During this year's celebration of Building Bridges, we have been spotlighting staff and area educators who are promoting accessibility and ensuring success for all learners.
In celebration of Better Speech and Hearing Month, the Building Bridges team selected a few Grant Wood AEA hearing staff to spotlight and asked each of them to share a success story, the importance of their work and why they 'help build bridges.'
"I help build bridges by providing access to communication, language and instruction. I also work to empower my students through self-awareness and self-advocacy.
Being a peer-role model and mentor, one of my students was able to teach another student how his hearing assistive technology works and why it is important for him to use it."
Kelly Story - Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing
"I help build bridges by connecting classroom content into hands-on activities for meaningful language. One of my students found school success in core ELA and science vocabulary by using dominos to demonstrate the transfer of energy."
Brooke Conrad - Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing
"I help build bridges by connecting students that are Deaf and hard of hearing with Deaf specific transition resources and opportunities as the look to gain independence and skills after they graduate. One of my students found success by meeting with the Deaf IVRS counselor and with their IEP team to learn more about options available to students as they transition out of high school. It has been a great learning experience to work alongside the DHH IVRS counselor and see the many options available to students with varying degrees of hearing loss."
Niki Boller - Audiologist
"I help build bridges by helping parents understand hearing test results and next steps."
Nonalee Gardner - Audiologist
"I help build bridges for deaf/hard of hearing students by helping to fix district owned amplification when it malfunctions and brainstorming solutions to difficulties our deaf/hard of hearing students encounter."
Kelly Varnum - Audiologist
"I build bridges by helping students and parents access the educational environment and letting them know that I am the person who is there for them, to listen, to speak with their teachers, to help problem solve and to care. Putting hearing assistive technology on him. I had a student that I found with a significant hearing loss and I helped get him hearing aids and then put hearing assistive technology on him. He was in kindergarten and when I saw him after he got amplification, he said with a big smile on his face, 'Miss Kelly, I can hear. I can hear the kids and I can hear the teacher.' I sometimes have kids from ages three through graduation, I get to know them and their families. I become part of their family. I have been invited to graduations from high school and college, weddings and occasional lunches to catch up with former students. I love seeing the wonder in kid's eyes when we put equipment on them that opens a new world and access to the learning environment."
Kim Lestina - Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing
"I help build bridges for students by empowering students with the how, why and what ifs …. leading the students to understand more about themselves and their success!
One of my students found success by realizing that she is indeed “The Boss of Her Hearing Loss” recognizing that self empowering, self advocacy, and self autonomy are platforms for her as an individual first and as an individual with a hearing loss second."