Gabrielle Milne, a beginning teacher at Nursery Road State Special School, has demonstrated skills and excellence of practice not ordinarily seen in a teacher in the first few years of their career.
Gabrielle’s students, many of whom have severe intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder, experience a highly engaging and student-centred approach to learning. Gabrielle works hard to develop appropriately individualised learning goals for each of her students, and works with her colleagues to plan units of work that are in line with the school’s focus on communication, literacy and personal and social capabilities.
To ensure she is as effective as she can be in the classroom, Gabrielle works closely with the school’s therapy team to strengthen her understanding of her students and works closely with therapists to identify avenues to better support each individual student’s complex learning needs. Gabrielle also engages in professional development and research to improve her practice, and has taken courses on Universal Design for Learning and Positive Behaviour in Learning. She has implemented strategies in her own classroom and has also supported others to better support their students’ needs.
One example of the way Gabrielle has used her own research is through her development of a “Tell it Again” program with other junior school staff and the school’s Speech Language Pathologist. This program, which focuses on students’ ability to understand elements of a story, has yielded wonderful results and a number of students have experienced voice and literacy improvements as a result. Gabrielle presented this work to a conference of therapists and educators this year.
In recognising the importance of parental engagement, Gabrielle has incorporated the use of an application which increases parental engagement and supports open communication between home and school. As many of her students are non-verbal, the app takes photographs and videos of students to ensure parents and carers have a detailed understanding of their child’s school day.
Gabrielle has had few challenges in her career that have not been worked through by her ability to work collegially or through reflection and feedback. At this stage of her career, Gabrielle has demonstrated maturity beyond her years.
Congratulations Gabrielle on your nomination.