Naidoc Week at Wirreanda Secondary School

This years NAIDOC Week theme was “Our Languages Matter” and the week ran from the 2nd – 9th of July.

This year’s theme hoped to emphasise and celebrate the unique and crucial role that Indigenous languages play in celebrating cultural identity, linking people to their land, their water and in the communication of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through dreamtime stories and songs.

We collaborated with colleagues in the school’s Learning Hub to show documentaries and display books containing Indigenous Aboriginal art, poems, language and dreamtime stories for students to look at during their break times. Students were also involved in a video that was created in celebration of NAIDOC Week – during which, they spoke Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri words that hold significance to them.

We also introduced a ‘Kaurna Word of the Day’, whereby teachers had the opportunity to go through the chosen words with students and explain the meanings of these words. We played Indigenous Aboriginal music, showed a number of movies, including The Sapphires in the Nunga Room throughout recess time and also a short documentary starring Stan Grant.  Antony Yates was kind enough to present to other staff members at our term Teach Meet, regarding utilising cultural perspectives in the classroom and helped to show how to do this.

We are beyond happy that, as a school cohort, we were able to celebrate the importance of Indigenous languages, art, culture and achievements from throughout time.

Ngaityalya Nakotha,

Makayla Kadow- ASETO
Link to our NAIDOC Week Video:  


Welcome to Term 2 from the Aboriginal Education Team!

Welcome to Term 2 from the Aboriginal Education Team!

Sometimes there are tough things that happen in our community. But with support from our Aboriginal community we can come together and find strength. One time was the Nunga tag football carnival in term 1. Our students had some fun and built their team work skills with challenging games with other students from around the state. We learnt a huge amount about a local service and training providers, from Nunkuwarrin yunti to Tauondi College and more. But what was most enjoyable was catching up our friends, family and elders.  Supporting staff said how outstanding our students were – they not only participated beautifully and worked with all of the different services providers, but they also were great role models.

We would like to take this time to remind you about who is in the Aboriginal Education Team, and what we do:

Our Contact Details:

Phone: 08 8329 7200 (and ask for the Aboriginal Education Team)

Email: , , ,

School website:

Our Team

Makayla Kadow: ASETO for Year 8 and 9. She supports with Well Being, Year 8 Transition and Attendance

Lee Thulborn: Tutor and ASETO for Year 10 and 11. She supports with Well Being, Attendance, Career Pathways and helping students get their SACE (Pass year12).

She also helps with Tutoring (English and Math skills for junior students and SACE subjects for Seniors)

Deb Johnson: ASETO – for Year 12 supports with Well Being, Attendance, Helping students get their SACE

Antony Yates: Aboriginal Education Teacher – Tutoring for all students, One Plans, Case Management and SACE

How we help:

  • Transition: Helping your child get use to life at high school
  • Study session (tutoring): Intensive support for your child’s Maths and English skills and for senior student’s compulsory subjects. This includes challenging them so they achieve good grades.
  • OnePlan (ILP’s): Tracking progress, setting goals and helping teachers understand how your child learns
  • Wellbeing:  Making sure your child is happy and healthy. As a part of this we run check in sessions and Wellbeing groups that build up student’s life skills and learn about culture. This includes excursions and community events
  • Attendance: Monitoring days missed from school and helping with barriers that make it hard to get to school
  • Career pathways: Helping students explore careers and get into their dream job. For example Uni, apprenticeships or TAFE and linking students with training organisations and jobs
  • SACE: When your child gets older, we work on flexible ways to help then finish year 12 and get their SACE
  • Monitoring: General we keeping an eye on all parts of your child’s education

Would you like more info? Call us on 8329 7200 and ask to speak to someone in the Nunga room.

We’re looking forward to a busy term

Kind regards,

From the ATSI Team


Take a Stand

On Friday the 17th of  March 2017, Wirreanda Secondary School conducted a whole day of focus and awareness around resilience, respectful relationships, conflict resolution strategies and mindfulness, to help ‘ take a stand together’ and support BULLY NO WAY!

This included;

Morning sessions:

Teachers booked their classes into morning sessions with key guests including , focus leaders and student leaders who have made areas of resilience, respectful relationships, mindfulness and conflict resolution.

Mid afternoon session:

A mid-afternoon to lunchtime walkthrough information session, in which students completed a ‘resilience walk’, through various community groups and service providers gathering key information, justifying their emotional responses, expressing their opinions, beliefs, questions and choices, in order to build and modify safety strategies.

Lunchtime Event

A lunchtime school community event, showcasing our school’s commitment and awareness of BULLY NO WAY, with school bands performing songs of hope and encouragement, food and more information displays and workshops.

And finally two afternoon sessions:

One with a key guest speaker discussing their own battle with life setbacks, how to evaluate/rethink and refine life after unexpected or difficult situations and self-discipline strategies and personal experiences.

And the other with Helen Sleeman our Wellbeing Officer and Nick Jackson discussing Digital Citizenship with our learners parents .

This in turn further supported our safe school policy, strategy and programs in which;

All members of Wirreanda Secondary school have the right to be included and have respect from others, the right to learn or to be taught, and a right to feel safe and secure in their school environment.

Acknowledges that Wirreanda Secondary School is a White Ribbon and Safe School Coalition site and promotes respectful relationships amongst all members of the community.

The Wellbeing Team


Deadly Start 2 High School

Deadly Start 2 High School

Deadly Start 2 High School is about year 7 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in secondary schools. Year 7 students have the opportunity to participate in the transition program aimed at supporting positive transition into secondary school. Several secondary schools in the south take turns in running workshops to encourage a positive outlook at high school. Wirreanda ran a program on Kaurna language and artifacts as well as a science class with the wonderful Ms Nicholson.

