkadoon Elders on Wednesday afternoon as part of the first stage of broadening cultural awareness inside the classroom.
“Walking on country involves talking about the history of Mount Isa and the Kalkadoon people and also giving our staff some background on the social injustices that Indigenous people in this community face,” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander steering committee member Pelly Morganson said.
“It also helps teachers understand that a lot of our Indigenous kids come with baggage from trans-generational trauma and that what they experience at home is a lot different to what some of our non-Indigenous students deal with.”
Ms Morganson said the reconciliation action plan will help staff better connect with students.
“Relationships are one of the most important part of education so for teachers to understand where the students come from will assist with how they can make those relationships stronger.”
“The whole idea is that we have a look at what we already do but also what we can implement to promote reconciliation,” Ms Morganson said
Professor Roianne West gave the keynote speech at the launch of the action plan on Wednesday.
Professor West is a Kalkadoon woman and director of the First Peoples Health Unit at Griffith University.
Her address focused on raising the educational aspirations of Indigenous students.
Despite having two masters degrees and a PhD, Professor West said she was never slated as a student with academic potential while she was at school.
In Year 12, her career ambition was to one day be the manager of a local fast food restaurant.
But through perseverance and determination, she realised her own potential.
Professor West attributed her proffessional success to the support and love of her mother and grandmother.
She stressed the importance of a university-trained Indigenous health workforce to improve health outcomes in the region.