Congratulations to Taryn Riles, from Boorowa Central School, in New South Wales who is the 2020 Australian Teacher Aide of the Year.
Taryn was one of eight state finalists in the running for the award. Read about Taryn’s positive impact on student learning and wellbeing at Boorowa Central School.
Australian Teacher Aide of the Year
Boorowa Central School, NSW
Nominated by: Graham Jones, Principal
Taryn Riles, a school learning and support officer (SLSO) at Boorowa Central School, is the 2020 Australian Teacher Aide of the Year.
Graham Jones, principal, said that Taryn has been a full time SLSO at the school for five years, and that her influence and leadership runs far, wide and deep. She is an outstanding SLSO, is fantastic in the classroom supporting students with additional needs, and also delivers the school’s Stronger Smarter wellbeing program to all students from Kindergarten to Year 10.
Taryn, a qualified Stronger Smarter Facilitator, delivers lessons aimed at building High Expectation Relationships, resilience, and resourcefulness. All students have the opportunity to engage with Taryn through her Stronger Smarter lessons. She caters these lessons to ensure the message is clear and appropriate for all ages and abilities, by co-creating and having emotional bank accounts with all students. The students thoroughly enjoy the lessons as it is an opportunity once a week to stop, reflect and share in a safe and caring environment.
Taryn also regularly co-facilitates leadership training in the region to Principals, Executive and Teaching staff, and Community members, for the Stronger Smarter Institute.
Taryn has developed strong relationships with all the students at Boorowa Central School through her excellent interpersonal skills, empathy and knowledge of students' backgrounds. Her one on one support of students with additional needs is outstanding. She regularly liaises with teaching staff regarding adjustments and differentiation requirements and often contributes to the creation and collation of resources for these students. She is particularly successful with students with ASD, as her calm, positive and predictable support has contributed to deescalating agitated students, and finding solutions through goal setting and positive mindsets.
Taryn is the current coordinator of the Breakfast club in secondary school and has been a driving force of this initiative since its inception. She is passionate about ensuring all students have their basic needs met to ensure engagement in the classroom.
Taryn is the Staff Wellbeing coordinator and mentors new SLSOs. She treats all students and staff in such a way that they feel valued and cared for, and has implemented many staff wellbeing initiatives whilst in the role. Taryn sends weekly emails aimed at raising morale. She also implemented the school’s ‘Positive Pockets’ to recognise colleagues for the fantastic things they do. This initiative has been successful at raising and sustaining high levels of positivity within the staff body. Taryn also implemented the school’s Staff ‘Buzz’ award. Each week, staff nominate a staff member who has gone ‘above and beyond’, and the winner is recognised on the school Facebook page, and read to the staff in recognition of their efforts. Taryn’s hard work has contributed to a unified staffroom for all staff.
During the COVID-19 Learning from Home phase, Taryn collaborated with colleagues and the community. Her intimate knowledge of the community, excellent interpersonal skills and highly developed organisational skills facilitated the effective communication between the SLSOs and teaching staff (all working from home) to create and produce hard copy resource packs for all students K-6 and for selected students in Secondary.
Taryn is a lifelong learner, and committed to professional learning. She has completed training in the Stronger Smarter Leadership Program, Management of Actual and Potential Aggression (MAPA), Youth Mental Health First Aid, and Building School leadership in Aboriginal Education.
Congratulations Taryn on your exceptional achievements!