Innovation and use of ICT in teaching is what made Othaya Girls Principal Jane Waceke scoop the 2019 Principal of the Year Award (Poya).
She was announced as the winner during the Kenya Secondary School Heads conference in Mombasa that ended on Friday.
In Karatina, she was welcomed by her family and friends, who had her tour the town showcasing her award.
She was then met by her colleagues and students at Gatitu where they made a procession in her honour to Nyeri County Education offices before proceeding to Othaya for a school mass.
The regional and county directors of education and officials from the Teachers’ Service Commission congratulated her.
“I stood out due to innovation, where we have been able to integrate ICT in teaching and learning and we are able to even teach other schools from a remote centre in Othaya Girls,” Ms Waceke says.
The 48-year-old introduced the double digit focus where several schools sync timetables to share ideas. “Buruburu Girls, Kanjuri Boys, South Tetu Girls, Othaya Boys, Tumu Tumu Girls Secondary Schools are in our league, which we call the double digit focus. We have a common timetable,” she said.
“We are aspiring to go to 10 plus in our mean score. We are using zoom technology, which is like video conferencing, where the learners are able to interact and learn from each other,” she added.
The school library has an e-learning section. “It’s a virtual class where students can see each other from their screens, they ask and answer questions,” Ms Waceke said. “They can also use the laboratories and libraries to get assistance from peers and teachers,” she added.
Ms Waceke prides herself in the team work she has built in the school. She introduced a team teaching system, which comes in handy with conveyor marking, where students benefit from all the teachers of a particular subject.
“We have departmental weeks where we do a lot of work on a particular subject. Our students also carry a pocket solution, which is a problem that they identify in the morning and must find a solution by evening,” she said.
The school has income-generation projects, which help reduce the cost of food. “I joined in 2016 and started rearing pigs so the girls can enjoy pork. We also do dairy farming, grow vegetables and bananas,” she added.
Ms Waceke’s administration has a friendly relationship with the students as they even hold birthday parties for the learners.
“We hold birthday parties every term for the girls. We have school families headed by a teacher, non-teaching staff and the patron is a board member,” she said.
The Poya award winner said she would use the money to pay school fees for the needy in her school.
“I have asked teachers to identify needy students in each class. I will use every shilling to ensure they are taken care of,” she said.
She appealed to well-wishers to help her complete a stalled dormitory project that would benefit the high number of students due to the 100 per cent transition.
“Due to the transition, our schools’ enrolment has increased drastically from 699 in 2016 to 1,080. This has strained our facilities. We appeal to well-wishers to help us complete the stalled dormitory,” she said.