Palmerston school staff understand from research that the more parents are involved and engaged in their child's school the better the learning outcomes are for their children. Therefore, Palmerston has made relationships with parents a high priority. Parents are involved in most aspects of the school – from assisting with literacy in the classroom, participation at daily morning assemblies, and through a strong school policy around parents as partners in behaviour management. When visiting Palmerston Primary School one is struck by the strong inclusive atmosphere which contributes to an engaging school culture.
Palmerston staff understand that if literacy needs are addressed early students' own expectations of their academic performance and ability increases. Therefore, Palmerston has trained staff to use Multi –Lit to increase students' literacy. Students are identified by teachers through the systematic collection of data. Strategic and targeted use of Multi-Lit has resulted in a significant increase in student literacy rates across the primary school years. Palmerston's 'Data Wall' shows the extent of this improvement in literacy.
Palmerston school encourages learning through their Quality Literacy Program. From an ETD grant, Palmerston library has acquired a significant collection of engaging picture books to support this program. This enables every student regardless of their reading level to engage in quality literacy activities.
Palmerston Primary school has worked hard to achieve a high level of consistency in teaching practice and behaviour management across the school - including relief teaching staff. This level of consistency has resulted in a learning environment that is calm, orderly and highly productive. Team teaching ensures that even occasional relief staff understand what to teach and how to teach it with little disruption to the sequence of work.
Palmerston School's work in this area is exemplary and visitors to the school can immediately see the positive results for students in self-regulation and consequently their engagement in learning.
Palmerston is responsive to the needs of its school community. Because 40% of Palmerston's families speak English as a second language, the school is initiating a program through collaboration with Gungahlin Library for parents who have little English language skills and little knowledge and experience with public libraries. The program will involve taking interested parents by bus to Gungahlin Library where library staff will guide the parents through the basics of borrowing books. The parents then borrow books to read with their children and in the process improve their own English language skills.
This innovative program is exemplary because it meets the needs of Palmerston's unique school community – both the needs of the parents and their students' are addressed.