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Since its introduction in late 2016, Imelda Eames has filled the role at Katoomba High supporting numerous students and parents through the various transitions of high school. 

Imelda’s role, which has been funded since 2017 by Scenic World’s philanthropic program, Scenic World Shared, has been a marked success. This is demonstrated in part by the strong increase in enrolment numbers, from 657 students enrolled in 2016, to a current enrolment of 920. 

A Community Liaison Officer’s role is to bridge the gap between school and community, to provide information and support on education related issues and for the facilitation of partnerships. Imelda describes the role as firstly being to support parents and carers through the high school years of their children. 

“High schools can be complicated places for people to know how to connect with and who to talk to and how to make that happen,” she said. 

“The strength of my role is that it gives people a starting point for connecting with the school that they wouldn’t otherwise have, to make something happen, initiate a project or arrange a meeting.” 

Imelda’s activities range from hosting a tea and coffee stand during parent teacher nights, connecting the school with community events such as a White Ribbon Day ceremony and the IDAHOT flag raising ceremony, facilitating partnerships between the school and local community organisations and strengthening the communication between families and school. 

When a school has a CLO position it gives greater scope for the whole community to be active and engaged in developing compassionate, resilient and holistic young people. Hosting the Community Hour Fair is one way Imelda has worked to engage the Blue Mountains community; an expo that includes organisations such as the RSPCA, RFS, Fire and Rescue, Rotary, Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group and MYST coming to the school to encourage students with volunteering opportunities. 

“Prior to my role being introduced, there just weren’t the resources available to coordinate as many events that build stronger connections between the school and community,” said Imelda. “The CLO role is one way a school can hear from parents and carers to be able to reflect their needs in a busy school environment. We know students have a more positive experience at school when parents are engaged and connected. I think every school would benefit from having a CLO.” 

Scenic World’s Managing Director Anthea Hammon congratulated Katoomba High School’s ongoing efforts to bring school and community ties closer together while also providing more opportunities for current students.