Spotlight on Wunan Staff – Bev Russ
30 September 2013
Bev Russ joined Wunan on July 29th 2013. In her role as Parental Advocate she is striving to build and strengthen the capacity Aboriginal parents to engage confidently in the education of their children leading to improved attendance, social, emotional and academic outcomes. Bev is based at the Parent Room located at the Kununurra District High School where parent/teacher interviews and informal chats can take place, parents can participate in group activities as well as individual sessions. The focus is on the early years of schooling.
Bev is a descendant of the Kitja people of Halls Creek, and has lived in the Kimberley for most of her life. She spent her early years on Gibb River Station, starting her education through the School Of the Air, and was then sent away by her parents to a private boarding school in the south of WA.
Bev believes strongly that education and determination are the tools to achieving your full potential, breaking down barriers and opening the door to unlimited opportunities. She has worked in the education field for many years, with both children and adults. Bev graduated from university with a BA (Social Sciences) in the early1980’s and after working in various jobs went on to achieving her teaching qualification in 1990. Prior to joining Wunan Bev worked with the Kimberley Community Legal Services and with the Follow The Dream Program at Kununurra District High School.
Since coordinating the Parent Room, Bev’s goal is to build and strengthen relationships between parents and teachers and to empower parents to make informed decisions relating to their child’s education. She has worked with the Pindan Stepping Stone Centre to help with Kindy 2014 enrolments, supported a target group of parents at Pindan and at Kununurra District High School to develop their confidence to talk to the classroom teachers. A key focus has been to work closely with parents to develop their own strategies of how they can best support their children to do well.
Bev is working closely with DCP Parent Support to engage parents in a weekly group information session relating to the early childhood years, as well has having activities chosen by the parents such as painting, craft, music,watching movies. Structured play activities for the kids attending with their parents is also provided to model to parents appropriate age level activities. The main aim of these sessions are to make parents feel comfortable when visiting the school and providing an opportunities for them to see their children interacting in the school environment.
Bev sees the ‘hands on’ involvement of parents in the education of their kids as critical in achieving positive long term outcomes. Further exposing parents to the impact of education on their kids encourages them to create an appropriate and safe environment at home.