Here at OCS we believe that parent partnership is an essential component in a Christian school. When our fore-fathers designed and formed OCS that is certainly what they believed, to the point that they made it one of our 3 strategic pillars. We expect that when selecting a school for their child, parents will seriously consider the values, vision and focus of the school, to ensure that they feel confident in that partnership.
Parent partnership in OCS, as in all CEN (Christian Education National) schools, began as an absolute necessity. It was the parents’ vision that birthed our schools, parent volunteers who designed and often built our schools; parents cleaned the schools and even taught in the schools. The partnership was strong, practical and visible. The concept of sacrifice was the norm, volunteering was the culture and communication was the key. In those early days, parents sent their children to the school despite sometimes having minimal resources, because they believed that what the school stood for was most important. They also believed that one day the schools would grow and flourish. And indeed the schools did!
Over time our school has grown; both in size and capacity. What was once done by volunteers, out of necessity, is now often done by paid professionals. But what has not changed, is the importance of parent partnership. This idea of the school/home relationship being strong, supportive and clearly evident for children to see, has remained a steadfast distinctive of OCS. Whilst some of the partnership programs may look a little different from 30 years ago, it is still important that our children see staff and families working together, talking together and learning together. For this reason we want families to ‘come on in’, where possible, and be part of the life of the school. Whether that is for pick up and drop off, Practical PiP mornings, or special event days; or whether it is involvement in one of our structured programs, our whole school flourishes when home and school works positively together. And it is fun!
Formally, partnership occurs through the collective body of Christian parents and community members, known as the OCS Association. From this Association the OCS Board is elected, whose responsibility it is to oversee the governance of the school and set our strategic vision.
Informally, this occurs in a huge variety of activities, from helping with classroom literacy, through to assisting at school sports carnivals; from coming along on your child’s school camp, through to serving on any of the school subcommittees.
Exploring ways to keep parent partnership effective and relevant in 21st century is a key goal of the current Strategic Plan. Pilot programs such as the video log program to assist with home learning – respectful home partnership, without being intrusive; flexible delivery of subjects, to ensure that learning is not limited to a classroom context; a parent coaching program, and more focus groups to ensure that we hear your thoughts and ideas, will be brought in during 2019.
We still have all the regular parent information sessions, parent teacher meetings, school events and graduations. We also want to allow space for new ideas.
Visible and vibrant; these are the words we want to use to describe our Parents in Partnership program. It is our prayer for this vital relationship: why not join us and let’s pray this together and see what God can build in our school!