MOVING right along from imagining what kind of place we would like Lismore to be in the future, we are now being invited to imagine what would constitute the very best education for our children.
In a series of community forums and discussions with parents, students and teachers, 'Building Our Capacity - public education in Lismore from preschool to Year 12', is a project spearheaded by two women with a passion for education.
Di Williamson is the deputy principal of Richmond River High School, currently on secondment to the project; and Toni Hughes, retired Lismore High School principal and school education director, is overseeing the project.
The question they are asking is: what are the key elements for building the capacity of public education in Lismore to deliver improved outcomes for our students in the 21st century?
In other words, in the best of all possible worlds, how would you want to change, improve or shape the education that is offered to our children?
They have already canvassed opinions at the 32 public schools in Lismore, and last Thursday held three community forum sessions at the Department of Education and Training (DET) building in Goonellabah.
"We're looking at what's needed for the 21st century," Di told The Echo.
"We've got no agenda except to find out what people want, and how we can work together to improve outcomes for our kids.
"And we're not interested in structures - this is all about vision and philosophy," Toni said. "We're into transformation, not more of the same - so how do we transform the experience of education for the 21st century learner?
"If education could provide exactly what you want, what would it look like?"
The consultations started last month and will continue until September 14. So far, Di reports a good response.
"Some of the conversations we've been having in meetings have been fantastic. Remember that the jobs that kids going into school now will do probably haven't been invented yet; our society is more diverse than ever, the economy is becoming global and social change ever more rapid. We need to help students to think deeply and logically."
Next Monday, September 3, there will be three community forum sessions held at the DET building at 610 Ballina Road, Goonellabah.
Open to the public, they will be held from 10-11.30am, 2-3.30pm and 5.30-7pm.
Anyone can contribute to the project by email at LismoreDEC@det.nsw
.edu.au or through the website www.building