Student Nomination Story

Our son has attended Jerry Whitehead for 4 years (K - 3rd grade). He has high functioning autism and spent the bulk of his academic years in a strategies class per his IEP. Recognizing the need to provide him more opportunities to progress with his age-matched peers, we advocated for him to be more in the Gen Ed classroom (85% time) vs Strategies. Mrs. Hiatt was a phenomenal instructor for our son this school year (2021-2022), and it was a situation that wasn't without it's challenges. Cooper tends to be easily distracted, prone to move randomly about the classroom, not listen consistently and not comply with instruction. Mrs. Hiatt was exceedingly patient, spending her time and funds to provide opportunities and stimulus (sensory items, seating arrangements, etc) for Cooper to relax, calm and excel in the Gen Ed classroom. Her attention and focus on helping him succeed allowed us to recognize more of his potential than we had previously. We had several meetings throughout the school year, with external individuals attending IEP reviews, and all were in agreement that this teacher excelled. We are forever grateful that Cooper had Mrs. Hiatt this year and can say without reservation, that she is deserving of recognition as an exemplary teacher. The attachment demonstrates a sticker chart that Mrs. Hiatt created specifically for Cooper to allow him to recognize his daily achievements and provide a home report that he was especially proud of. Every day, Cooper would list out the stickers he received and he took exceptional pride in reporting on each of his daily activities. Without Mrs. Hiatt, we don't believe that Cooper would have made the advancements that we saw this school year. Michael and Rebecca Comba; [email protected]

Cooper Comba

To see more exceptional teacher nominees, visit The Honor Roll.