EXCELLENCE IN BEGINNING TO TEACH
Dance student numbers have tripled in just two years under a tireless, “stand-out” early career teacher who is linking her pupils with dance companies, interstate experiences and future career pathways.
Students are also now choosing to attend Marsden State High School (MSHS) as a result of its dance program, which is providing incredible opportunities for its pupils.
Kate Kennedy took on the enormously challenging role of MSHS Dance Excellence Coordinator in her very first semester as a teacher, and since then she and her students have thrived. Teachers from other faculty areas have also been inspired to teach extra dance and cheerleading groups under Kate’s leadership, which has served to further expand the popular program.
MSHS Deputy Principal Michael Smith says the growth of the Dance program from 40 students to 120 students over two years is a direct result of Kate’s outstanding leadership.
Along with preparing students for, and coordinating, countless local, state and national dance performances, Kate has organised excursions and tours, Q&A sessions, and workshops and choreography competitions, with Dance industry companies including: RAW Dance Company, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Bloodline Dance Company, Hy-Fidelity Dance, Gold Coast Salsa and Mad Dance House.
“The work involved not just in training but in the organisation of getting students to such events, is huge. Kate has worked assisting students to raise funds to limit the personal cost for students through getting them to participate in fundraising opportunities such as barbeque sausage sizzles and carwashes,” Michael said.
Two of Kate’s students who she mentored last year were accepted into the highly competitive Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) at QUT this year.
Kate introduced the subject of General Dance and currently teaches the Year 11 and 12 students. She has undertaken a plethora of professional development herself, including university courses and undertaking the Aspiring Leader’s Program.
She’s also led the implementation of athletic development for Dance Excellence students, has mentored other beginning teachers and preservice teachers, organised professional photography for students to use in auditioning and marketing, and liaised with a school-based psychologist for team-building activities.
She has introduced new, and reassessed existing, Dance Curriculum, to ensure it is offering students a chance to study and perform in a wide array of genres, and to experience real-world opportunities.
“The school community also recognises the work Kate has undertaken,” Michael says.
Through Marsden’s comprehensive nomination process for the TEACHX Awards, Kate was nominated by staff and students in the following categories, indicating the broad nature of recognition Kate has built in her short time at Marsden: Excellence in Beginning to Teach; Excellence in Teaching; Excellence in Contribution to School Community; and Excellence in Leadership in Teaching and Learning,” he says.
“Kate’s next challenge is obviously beginning to ready herself for her next career stage as a Head of Department or High Achieving Teacher (HAT). To this end, Kate has involved herself in Marsden’s professional learning opportunities such as: Arts Shadow Head of Department in Semester 2, 2020; Staff Professional Learning Committee Cycle Leader, 2020; creating personalised programs to support students individual determination; and attending a HAT program and working with senior staff and Griffith University to build her compacity around the AITSL HAT standards.”
Congratulations Kate on being shortlisted for a TEACHX Excellence in Beginning to Teach Award.