Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology
Record-breaking academic results, a virtual middle school for some of the state’s brightest young minds and unprecedented opportunities for girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are just some of the achievements and initiatives Kath Kayrooz has made possible.
The Queensland Academies – Science, Mathematics and Technology (QASMT) Campus Principal is a joint winner of this year’s Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) Outstanding Contribution to Teaching Award. QASMT is one of three Queensland academies, where gifted senior students are chosen to study under the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program.
Ms Kayrooz’s focus on school improvement, and her conviction that improved teaching is the key to improved student learning, is behind a culture of excellence at the academy.
“I have a coach, all of my executive team have a coach, my heads of department have coaches and our teachers coach each other, so that is something I am very, very proud of,” Ms Kayrooz said.
“Our culture is that we are all learners and that we all learn from each other and the best way to do that is through collaboration. This allows our teachers to grow professionally and become the very best teachers, but it also allows our students to grow,” she said.
Her innovative approaches, including using past graduate students to tutor current pupils, is helping students excel.
Last year’s QASMT Year 12s achieved the highest-ever IB diploma results for students graduating from the academy, with five achieving the highest international score of 45. An IB score of 40 or above is equivalent to an OP 1 in Queensland.
“I do equate our five 45s last year with our peer tutoring program,” she said.
This year Ms Kayrooz hosted Queensland’s first ever STEM Girls Power camp, where Year 10 students from across the state participated in the World Science Festival. Participants were partnered with female QASMT students and are receiving ongoing mentoring.
Under Ms Kayrooz’s leadership, the Academies now offer a range of programs for gifted Years 5 to 9 pupils, which have been likened to a “unique model of virtual middle schooling”.
Earlier this year Ms Kayrooz was awarded the Department of Education and Training International Women’s Day Award and an Australian Council for Educational Leaders Queensland Fellowship. QCT Director John Ryan thanked Ms Kayrooz for her outstanding leadership and commitment not just to student development, but also to that of her staff.