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This article is by Jade Millman, a parent at Whittington Primary School

Since having our Community Engagement Officer, Dori, things have improved so much at our school (Whittington Primary School in Geelong). Dori is invaluable and such an important part of our school community. Dori helped the parents start Whittington Primary School's first Parents and Friends in mid-2019, which since has held a Bunnings BBQ, family days, organized a buddy bench for the school yard, Christmas parties and lots of other great activities involving parents and students.

Support for parents

I truly believe as parents, we would not have been able to have achieved what we have without our Community Engagement Officer. Dori has brought not only the parents and school community together but the actual school itself seems to run better. The students started to run and maintain a fully sustainable veggie patch with the help of Dori – and the students love it! Having a Community Engagement Officer is so great for our school, Dori is very approachable and helpful – we all as parents need someone like that at schools, talking to Dori takes a lot of the authoritarian feeling out of the equation – approaching busy staff can be quite daunting to some parents!

Building family engagement

Having a Community Engagement Officerat our school has made an immense difference between parents and the school. Like I said, the staff and teachers are often very busy and having some one relaxed and easy to engage with has changed that and balanced out the communication. Its also worth mentioning how the students will often seek out Dori when possible, before other staff members with certain needs, taking a lot of stress off the teachers. Our Community Engagement Officeris always happy to help. I think every school would benefit greatly from a Community Engagement Officer.

Photo: Dori (left) and Jade at our 2019 Conference.