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A Taste of Culture for the Japanese Koshikawa students

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students had the opportunity to present a ‘Taste of Culture’ for the Japanese students of Koshikawa. The Koshikawa students had the wonderful time of painting native animals inspired by Aboriginals designs. They students also had fun of a shared lunch of wattle seed damper, scones and kangaroo sausages. All food disappeared within minutes .

It was interest how well the students took in the information we provided and how good their art skills were…It was nice chatting to new people with a different culture and we learnt form them as well” – Breanna Trueman –

“We also taught the students about different animals, languages and laws…I had a lot of fun and so did the Koshikawa students” – Tamya Motto –

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Azra Rochester
Aboriginal Secondary Education Transition Officer

Student Leader- Brody

In July the ATSI team received great news: Brody, one of our year 10’s got into the state rugby team.

Now Brody is one interesting student. He is getting solid grades, is an amazing student leader (he has been helping run our men’s group) and he is a talented sports person.

The only bad news in all of this was that the state rugby was pretty expensive.

A fundraising page was started and through some generous people we started to raise some money. Brody’s family were working madly to raise funds as well.

But it was two weeks before his trip and were still short. It was then I received a strange email. After a chat whit this person I was left speechless, as this gentleman was willing to cover the remaining amount of the trip. This person was Eion Loftus.

Brody returned from his trip. He excelled and his skills were noticed by some of the talent scouts from respective NRL teams. It was an amazing trip he will never forget.

However I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Eion. He has a huge number of young people he supports. He hosted a fundraising event last month where Brody was able to share his experiences.

More info about Eion’s fundraising attempts can be found here.

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Antony Yates -Aboriginal Education Teacher

Reconciliation Week

Reconciliation Week 2016

This year’s Reconciliation Week theme is “Our History, Our Story, Our Future”. Reconciliation has always been about reconciliation, unification and celebration of culture within our school community. In 2016 we aim to build on the present culture to enhance and celebrate the diversity in our communities. The aim is to develop not only understanding, but also acknowledgement of one’s own culture and the multicultural society around them as well as the history of our society. This will be achieved through community engagement, connections and presentations during Reconciliation Week from community multicultural groups. We are running a whole assembly and school community fair.

On Tuesday 31st of May Wirreanda Secondary had an amazing assembly with guest speakers from staff, students, Cara Rankine, previous student, and Katrine Hildyard MP. This year we want to look at Reconciliation and the wider society before all cultural groups within Australia. We focused on the theme “Unity Through Diversity”. As Kadri said, “Reconciliation is not a process which occurs for one week, once a year. It is an ongoing conscious process of restoring relationships and building a sense of community together…why? Because we are all human beings and ultimately, connected in some way

We wanted to look at how we as individuals view the culture we live and practice every day and created a video. We will build on this culture of ‘lived’ Reconciliation by how we work and learn together in an environment that encourages acceptance of our own individual identities and the culture of our school.

We have over 45 different cultural groups within our school…this is a rich tapestry that contributes and shapes the cultural identity of Wirreanda Secondary School.

Please view our Reconciliation Video :




Term 4 – Tutoring in the Nunga room

In the Nunga Room, so much happens on a daily basis: wellbeing groups, restorative meetings, chats with parents, teachers and family, recess and lunch time hangout sessions, study support, writing resumes, having meetings, making phone calls and spending time with a variety of organisations to provide our students with amazing personal and learning opportunities. However, one of the main support services we provide to both Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal students is tutoring and recently in we have had some great successes:

Tyson and Tamya, two-year 8 students, each received a 10/10 score for their English assignment, which was a beautiful handwritten letter.

Tyrone, another year 8, did an excellent job of recreating the popular fairy tale “Robin Hood”. Adding his own twist to the story, he entitled his version “Robin from The Hood” and he received a well-deserved A grade.

Keisha, one of our year 10 students also received a high-grade for her twisted fairy tale story!
We still have a long way to go with tutoring and the Nunga Room – we are often trying to help students going through a really tough time. So The ATSI Team wanted to say well done to our students for showing the persistence and resilience to keep going, no matter what. We are proud of you and your achievements this year.

Have a great holidays!

Antony Yates

NUNGA room pic

“In Defence of Our Homeland ” War Memorial Project Camp

Monday – Tuesday
We departed from Wirreanda with a little late start due to, perhaps a bigger luggage load than expected, but we finally left and were excited about the upcoming journey. I don’t think students quite thought about the length of journey we were about to embark on, with over 1200kms across several states. It took a while before we heard “Are we there yet?” but students past the time belting our One Direction, Katy Perry & Taylor Swift. We stayed overnight in Balranald, and the kids practically ran off the bus and got some rest.
Today it the first day of touring Canberra with plans for Questacon, The Aboriginal Tent Embassy and The Old Parliament. The students had fun exploring all the weird and fun science puzzles and displays. Some students tried to build a tower of blocks that could withstand an earthquake that they got to experience. Other students had fun defying physics on a 6 metre drop that unbeknownst to them turned into a slide. On our way to the Old Parliament the students paid their respects at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy that has stood for several decades on the parklands around Old Parliament. Students had the opportunity to speak to an Aboriginal man helping to keep the flame burning. The Old Parliament delighted students as they explored fun and interactive digital displays such as rights and freedoms, human rights, and so forth. Students were even able to view the Magna Carta, a founding document of democracy from nearly a thousand years ago. The last event for the night after a great dinner cooked by students and Mr. Pirone was a tour of the Australian Institute of Sport before relaxing back at the hostel.

Azra Rochester

old parliament

tent embassy fire