Defence School Mentor

Defence School Mentor (DSM)

Maribyrnong Primary School has a growing number of defence families enrolled as part of its school community.  To support these families Maribyrnong is fortunate to have a Defence School Mentor (DSM).

The DSM program provides support to children of Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families, particularly during their transition into and out of a school on a posting.  The program aims to assist in the smooth transition of mobile ADF children from school to school.

Why do we have a DSM?
The DSM assists children and parents to quickly become part of the school community.  They provide information about the school, provide a link between families and the school community and provide support to children during parental absence due to deployment.

People respond differently to relocation and change.  Some make a positive transition into a new school while others may experience difficulties.  These difficulties for students may be evident in changes in behavior, loss of self-esteem or diminished academic performance.  The DSM works alongside classroom teachers to monitor the transition of both new and leaving students and to provide assistance to support the social, emotional and academic wellbeing of students.

What does a DSM do?

A DSM is not a teacher.  They are a member of the school team.

Some of the support a DSM can provide may be:

  • Welcoming new defence families to the school and support students to settle into the school community
  • Support defence students to make friends
  • Support defence students in class
  • Create links to Defence Community Organisation (DCO) support
  • Provide relevant information to defence families
  • Support defence students at times of deployment
  • Farewell defence families and students from the school and support them in their transition to a new school

What does this involve?

Some of the following activities may assist the DSTA to support families in our community.

  • Hosting social events for defence families to help them become a part of our school community
  • Assist new families to become connected through school activities
  • Provide classroom teachers with support and information to assist defence students
  • Provide support in class and individually to defence students where needed
  • Provide regular with defence families to assist in keeping them up to date with school activities
  • Provide a friendly, supportive point of contact for students and families

How can ADF families assist the DSM?

There are lots of ways that families can work in partnership with the school and the DSM.

Some ideas are:

  • Contact the DSM when a family member is deployed
  • Advise the DSM if you feel that your child is experiencing difficulties
  • Notify the school administration of your ADF service when enrolling a child
  • Notify the DSM of posting location and leaving date to ensure school reports, records and other important documents/information may be collected

How can the school community assist the DSM?

The school community plays a very important part in welcoming ADF families to our community.

You can assist the DSM by:

  • Advising the DSM of community events, celebrations, functions and sports that might enable ADF members to participate in the community with greater ease

How do I contact the DSM?

You can contact Jackie, our DSM, in person on Tuesday or Friday mornings, via email jacqueline.sampson@ed.act.edu.au or by phoning the front office on 6205 5933.