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Changing the Tide

July 2014

Can you believe it's July!

Stronger Smarter founder and Chairman Dr Chris Sarra gives an update of what the Institute team has been up to for the first half of 2014.


University of Canberra Project

The Institute is most fortunate to partner with wonderful organisations and businesses that enable our work with school & community leaders across Australia. An exciting new partner is the University of Canberra (UC) and throughout 2014 and 2015 UC will support the Institute to offer leadership programs in the ACT and southern NSW, where UC works with a network of schools.

The partnership was launched with the team travelling to Jervis Bay to work with participants from Jervis Bay School, Vincentia High School & the Wreck Bay Aboriginal community.

Bob Pastor, Principal at Jervis Bay School is hosting the program which has principals, teachers, teacher aides and community members working collaboratively and defining for themselves how the Stronger Smarter approach can support improved student outcomes in their wider community.

We'll be heading back to Jervis Bay in late July for the follow up and we're excited to reconnect with the group and to hear more about their great work.

In partnership with UC, further leadership programs will commence in:

  • Canberra - October 2014
  • Canberra - February 2015
  • Wagga Wagga - May 2015

For more information on these programs please contact toby.adams@strongersmarter.com.au


Sharing the Journey with QGC

The Institute has partnered with QGC for an exciting new project to bring leadership programs to South-East Queensland. The project is part of QGC’s Sustainable Communities Program, which aims to support initiatives that contribute to the cohesion, wellbeing and livability of communities in the Western Downs and Gladstone areas

Benny, Mich and Toby are hard at work reaching out to schools in these areas to introduce the Stronger Smarter philosophy and welcome more wonderful school and community leaders into the network.

The QGC project will offer 2 leadership programs, the first in July and the second in September, both starting at the Ration Shed at the Cherbourg Historical Precinct, providing participants with a special learning opportunity in the community where the Stronger Smarter story began.

If you know a school or community leader in the Western Downs or Gladstone areas who would love to attend one of these programs, please email Toby on toby.adams@strongersmarter.com.au or Ben on ben.wilson@strongersmarter.com.au.

Many thanks to the great QGC team who made this project possible and we look forward to working with new Stronger Smarter leaders.

Taking the Stronger Smarter message to WIPCE!

The World Indigenous People’s Conference on Education (WIPCE) is a triennial event that focuses on a range of issues including cultural practice and cultural knowledge across the full gamut of educational contexts, and is designed to facilitate the transmission of knowledge between Indigenous peoples of the world.  The 2014 Conference was held on the campus of Kapiʻolani Community College on the island of Oʻahu in the Hawaiʻi Archipelago in May.

Chris, Michal and Toby represented the Stronger Smarter Institute, thanks to the generous support of the Scully Fund and people who purchased our Strong Smart Deadly t-shirts.

The team shared how the Stronger Smarter approach is working in schools and communities across Australia, to a jam-packed room of delegates from Canada, USA, New Zealand & Australia (the session was for 30 people and Stronger Smarter squeezed 50 in!)
The presentation was well received with lots of questions and sharing of stories and an invitation to visit the University of Montana.

The team also attended workshops that were closely connected to the Institute’s work with Michal commenting that "while it was humbling to be in the company of some amazing presenters and some very deadly organisations, we can be very proud of what we do at Stronger Smarter and we can confidently take our place on the world stage alongside these people".

We're going Beyond Limits Known

Beyond Limits Known

Those who’ve completed the leadership program know about the sacred black polo shirt when you join the Stronger Smarter family. Now the shirts have an extra special quality, as we've recently partnered with one of Australia's leading brands in apparel and sportswear.

Beyond Limits Known (BLK) are well known for the NRL All Star jerseys plus many team uniforms for NRL, AFL & ARU clubs and now supplying the Institute with the new Stronger Smarter polo shirt!

We're excited that you’ll now see the Stronger Smarter logo alongside the BLK insignia on Stronger Smarter shirts across the country and for leadership program graduates, keep an eye on our website for a special offer to purchase one of the new shirts.



Reconciliation week at Warrnambool Primary School

A human mural at Warrnambool Primary School

As a whole school we have a strong focus on Indigenous education. During Reconciliation Week our school recongised this signifant date, from our preps up to our Year Six students we all etched a hand print with our local Aboriginal art work in red, black and yellow. We then made the hand prints into the word Reconciliation, which will be proudly displayed at school. 

We are also lucky enough to have Tracy Roach, a very special local Gunditjmara woman, who is our resident artist. She has worked with all classes sharing her story and her art work. Our students approach each day with opened minds and hearts. Reconciliation week was no exception.

Parent feedback on our Indigenous programs has been very positive. The students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, can feel the winds of change!

Jacqui Gore

ACT Education & Training are Strong, Smart & Deadly!

Employees from the Human Resources Branch of the ACT Education and Training Directorate, including Coralie McAlister, Director (seated in the middle) and staff from Employee Relations, Health Safety and Wellbeing and HR Strategy Sections, Dougal, Ginibi, Leanne, Paull, Sally, Cheryl, Meg and Annie. 

Staff in HR wore the Strong Smart Deadly t-shirts throughout National Reconciliation Week as part of raising awareness and engaging in conversations about the power of language, relationships and connections and the contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, students, parents/caregivers and the community make to the strengthening and developing the cultural integrity and identity of the Directorate.  The photo was taken in front of a painting commissioned by the Directorate and painted by Leah Brideson an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Worker studying to be a primary school teacher in Central Office. 

The painting symbolises the Directorate’s commitment to connection, collaboration, careers and leadership opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff across the Directorate and pathways into employment within the ACT public school sector for community members as part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Action Plan launched at the end of last year.

Wearing the t-shirts gave the area such a buzz and really bought the whole branch together – the conversations both within the branch but also externally as a result have been amazing!

