Entry:  055 Name:  Tanya Age:  Adult Champion:  Mr Chris Eveans, former Principal of Robina State School QLD and 2017 Learning Difficulti...

My Red Letter 2017 - L055 - Tanya

00:38:00 My Red Letter Dyslexia Awareness 0 Comments

Entry: 055
Name: Tanya
Age: Adult
Champion: Mr Chris Eveans, former Principal of Robina State School QLD and 2017 Learning Difficulties Australia Bruce Wicking Award recipient.

Over my many years as both a teacher and an advocate, I have never met a Principal like Chris Eveans. He is unique, influential and has been instrumental to change. Two things are important to Chris - firstly, connecting to evidence based practice in education and translating this to classroom practice and secondly, always putting the needs and interests of each individual student first.

I will never forget the Friday afternoon when I first met my sons' new principal, Mr Chris Eveans. Chris was at the school gate, saying farewell to each student and wishing them a good weekend. To me that was a good sign. I had waited a few weeks to introduce myself, firstly to allow Chris to settle in and secondly because I fear he may have heard about me via Education Queensland and/or the union - I was not on good terms with either party... and still aren't.

I boldly approached Mr Eveans to introduce myself, "Hello Mr Eveans, my name is Tanya Forbes, I am Connor and Brendan's Mum, I am also founder of the Gold Coast Dyslexia Support Group."
Chris's reply was "Dyslexia.... now that is a very American word."
As many of you know, it is not very often I was lost for words.... but on this occasion I was.

Unknown to me at the time, I had just met one of my strongest allies and one of Queensland's most powerful dyslexia advocates. 

As Principal of Robina State School, Chris implemented the recommendations of the National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy (2005) and the National Dyslexia Working Party Report (2010) school-wide in each and every classroom. This pilot was endorsed by the Queensland Education Minister, the Hon. John Paul Langbroek, as a model for other schools to replicate.

Chris leads by example with a collaborative culture of professional learning at Robina State School. Chris has developed a high level of expertise in education research through his own personal learning and by connecting with leading education researchers.

Chris is willing to share his wealth of knowledge and experience by mentoring schools, presenting at seminars and writing publications. Chris has visited many progressive schools to observe best teaching practice, as well as being a source of inspiration by hosting many local and interstate schools. He works in partnership with professional associations and community groups to host professional development seminars, parent information sessions and children's workshops at his school.

The unique learning needs of students with learning difficulties are carefully considered so every student has an opportunity to participate on the same basis as their peers. Chris ensures instruction and intervention is tailored to suit the learning needs of the individual child and he interacts personally with every student in his school. Student learning is supported and scaffolded through explicit instruction, classroom accommodations, universal design for learning, assistive technology and the provision of reasonable adjustments. Chris has taken many enrollments from families in despair with broken children. He has restored the parent’s faith in education and mended so many damaged self–esteems. He always puts the best interests and welfare of the child first and foremost.

At the heart of school improvement at Robina is EARLY, EARLY, EARLY with a focus on early prevention, early identification and early intervention to prevent reading failure. Chris advocates that best teaching for children with dyslexia benefits ALL children.

Chris's belief in evidence based education and for supporting students with learning difficulties extends far beyond the school gate. Chris was an active advocate who was never afraid to challenge bureaucracy for what is best for ALL students in Queensland.  He encountered many obstacles and a lot of resistance but his perseverance and resilience never waned.

On a personal note, I am both so grateful and thankful that my own son Brendan was able to benefit from your leadership during his time at Robina. Thanks to you, he did not slip through the cracks. With you at the helm, he received the education and support that every child in Australia deserves.

Kind regards,

Tanya

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