Cape York Aboriginal Academy Teams with NIFDI to Develop Internal Capacities
By Jane F. Carter, PhD.
At a time when many schools are looking for quick fixes for student performance, the Cape York Australian Aboriginal Academy (CYAAA) schools, located in the far northern part of the country, stand out as shining exceptions. This organization, developed for the specific mission of serving underserved Aboriginal populations, has dedicated itself to achieving excellence by using Direct Instruction (DI) in its four schools.
Three years ago, CYAAA embarked on a unique mission to develop an exceptional teaching force able to implement the rigorous DI programs with fidelity on all four of their campuses. The National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI) has been their partner from the beginning. Through years of intensive training provided by NIFDI, a passion for DI has been established in these schools and a teaching staff dedicated to fidelity of the programs is growing strong.
With NIFDI’s assistance, the leadership at CYAAA has also increased internal capacity to sustain rigorous training and support using their own teacher-leaders. In Australia, the need for building capacity is particularly important because of the remote location for a couple of reasons. First, there aren’t coaches nearby. The nearest coach is in Melbourne – thousands of miles away. Second, living and working in remote communities results in a high rate of teacher turnover (with, of course, the exception of a very small minority who find it their calling and have the mission engrained in who they are and what they do.) Without local capacity, schools would be perpetually dependent on NIFDI or other support providers, which can eventually become cost prohibitive.