Student academic results, school pride, staff satisfaction and enrolments all increased under an inspirational central Queensland acting principal, who is a finalist in state teaching awards.
After 11 years as a teacher and curriculum leader at Blackwater State School (BSS), Megan Rauchle took on the acting principal role in 2016 and helped transform her school community.
Focusing on school improvement using a collaborative approach, Mrs Rauchle identified her staff’s strengths and facilitated leadership opportunities for them.
“I’m a very relational person,” Mrs Rauchle said. “My big ticket item is always making sure my staff are building their capacity to do well and are successful in what they want to do in their careers. Anything that I can do for my staff is something that I know will also bring benefits to the school and the kids.”
As she worked on building trust with teachers, Mrs Rauchle also ensured they were supported with teacher aides in every classroom. Teachers took on individual research projects and a whole-school data wall was used to track the writing journey of students.
Adult-supported ‘Fly-in Fly-out’ reading groups were boosted to help students, and Mrs Rauchle started ensuring the hashtag #Weyproud, which reflected the school’s position on Wey St in Blackwater, was used meaningfully and often. The school community’s growing pride started to become evident at community events.
Under the new school focus — narrowed after a Priority School Review — the proportion of students achieving an A-C jumped from 56 to 87 per cent in English over 18 months, and increased by 19 per cent in Mathematics. Indigenous students recorded a 32 per cent increase in English and a 34 per cent increase in Mathematics over the same time period.
Enrolments also grew; there was a 60 per cent jump in Prep enrolments in 2018 alone.
Staff satisfaction ratings improved significantly as well — 100 per cent of school staff said in the 2017 Schools Opinion Survey that they enjoyed working at BSS and felt supported.
BSS’s success under Mrs Rauchle is just one of the reasons she is a finalist for the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) Excellent Leadership in Teaching and Learning Award.
The now Emerald North State School acting principal said she enjoyed working with students and communities, “knowing that you can do your bit for everyone”.
“Every kid needs a champion,” Mrs Rauchle said.