Bribie Island State High School
In her five years of service as an educator, Tara Towns has made a significant impact in her school community.
She has developed a vast repertoire of teaching strategies to cater for the different levels of learners in all her English classes.
Through her knowledge of Project Based Learning, she developed a Grade 7 poetry unit that saw an 86 per cent improvement in academic performance and similar units are now being developed for other grades.
Tara has set a high benchmark of academic expectation that her English students strive to meet.
She is also a literacy coach, working closely with school staff to integrate and develop new literacy strategies to maximise student learning.
Tara has also started and run numerous extra-curricular literacy programs at Bribie Island State High School – including six debating teams, a competing public speaking team, a literature club, a creative writing club and a ‘Nerd Club’, engaging students who have niche interests in pop culture texts.
The weekly Nerd Club involves over 90 students ranging from Year 7 to Year 12 who have formed lasting friendships while bonding over their ‘nerdy’ passions which include debates about ‘Superman Vs. Batman’ and ‘Which is the best Hogwarts House?’.
“It’s so popular because it fills a niche for a lot of students who often don’t have a place at high school,” says Tara.
“The other great thing about it is that students are engaging with literacy without even knowing.”
English Head of Department Kirsty Leishman says Tara is an exceptional teacher who exhibits sincerity.
“Her participation in extra-curricular activities exceeds that of any other member of the school community,” Ms Leishman says.
“Students participating in these activities have also exceeded past achievements by the school.”
Tara is well respected among her students, colleagues and the wider school community.
Congratulations Tara on your nomination.
Written by Mark Zita