New approaches to educational leadership with Indigenous partners
The project known as Principals as literacy leaders with Indigenous Communities (PALLIC) was developed by Griffith University in partnership with the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA). It involved 48 primary schools across 3 Australian States and territories in 2011 and 2012 with high Indigenous enrolments. The schools were both remote Indigenous schools and those in urban and regional settings. The project's design included a professional development program of five modules and on- and off-site visits by leadership mentors for principals and two local Indigenous partners over 18 months as well as research on its impact. Data were collected and analysed at each phase of the program to inform its subsequent development. The focus for this conference paper is to discuss the project's impact on the participants and their work to establish a two-way leadership partnership around literacy learning, specifically in the teaching of reading. The project included an enabling element in its design, namely the inclusion of indigenous leadership partners (ILPs) from the schools' communities. This was in response to findings from existing research work (Priest, King, Nangala, Nungurrayi Brown & Nagala, 2008) claiming that full partnerships between homes and schools enhanced children's learning. The intent of the PALLIC project was an attempt to translate this ideal into the context of Indigenous communities where this was known to be more difficult because of constraints of language, staff turnover and separation of the worlds of home and school. The survey items related to the project's intent provide indicative data to highlight progress made towards establishing a strong reading program through the development of a leadership for learning partnership.