To be by your peers as “Outstanding” in your field in all of Victoria is truly an honour. Below are the 2022 Winners for each category
Most Outstanding Volunteer Award
Congratulations Aileen Clear, Bendigo SDS
Volunteers are a rare, but precious commodity within our school communities, in which “Auntie Aileen” exemplifies. Our volunteers often have an unquantifiable impact on those around them and this certainly goes for Aileen. Aileen is always available to support the teachers, education support and speech pathologists in any way she can. She always brings a bright and positive attitude, with enthusiasm and humour that makes an immeasurable difference to everyone’s day. Aileen is passionate about supporting the communication needs of the students, especially in developing resources such as PODD books, and is unrelenting until everything is complete and the students have what they need.
Most Outstanding Education Support Award
Congratulations Kelly Patrick Field, Warringa Park School
Kelly has actively and successfully promoted mindfulness in our wider school community (families, students and staff at all three of the Warringa Park campuses, leaders at principal/network forums).
The SRC’s win for member statement to the parliament urging the Victorian Government to make mindfulness a part of every school and government organisation is a testament to the success of the work that Kelly has done as a mindfulness champion of the school. Her morning mindfulness sessions draws many members of our staff community together and her virtual session for families has taken mindfulness to the homes of many of our students. The benefits of classroom programs and its positive impact on student readiness to learn has been noted at all campuses.
Most Outstanding Graduate Award
Congratulations Rebecca Morse, Waratah SDS
Rebecca’s nomination shows a deep commitment to her students and their families. It demonstrates the positive impact she has had on improving student attendance leading to improved student learning outcomes and the re-engagement of families with the school and their child’s learning. As a graduate teacher Rebecca exemplifies the importance of teacher and school connectedness with students, their families and the wider community. Her contribution to Special Education has reached beyond her role as a graduate teacher highlighting her approach to wellbeing for those students with a significant intellectual disability.
Most Outstanding Specialist Teacher Award
Congratulations Lucas Denton, Echuca Twin Rivers School
Lucas models the ability to be responsive in his teaching practice and has been able to impact student outcomes across Echuca Twin Rivers School by observing and responding to the needs of staff and students and utilising surveys and face to face meetings.
Lucas has ensured he is on the right track with his programs. Lucas has also been able to develop inclusive practices across his school and local mainstream schools creating opportunities for students to participate in sporting activities across the settings.
Lucas looks beyond his own classroom and school to increase opportunities and support for all students.
Most Outstanding Allied Health Award
Congratulations Monika Michaelidis, Melton Specialist School
Monika’s research and hard work has enabled Melton Specialist School to have a creative and unique approach to improving attendance, wellbeing and engagement.
Melton’s wellbeing dog, “Bunji”, can work across all levels and class groups and Monika has shared the positive “Bunji” outcome with neighbouring Specialist Schools. Monika has also provided support to neighbouring schools to access funding, grants and specific training.
Melton’s students have been included and encouraged to have input into Bunji’s training and presence in our school environment, and he is now able to move easily, inclusively and safely amongst all our student population Monika has gone beyond the scope of just work hours.
Most Outstanding Team Award
Congratulations Naranga School
The work of the Naranga Therapy team provides a first-class example of how to add value to multiple school priorities through strategies that maximise the input of therapists in special schools. Specifically, the implementation of the enteroception curriculum, ROCC assessment tool, managing sexualised behaviours PD and therapeutic consultation model has given teachers explicit strategies to support student emotional regulation, communication and complex behaviours. Additionally, the team designed a model to improve the quality and quantity of collaboration between teachers and therapists. A referral system supported by scheduled secondary consultation, on demand intensive consultation and weekly Intervention Design meetings has proven to be responsive and popular with teachers. All the work of the team took on additional importance this year with the implementation of year 1 Disability Inclusion reforms at Naranga. The programs and consultative models introduced by the team provided valuable evidence for revised IEPs, SSGs and ultimately the Disability Inclusion Profiles completed this year. The work of the team provided strong specialist consultation to inform substantial and extensive adjustments to student learning programs.
Most Outstanding Teacher Award
Congratulations Krysten Vaughan, Waratah SDS
Krysten is a passionate classroom teacher who has long been a champion for students with high support needs and behaviours of concern. Always looking for innovative ways to meet IEP goals, Krysten has worked in conjunction Farm Raiser to establish a high quality work experience program for these students.
Krysten has worked alongside Farm Raiser to ensure that the infrastructure needed for the program’s longevity has been built. This will enable students to continue to participate in authentic work tasks on the farm and in the community, increasing work skills, self esteem, social skills and resilience
Most Outstanding Middle Leader Award
Congratulations Jamie Polich, Melton Specialist School
Within this category staff are expected to promote or influence continuous improvement within the school. Jamie’s goal for 2022 was to improve the attendance, wellbeing and engagement of our First Nation students at MSS and to build a sense of belonging for our whole community. To embed an Indigenous perspective across our school curriculum so all staff are empowered to recognise and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures.
Jamie embraced many opportunities to learn about Aboriginal people through yarning with Elders, community members, LAECG, Koorie Education Workforce, Koorie students and families. Jamie actively, with the support of the leadership team at Melton Specialist School, was able to make a cultural inclusive safe space for the school community.
Thanks to Jamie this has been demonstrated continuously within the school, within its curriculum, new buildings, artwork, meetings, uniform, parent engagement, student engagement and the ongoing learning for teachers within the school.
Most Outstanding Assistant Principal Award
Congratulations Lara Pearce, Kalianna School
Lara led a team to codesign an internal referral process based on the tired intervention framework for identified students at risk.
She led the team to use multiple data sources to recommend adjustments/interventions to support class teachers and students. Kalianna school has seen improved attendance and engagement, and a reduction in behaviours of concern as a result. Lara recruited additional support from the regional office staff who are an integral part of the team.
This model has been recognised by the region as outstanding and has been recommended to other specialist schools. Lara has presented this model at specialist school’s networks and principal meetings. Lara is currently establishing a Community of Practice with the specialist schools in the Loddon Mallee Regional Network