Hervey Bay Special School students were able to experience an on-campus library for the first time thanks to their teacher Nicola Nielsen.
Creating a library for the school from scratch is only the beginning of what Nicola, known by her colleagues as Nicci, has achieved during her time teaching at HBSS. The library was established because of Nicci’s work in researching management systems, choosing the most appropriate one and completing the relevant training alongside a teacher aide.
It is now a well-organised and exciting space that has been extremely beneficial for the abilities of teachers at the school, empowering them to find and use appropriate resources for their students.
With her skills in using AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) for non-verbal students and students requiring supported communication, Nicci was appointed as the school’s Literacy Coach.
Nicci worked tirelessly to model how to plan for, resource and deliver the Four Blocks approach with students with a diverse array of needs and abilities.
Through applying her deep knowledge of the Australian Curriculum, Nicci assisted teachers in understanding how to make this their learning and educational practice within their own classrooms.
Along with modelling the use of alternative writing instruments such as flipcharts, chunky keyboards, Pragmatic Organised Dynamic Display (PODD) and the iPad app Proloquo2Go, Nicci assists with assessment and demonstrates how to use appropriate resources for each of the Four Blocks.
Encouraging fellow teachers to reflect and set goals has led to a huge improvement in the consistent use of the Four Blocks technique across the whole school.
With technological advances ever-increasing, Nicci sensed a lack of understanding amongst her colleagues, and took it upon herself to build their capacity in Information Communication Technologies.
Nicci’s learning is constantly updating as well, and she recently attended a week-long International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communications (ISAAC) Conference where she further developed her knowledge and understanding of AAC.
“Nicci believes that every student is able to read and write and has committed herself to ensuring the Four Blocks approach is used with every student regardless of disability,” says nominator and colleague, Belinda McNeill.
“In her role as coach she ensures this research-based, school-wide approach is implemented with fidelity.”
Congratulations Nicci on your nomination.