Ginibi Robinson

St Teresa's College Abergowrie

Check out this deadly Community Consultation Commitee video from St Teresa's College Abergowrie.

This is their key platform to engage parents and community members into the College!


National NAIDOC kicks off Sunday 6 July. This year’s theme honours Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who served in defence of our country.

If your school or community is doing something for NAIDOC please let us know so we can include in our next newsletter and on our website.

If you'd like to share your event or activity please email toby.adams@strongersmarter.com.au


Back in Broome!

During term 2, the SSLP team was fortunate to once again travel to the Kimberley region for the Broome program.  We welcomed 19 new members to the Strong and Smart family and welcomed back to the circle Melissa Fredricks & Karen Yungabun. The participants were from regional communities including Halls Creek, Djugerari, Baylulu, Derby, One Arm Point, Broome, Muludja, as well coming from Bunbury.

The group not only embraced new Stronger Smarter learnings but also brought their own strengths to the program, making learning even more diverse and enlightening. Here are a few comments from the program:

"Had a great time challenging myself during the week, look forward to going back to school and implementing some of the strategies."

"Had a great day today learnt a lot about myself and also a lot about assumptions and judgements."

"The week has been epic.  I have found some of myself that has been hiding for a while, look forward to walking the SS path with you."

Macquarie Park, NSW

Recently educators from schools along the NSW Central Coast gathered for the first Macquarie Park Regional Program. The program brought together a rich and diverse array of teachers, principals, Indigenous Education Officers, and community members.

With laughter and tears flowing in equal measure, the group left inspired and dedicated to creating strong, positive, and lasting change in their schools and communities.

Very special thanks to our deadly sister, facilitator and program organiser, Renette Burgess, for her outstanding work. We’re looking forward to seeing you all for the follow up in August!

Ballina, NSW

Long-time supporters, co-facilitators, and friends of the Institute, Dyonne Anderson and Peter Flannery again organised the Ballina program where educators from the far north of New South Wales gathered to focus on the strengths and diversity that could be found in their school communities and in each other.

The wisdom and gravitas that characterise this group was offset by the palpable sense of fun that pervaded the lighter moments.

The singing, games, and laughter were, as always, a highlight. We’ll meet at beautiful Evans River in late July for the follow up, and we’re expecting powerful presentations for positive school transformation.

DGR status

The Stronger Smarter Institute is pleased to announce that The Foundation for Regional and Rural Renewal (FRRR) auspice the Stronger Smarter Institute to receive funding and donations under their DGR (deductible gift recipient) status.  This means that anyone who donates to the Institute can claim a tax deduction.

FRRR is a not-for-profit organisation that serves as a vital conduit for philanthropy to rural, remote and regional communities. Their assistance enables the Institute to fund projects across Australia – a big step towards changing many children’s educational experience.

If you are interested in supporting the Stronger Smarter Institute please feel free to contact us.

New faces at Stronger Smarter!

The Stronger Smarter team has grown! We have a great mix of some new faces and some familiar faces that have reconnected with and joined the Institute recently.

If you've recently called the Institute there's a good chance you would have been greeted by our new Office Coordinator, Maryanne Surridge who joins us after an impressive history with New Zealand Post.

Cathy Jackson returns to the Institute having previously worked with the team in 2013. Cathy has an exciting role as our Social Impact Manager and will be looking closely at the impact that the Stronger Smarter Leadership Program has on individuals, schools and communities.

Maryanne Doig was also previously with the team in 2012, Maryanne does a fantastic job of overseeing the Institute's finance operations.

Jemima Welsh brings enthusiasm and energy to her role as Institute Project Officer. Jemima will be supporting the team on many of our projects including the QGC leadership programs, our Communications activity, the Origin Foundation project and funding applications.

Strong Smart & Deadly!

Toby & Michal wearing their Strong Smart Deadly t-shirts

Firstly a huge thank you to everyone who purchased a Strong Smart Deadly t-shirt to support our team to present at WIPCE. As a result there are over 400 people across the country spreading the Stronger Smarter message in their deadly t-shirts!

It's been fantastic to hear how schools, communities and government departments have been using the shirts as attendance prizes, NAIDOC Week uniforms and during Reconciliation Week!

Remember if you have a shirt we'd love for you to post a photo in your shirt on our Facebook page or tweet us so we can share!

Due to popular demand we'll continue to sell the Strong Smart Deadly t-shirts, if you would like to purchase a shirt you can access the order form here.

Upcoming Leadership Program in Cherbourg

Places are still available for our upcoming  national leadership program to be held September 14-19 in Cherbourg, Queensland.

The team are looking forward to heading back to Cherbourg, the grass roots of Stronger Smarter, to facilitate our September National program for 2014.

If you are interested or know someone who would be please feel free to contact Michal Purcell at michal.purcell@strongersmarter.com.au or on 0428 801 883 with any concerns or  follow the link below on our website for our live online application.

Click here for further information or to apply for the September National Stronger Smarter Leadership Program

Kangaroos in the classroom!

One of the resources we use in the Stronger Smarter Leadership Program is AusIdentities, AusIdentities is a program for self-awareness that has been created using a blend of temperament & personality theories that combine to give us a uniquely Australian, & easy to apply tool for life & for learning.

Check out this great article by creator Michael White.

Personality Types have become very popular in recent times. In fact, since the introduction of the Myers-Briggs model of Type back in the 1930’s and 1940’s, which basically built upon the Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung’s theories, understanding Personality Types has become a multi-million dollar global industry. Everyone from the ordinary person in the street, to the student selecting their high school subjects, or the business executive who is managing people, even individuals visiting online dating sites, suddenly seems to have access to a wealth of information regarding their own nature.

Continue reading here...