Since 2015 Sandra Aleman has been supporting students, teachers and families at Coolangatta State School as Special Education teacher.
This year she has led the introduction of the Zones of Regulation to support all students and staff in social and emotional learning and wellbeing.
In addition to catering for the complexities of ASD students and those with a high level of anxiety, she has helped a cerebral palsy student and a Down syndrome student by researching best practice and adapting her pedagogy to meet the school context.
“She has transformed practices at the school to an inclusive, personalised, holistic model where all students are supported,” principal Sharyn Mahony said.
Utilising the Australian Curriculum, Literacy continuum and the school pedagogical frameworks, Sandra develops personalised learning plans. She also develops behaviour plans and risk assessment plans as needed and uses One School to record all assessments and progress.
Sandra has implemented systems to support students with anxiety and behaviour needs by providing places of supervised retreat, suitable seating and personalised tool boxes, with strategies to assist students to calm, settle and focus, including the use of earphones, fidget toys and visual cues.
This has led to happier, calmer children who are readier to learn and be more engaged, and this in turn has meant less class disruption.
“These strategies have resulted in a cultural mind-shift in the understanding of inclusivity and the needs of some learners and has been embraced by teachers and students,” Sharyn said.
Sandra also leads the Student Welfare Action Team (SWAT) and works together with the team, class teachers, parents, the principal, guidance officer and chaplain to prioritise all student needs.
She works with all stakeholders to write and submit verifications, Education Adjustment Program (EAP) profiles and AIMS records, as well as individualised learning or behaviour plans.
“She values each child for the person they are, builds on their strengths and encourages and supports them to grow as a learner, and celebrates their achievements. She has the passion and drive to do whatever it takes for students who require additional support services to feel safe and happy and engaged at school,” Sharyn explained.
Congratulations Sandra on your nomination.