Northern Territory Government Newsroom


Palmerston’s Rosebery Middle School is investing in kids through their ‘Elders in School’ program, an exciting initiative developed by school staff and the local community for the 2017 school year.

In partnership with The Smith Family, the innovative ‘Elders in School’ program sees respected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the local community work as leaders and role models within the school to share their cultural knowledge with students.

Minister for Education Eva Lawler said the 2017 ‘Elders in Schools’ program was a perfect example of schools building strong relationships with community and working together to deliver education.

“The Territory Labor Government will always put kids at the heart of our decision making process, it is great seeing the Rosebery School Community doing the same,” she said.

“As a government, we believe in having programs that values students’ diverse backgrounds. We know that investing in our children brings long-term educational, social and economic benefits.

“While the ‘Elders in Schools’ program has improved student engagement, it is doing so much more than that – it is building confidence, understanding, empathy and respect in these young people, all skills that will benefit them moving into the future.

“I congratulate the Rosebery Middle School staff and community for their hard work and commitment to engaging students.”

The ‘Elders in School’ program sees students participate in a Men and Women’s Business group where students are mentored to improve
confidence, life skills and promote a sense of belonging. This is achieved by sharing their cultural knowledge, history, stories and skills in the instruction of organised lessons with a teacher.

Principal of Rosebery Middle School Krystel Smith said the program is inspired by the vision of Darren Harris, the school’s Aboriginal Education Worker, Kathleen Irwin, a parent and Aboriginal community leader, The Smith Family and the support of many respected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the community.

“Their combined passion for improving educational opportunities for young Indigenous people in the Palmerston community has been a key factor to the success of this program,” Ms Smith said.

“This program has real purpose and we’ve seen a huge change in some of our students; the program has created a sense of pride and leadership within them, of who they are and where they’ve come from.”

Catherine Phillips, Regional Program Manager said The Smith Family focuses on providing wrap-around support to Territory students and their families.

“The Smith Family has a long-term partnership with Rosebery Middle School to enhance educational outcomes for students with a focus on improving the engagement and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students,” Ms Phillips said.

Media Contact: Jake Hauritz - 0478 128 268