Sarah is experienced in designing, delivering, monitoring and evaluating tailored professional development which meets the needs of neurodiverse learners. Working alongside students, teachers, leadership teams and families and whānau, her methodologies enhance student learning by improving self-esteem and academic achievement. The professional development she provides helps expand and embed knowledge, understanding and practice around meeting the needs of neurodiverse (dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia) learners. She provides personalised professional development tailored to meet the needs of the whole school community.
Sarah has worked in education since 1985 in the UK and New Zealand. She is Speld NZ qualified, and became a Dyslexia Specialist Tutor, joining Kapiti College in 2008. She has initiated and established neurodiverse friendly practices at Kapiti College, which have gained nationwide recognition for their effectiveness in producing high levels of academic success. She has presented at workshops, conferences and symposiums throughout the country as well as spearheading professional development for schools and colleges throughout the North Island. Together with her neurodiverse learners, she has made a documentary, spoken in parliament on several occasions and has hosted members of the Education and Science Select Committee. Close professional collaboration with organisations and experts, both in New Zealand and overseas, allows her to keep abreast of current research and best practice.
Facilitation experience with leaders
Sarah works alongside school leadership teams to determine needs of students, teachers and whānau. The professional learning and development she delivers is designed to be collaborative, appropriate, attainable and sustainable. Sarah’s purpose is to enable educators to acknowledge neurodiversity, to identify students who may be dyslexic, dyspraxic, dysgraphic or dyscalculic and to implement appropriate individualised teaching strategies. Her overarching goal is to facilitate a whole school approach to teaching learners with dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and dysgraphia.
Sarah encourages teachers and leaders to use teaching as inquiry to investigate their reflective practices, and examine the impact of their teaching on all students, with particular emphasis on neurodiverse learners.
Sarah can provide professional development or consultancy services in:
- Understanding what we mean by neurodiverse students (dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia)
- Designing and delivering programmes which achieve a community-wide and an holistic approach to dyslexia
- Building on collaboration across communities of learning
- Identification of students
- Strategies and accommodations
- Resources, including digital technology
Professional Learning Development, Advocacy and Conference presentations
Delivery of PLD relating to neurodiversity since 2009.
Advocacy work includes television, radio, newspaper and online articles, as well as the production of a documentary.
Sarah and her students presented to the Education and Science Select Committee, and subsequently hosted the Committee.
Sarah has spoken at a number of conferences, most recently at the Inclusive Education Summit 2017 and the New Zealand Tertiary Education Symposium 2016.
I am passionate about allowing our neurodiverse community of students, comprising around 70,000 school age children, to receive access to education on an equal playing field with their non-dyslexic peers. Their neurodiversity should not be seen as a barrier to learning, rather as a learning difference and as a gift to be acknowledged and nurtured. To quote, “Can our planet afford to have any great thinkers become discouraged or intimidated and give up? It doesn’t take a genius to know the answer: absolutely not. “Susan Goldberg, Editor in Chief, National Geographic.