Rachel in the running to be named top teacher aide
A Monaro High Student Learning Support Officer will vie for the title of 2023 Australian Teacher Aide of the Year.
21 August 2023
A Monaro High School Student Learning Support Officer is in the running to be named Australia’s best teacher aide.
Rachel Hawkins is the NSW individual finalist in the Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Awards.
The awards are an opportunity for schools to showcase the outstanding work of their teacher aides and recognise their positive impact on student learning and wellbeing.
Ms Hawkins was nominated by Nathan Schubert, Monaro High’s Head Teacher of Supported Education (Special Education).
“Rachel’s unwavering commitment to SLSO (Student Learning Support Officer) development and continued growth of the entire SLSO team, with an absolute focus on improving student outcomes, is remarkable,” he said.
“Her commitment to both students and staff is continuous, her enthusiasm for improvement is relentless and she drives everyone to be better each day.”
Mr Schubert said Ms Hawkins had helped improve student learning and wellbeing outcomes by leading the development of a consistent approach to supporting student independence.
“We identified that some of our students had significant reliance on SLSO support and were not improving independently. We then set a goal to improve learning and wellbeing, and reduce independence on staff,” he said.
“In collaboration with other staff, Rachel researched and developed a plan targeting student agency and high expectations and provided professional development opportunities to other SLSOs to build an understanding of what independence looked like.
“It gave us a clear framework to work from and, within one school term, student independence and behaviour at Monaro High improved and attendance increased.”
Ms Hawkins also worked to improve induction training and support for SLSOs at Monaro High and mentors other support staff at the school.
Denison College – Kelso High Campus SLSO Hilary Windsor received a Highly Commended award for her work with students in literacy and numeracy.
Nathan Kenny, Deputy Principal Inclusion and Support at Denison College – Kelso Campus, said the school had seen significant progress in the students Ms Windsor was supporting.
“Hilary has a significant impact on student learning outcomes, and the average growth of students who participate in QuickSmart (a numeracy and literacy program) is more than double that of other students,” he said.
The 2023 Australian Teacher Aide of the Year and 2023 Australian Teacher Aide Team of the Year will be announced on Thursday 31 August during Australia Teacher Aide Appreciation Week.