Every student in Vanessa Hill’s Aspley Special School Year 11 class has a post-school pathway mapped out for them, leading them to either paid employment, work experience, or accessing various service programs. The “fantastic advocate for her students” has created positive partnerships with external stakeholders and service providers to benefit the Year 11s. She has also set up parent and carer information sessions with these organisations to help families and their children. Each of Vanessa’s students has accessed Community Based Instruction activities to prepare them for post-school life.
Aspley Special School Head of Department Kath McDonald says once students have been in Vanessa’s class they, or their parents, often request that Vanessa continues to be their teacher after the school year ends. “Vanessa has created extremely positive relationships with students, parents and colleagues,” Kath says. “She is a respected teacher to her colleagues and is often approached for ideas and support, due to her innovative and thoughtful approach.” Vanessa has students with intellectual disabilities, physical impairments and autism spectrum disorder in her class and has redesigned her classroom to allow students to better self-regulate their behaviour so that they are ready to learn. “By creating a classroom that is safe and supportive, Vanessa has a great rapport with her students and ensures that all students are participating in learning,” Kath says. “The learning in Vanessa's class is always engaging and valuable for her students and their abilities,” she says. Vanessa’s introduction of the SeeSaw app to capture Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement information, and boost parent communication, has led to its schoolwide use and a unique partnership—including the sharing of resources— with a local special school on a similar journey with the app. Vanessa has also led the implementation of realigning a student’s Planning Alternate Tomorrow’s with Hope (PATH) with the student’s Senior Education and Training (SET) plan and Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement goals in Year 11 and 12. “The best contribution Vanessa has made this year is around her ability to realign the Senior Secondary school priorities to ensure student learning is individualised and relevant,” Kath says. Congratulations Vanessa on your achievement.