The school is fortunate to have Defence School Mentor (DSM) on staff to assist Australian Defence Force (ADF)
Correna has been the DSTA at The Willows State School for 10 years,
in that time has acquired a wealth of experience and knowledge in the role.
Correna has assisted with many Defence children and families at the school when
they seek or require assistance.
Within the school community the DSM provides assistance to Defence students and their families, and raises awareness of unique needs of these families due to the military lifestyle. A DSM is a liason between parents, teachers and students at school. It is not intended that the DSM work with one
child on a long term basis.
Mobility has been identified as a key issue impacting upon
our students. Approximately 20% of our school students are from Defence Force
families and many others come from families working in occupations requiring
relocations. Every year approximately 30% of our Defence students are posted
out which can have a huge impact on young children.
The DSM and school have introduced a range of programs to
support Defence families and students and to address issues relating to
disruption to learning, curriculum differences and social and emotional
Programs and Activities
Anzac and Remembrance Day Ceremony
KIDSMART Relocation/Deployment Program
Kids Club - everyday (first & second break) L Pod
Art for Anzac Day Competition
Colouring- In Competitions for Prep-Year 2 and Year 3-6 Program
“Friendship Book for kids on the Move”
Welcome and Farewell Packs for each student
Defence Students Welcome and Farewell Party
Lunch Break organized craft and activities in Defence Room
Defence News Update in school newsletter
Year 6 Defence Students farewell school Party
Defence members visit to school
Students can write a letter to deployed parent sent by e-mail
Organized excursion for upper year level defence students, when suitable
While results show ongoing needs with some groups,
intervention and support programs have led to improved individual standards if
the students remain at the school with a supported network for a sufficient
period of time.
Why do we have DSM's in school?
Defence School Mentors are positioned in schools across
Australia to provide support to the children of mobile families. Sometimes
children have difficulties making new friends, understanding and adjusting to
the different routines and ways in the new school. The DSM will liase with the
children and family to become part of the school community more quickly. They will
answer questions from families about the school and can link families with the
support organizations to provide appropriate assistance.
What does a DSM do?
A DSM position is funded by defence but are employed by the
local state or tertiary department of education. Like a teacher’s aide but they
are employed to assist families as they relocate to a new school. The aide’s
Assisting children and families to integrate into the new school and local community
Coordinating Welcome and Farewell activities for relocating families
Monitoring the social, emotional and academic wellbeing of defence students
Helping students develop self-confidence, self-reliance and resilience
Directing students to programs, services or opportunities that suit their needs
Enhancing awareness and appreciation of the unique defence lifestyle in schools and communities
Providing support to children/ families during times of parental absence due to deployment, training and courses
Be a point of contact for defence families in new school
For more information on the Defence School Mentor Program and support programs for children of ADF families in the school, the school office on (07) 4799 1333 Monday to Friday 8:00am-4:00pm
Defence Community Organisation
The Defence Community Organisation (DCO) works closely with the DSM and other school staff to assist defence families in the Townsville area. DCO provides a range of professional services for defence members and their families. For further information, call: DCO Defence Family Helpline 1800 624 608 This service is available 24 hours.