Nyora Primary School VIC
Nyora Primary School serves a small monocultural community in South Gippsland, Victoria. With just 40 students, the school has joined with other schools in the area to participate in the Learning Local: Learning Global project, which aims to broaden students' awareness of their Asian neighbours and develop sustainable ways to engage with Asia. Principal Mick Hussey has been a participant in the Leading 21st Century Schools: Engage with Asia Programme in 2013–14 and has used the programme to further his school's involvement in the Learning Local: Learning Global project. Hussey notes that the school has covered a lot of ground over the past year from when he commenced his participation in the programme.
Nyora Primary School is very much in the early stages of its Asia capability journey and recently established a sister school relationship with a large school in Changzhu, China. The school has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Yang Gang School and Nyora students have been in constant communication with students from that school. While the two schools are very different – Yang Gang has 1680 students – some sound benefits have been achieved as a result of the partnership. Both schools are very monocultural so their students and staff have much to learn from each other. Plans are underway for Nyora Primary School to host students from China in 2014. The Nyora students are teaching the Yang Gang students about Australian native animals, particularly the echidna, which is the school's logo.
Nyora students were delighted to receive some very creative postcards from their Yang Gang friends and have been working on their own cards to send to China in return.
The school has also established links with two multicultural primary schools in Victoria. The relationships with James Cook and Neerim South primary schools have helped to broaden the horizons and awareness of the Nyora students and Nyora's principal is very keen to further progress these learning partnerships. These partnerships are enabled through the use of information and communication technologies, especially Skype, which allows Nyora's staff and students to keep in touch with schools from different settings and contexts.
The staff and students at Nyora are making extensive use of new web technologies in order to connect, both overseas and within Victoria.
Nyora Primary School has established a relationship with Monash University as a training school for education students. Recently two Monash students spent significant time at the school. One of them lived in China for four years and speaks fluent Mandarin. These students worked together to design and deliver a unit of work based on China that included language, the visual arts, music and physical pursuits such as tai chi.
Nyora's involvement in the Karmai Cluster has been identified as a successful driver in broadening the learning experience of its students. Strong leadership at the cluster level, combined with passionate leadership by Nyora's principal, are significant factors. The cluster schools' willingness to become involved in the Learning Locally: Learning Globally programme has enhanced the collaborative nature of the learning and provided motivation to explore other partnerships, resources and learning opportunities.
The school's governing board, the School Council, has provided great support for the project at the school level with members being briefed thoroughly by the principal. The school has struggled to find the finances to fully fund this Asia capability project but hopes to enjoy a little more flexibility in the future.