MITS provides young Indigenous people with a year-long program to enable them to transition into Melbourne schools while remaining culturally strong and connected with their families.
In late January each year our new students arrive in Melbourne with mum, dad or a guardian for our MITS Orientation program
Over four days students and families will travel to Melbourne to meet their new classmates and MITS staff. Students are welcomed to Wurundjeri Country by a local elder and will meet the staff at the Richmond Football Club. While students are forming new friendships and enjoying their first classes, MITS staff spend time with each parent to understand their wishes for their young person while they are away from home. At the end of the week parents return home and the students continue to settle into Melbourne.
The early weeks of the year are all about getting to know each other and Melbourne
Weekends are busy times, with visits to the Sorrento Couta Boat Sailing Club, Rick and Liz’s Farm, and a short camp late in Term 1. In the classroom, teachers get to know students and their individual learning styles and needs. Personal wellbeing is a particular focus in Term 1, with GP, audiology and optometry assessments for all students. At the end of Term 1 – as with every term – students return home for important time with family on country.
The first bounce of the footy season, the arrival of the cooler weather and academic extension in the classroom mark the start of Term 2
By Term 2 our students are starting to make great strides in the classroom, as their work becomes differentiated and more challenging. Most of our students choose to play AFL with Richmond Junior Football Club, with games each Sunday across Melbourne. A highlight of the Term is the AFL’s Indigenous Round, with MITS students hosting Richmond players at Lockington for a BBQ lunch ahead of Dreamtime at the ‘G.
At MITS, we call Term 3 “the Premiership Term”: students work hard in the classroom and boarding house to prepare for Partner School placements
We ask students and their parents for their preferences in a Partner School and ensure that we find the best school for each student to step into the following year. Late in the term students go on a one-week camp at Eildon, 2 hours’ drive from Melbourne, where they will kayak, hike, mountain bike and complete high ropes courses. We speak with each student and their family just before the end of Term 3 to recommend their Partner School for the following year.
This is the transition term, when students start to visit their new Partner Schools (and host families) and get to know their new school mates
Each student will visit their new Partner School several times, and students who will live with host families will visit their new family for meals and sleepovers. Our Annual Gala Dinner – which raises important funds for MITS – happens in early Term 4, with students welcoming MITS supporters for a night of celebration. In the classroom, the students will continue to work hard to ready themselves for their new Partner Schools.
It’s time to celebrate! Graduation is a special time for our students and their families as we reflect on all that the students have achieved during their Year with MITS
We organise for one family member of each student to travel to Melbourne for Graduation, and many families will arrange for additional family members to come to Melbourne too. In the days before Graduation, students and their families will visit their new Partner School together and also visit the home of their host family (where the student is going to live with a host family).
Our students' educational journeys continues as they begin studying at one of our Melbourne Partner Schools on a scholarship position. Students will live with a homestay family, in a Partner School boarding house or MITS boarding house. Our MITS Pathways Program works with students and their new school to make sure they are supported during this transition.
In Year 9, many Partner Schools have camps across Victoria, Australia, or even overseas! At some schools, students will spend a term or a year on a different school campus as they grow and learn. Students will also start to choose more subjects, pursing interests and passions.
This year many students will begin looking at work experience opportunities which match their own personal interests. Some students might also be looking to start a part-time job outside of school for some extra pocket money or even get their L-Plates and start to learn how to drive.
In Year 11, some students will begin the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). Many will also choose to undertake VCAL subjects, which offer you a more 'hands-on' approach to learning, and provide skills in areas such as trades. Some students may choose to pursue training or employment opportunities in Melbourne or return closer to home. MITS can help every student to pursue their ambitions, no matter which pathway they choose to follow.
The final year of high school is a very special time, with so much to be celebrated. Students will be studying hard to receive their Victorian Certificate of Education or trade qualifications, and will be deciding whether they wish to go to university, attend TAFE or enter the workforce after finishing school.
MITS is a recognised thought leader in Australian education and boarding.
Through our partnerships with the Richmond Football Club, Partner Schools and community organisations in Melbourne and with remote Top End and regional Victorian communities, we seek to have an impact beyond the 22 young people who come to MITS each year.
We work closely with other leaders in Indigenous education and regularly consult to other organisations and present at thought leadership forums.