Follow the Dream: Partnerships for Success Program

In 2011, St Mary’s College implemented the Follow the Dream: Partnerships for Success Program on the Secondary Campus. Nyamba Buru Yawuru named the program ‘Walarba Bugarri’, which is literally translated as ‘Follow the Dream’.

The Department of Education has supported this program in their schools for some time, the first program starting in 1997. St Mary’s is fortunate to be the first Catholic school that the Polly Farmer Foundation, jointly with the Catholic Education Office is supporting with such a program.

The program incorporates an enrichment centre which is open to provide academic support to the most capable aspiring Indigenous students. This support will potentially lift the academic standards across the school.

The program at St Mary’s involves students receiving out-of-hours and some in-school tutoring to assist them with their studies. Students are also given careers advice and each student on the program will be mentored to develop their own educational and personal goals. The progress of students is tracked over the year with and regular parent meetings established. The program also includes cultural experiences and excursions to academic institutions. This includes two camps during the year: a Middle School Cultural Camp to Port Smith and an Upper School Year 10 & 11 Camp to visit post-school educational institutions and workplace options in Perth, and on the East Coast every second year.

The FTD:PFS program has been running successfully in many locations around Australia. Programs operate across 15 sites nationally, with over 500 students enrolled in such programs. The programs are backed by research in the form of a five year longitudinal study, conducted by Edith Cowan University. The findings of this study outlined the successes in addressing student retention and academic performance in high school.

The program requires a strong commitment from the selected students. Students must have a minimum of 85% attendance, have a positive attitude to their work, complete all assignments and homework and attend the enrichment centre at least twice a week for tutoring.

This program will further enhance the successes we are experiencing at St Mary’s and we look forward to celebrating the wonderful results that I know will generate from the efforts of our students involved in this program.

Mrs Amanda Davies
Head of Learning Area - Learning Extension & Follow the Dream Coordinator