2017 Principals' Association of Specialist Schools (PASS) Awards

Students blossom in gardening program.

A unique gardening program introduced at Barwon Valley School has seen students with special needs blossom both academically and socially, earning its creator top prize in the 2017 Principals' Association of Specialist Schools (PASS) Awards.

The PASS Awards is an annual event that recognises and celebrates the outstanding achievements and excellence of people involved in specialist education in Victoria. Barwon Valley School teaches students with intellectual disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder.

When Education Support Staff Kris Angelovski noticed a group of students displaying behavioural issues and missing school, he set to work designing an active program to get them interested in school again.

Teamworx was born.

Growing interest

Mr Angelovski, a keen gardener, guides students to grow and cultivate their own plants. He also taught them basic woodworking skills so they could help build a pop-up shop to proudly sell their plants to classmates.

A shipping container on the playground forms Teamworx HQ, where students change into work clothes and log in for work. Just like a real jobsite, they are assigned work tasks.

Over time, Teamworx students have become more attentive in class, more cooperative with their classmates and their attendance rates has risen.

Outstanding teacher

Mr Angelovski won Most Outstanding Education Support Staff Member at the PASS awards.

He has worked in special education for 11 years in primary and secondary schools and says that Teamworx has been the most satisfying work in his career so far.

'Being part of a program that has successfully re-engaged some of our disengaged students and seeing their pride in things they have created has been very professionally rewarding,' Mr Angelovski says.

'It's a career I have found extremely rewarding and has given me amazing scope to grow professionally.'

Specialist education in the Education State

The Education State is working to ensure all Victorian students — no matter their background or circumstances — have access to a quality education.

The Education State vision is based on the fundamental belief that with the right teaching and support, every student can learn and succeed.

See: Program for Students with Disabilities
Support for Students with Special Needs
2017 PASS Awards winners