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Congratulations on the official opening of Yarra Me School (formerly Baltara) School on 29 May.

PV Executive Officer, Gail McHardy was delighted to be invited to such an important milestone now all the students are based on the same site and to see so many parents and supporters present for this important milestone in the school's history. PV felt it was important to share the School Council President, Nicholas Abbey’s speech at this event as it speaks to the fundamental things all our state schools strive to do:


The launch of the Yarra Me School is being held on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people and I also wish to acknowledge them as Traditional Owners.

I also would like to pay my respects to all Elders, past and present.


We would also like to thank local Elders for the permission to use the name Yarra Me. It is so significant that our school’s journey of renewal is powerfully informed by Indigenous wisdom and experience, including through conversations with Elders and Indigenous stakeholders.

I am so pleased, on behalf of School Council, to be part of this official opening of the great Yarra Me School, in the presence, too, of the Parliamentary Secretary, Judith Graley, who is a tremendous leader, advocate and supporter of educational reform and improvement.

Many thanks, too, to the State Government for the wonderful funding of its school building program that has so supported Yarra Me.

Yarra Me – through the outstanding leadership, initiative and work of the principal (Nancy Sidoti), leadership team, staff (what a truly amazing staff that Yarra Me has) and school council – achieves great outcomes in close partnership with students, families, parents, caregivers, other schools and diverse stakeholders together with the tremendous support of the Department of Education and Training.

This practice includes three fundamental things:

  1. The first is the personal. Yarra Me is leading and developing deeper personalisation: how the school supports each learner as a whole person with particular needs, interests, strengths and goals. This means combining learning, development, health and wellbeing outcomes for a student as a whole person. It also means focusing on strengths, not deficits.
  2. The second is the relational. Personalisation as a practical strategy obviously pivots on everyone – learners, teachers, families, parents, caregivers, health professionals and others – working closely and collaboratively with each other to best meet the cognitive, emotional, motivational, health, social and cultural needs of each learner. Yarra Me refers to this as the team and the network around each learner. It’s a model for all schools.
  3. The third is the public. Yarra Me seeks to further develop the truly public, collaborative, inclusive character of education, pedagogy, governance and school practice, including:
  • Through developing stronger student, parent, carer, family, community and stakeholder engagement
  • Through sharing, collaborating and networking within and across schools
  • Through shared values, goals, leadership and decision making, including through our school council that brings together phenomenal expertise and experience
  • Through developing better ways for effective communication between parents, carers and the school
  • Through co-creating the school strategic plan and developing shared goals.

All in all, Yarra Me will continue to provide significant insights into:

  1. How to deepen personalisation for all students
  2. How to build better, stronger relationships, partnerships, teams and networks
  3. How best to make a positive difference together through developing the public character of education and schooling.

Thank you for taking part in this official opening of the great Yarra Me School.

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