Marsden State High School English teacher Lauren Procter has made an impact at her school in various leadership roles and through the adoption of two major learning programs that influence her practice and those of her peers. Lauren supports the ‘Marsden Guarantee’ initiative started by the school to promote teaching as a profession to go into after high school and to support students in pursuing teaching degrees. Because of Lauren’s efforts in the ‘Marsden Guarantee’ program there are students now enrolled at university, the first in their family, inspired by Lauren to go into teaching. Very shortly they will be feeding back into their community as role models just like Lauren was for them.
Lauren makes use of AVID, an education program designed to enhance student aspiration, and the John Collins Writing Program designed by Harvard University to ensure students’ engagement in the writing process and their ability to respond through written work. She has been in contact with these institutes to help with implementation at her school and the results are encouraging, with students more fully engaged and performing at all levels. Lauren has also been leading a review of the Exceptional Learners Program (ELP), using these two programs, redesigning Years 7 to 10 in particular. This is to meet the needs of students and more fully meet the challenge of extending them. Lauren has mentored fellow teachers and run school professional development sessions in the implementation of these programs. Dr John Collins has noted that Lauren could teach his program better than he could. The teacher of 16 years has helped students achieve a high level of success: most notably there has been an increase in VHAs awarded. Lauren is also the Year 8 Coordinator, managing 22 peers teaching English to 500 students. Under her leadership the Year 8 cohort have improved their A-C results from 70 per cent in 2015 to 86 per cent in 2019. High Achievement is also on the rise in the cohort with 20 per cent achieving A-B in the same period. Lauren is Marsden’s Exceptional Learners Program (ELP) Coordinator, running the Professional Learning Community which completed consultation with staff and students. In this role she has built strong relationships with dozens of staff across all faculties in order to improve the culture of learning in the program. Lauren has instigated categories of awards and organised parades to recognise student achievement and encouraged parents to become engaged in these events. It is noted that the ELP program has increased the academic rigour of the students in it. Results across Years 7 to 10 in the faculties of Maths, Science, English and Humanities this past semester show 99.8 per cent of students scored A-C with 43 per cent scoring A and 47 per cent scoring B. She also builds positive relationships with students through extracurricular activities including two Opti-Minds teams, the Readers Cup team and running a tutorial for senior Basketball Excellence students who need support in their academic pursuits. Lauren’s practice and open classroom has proven an exemplar of excellence in practice, with other teachers observing her classroom, sometimes at short notice. Deputy Principal Michael Smith says Lauren’s greatest contribution is the impact she has had on early career teachers. “Currently, 100 per cent of the teachers she has mentored and supported remain in the profession. The noticeable growth in their confidence and practice under her guidance does not go unseen either,” Michael says. Congratulations Lauren on your nomination.