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District Paraprofessional Receives Building Block Award

Special School District (SSD) paraprofessional Dee Pliakos won the SSD Building Block Award for her outstanding skill and dedication to students.

 

Dee was nominated by four of her fellow coworkers within the District for her contributions to the lives of her SSD students.

 

Her nomination can be seen below:

 

In a few paragraphs, describe what makes the nominee worthy of special recognition. Please provide specific examples.

Mrs. Dee Pliakos is an extraordinary member of our school’s learning community. She currently serves as a paraprofessional at our school as well as other schools in the district. Dee has also taken on the role as lead resource teacher for two extended leave positions. Regardless of her role, she takes on any challenge with ease and enthusiasm and gives it her all. Dee has put in countless extra hours to meet with coaches to learn how to best meet her students' individual needs. One of the long term roles she fulfilled was during our students' switch from in-person to online learning, while the other role was when we switched from online learning to in-person. No matter the teaching platform, Dee welcomed her students and encouraged them along their path to learning. Dee is a learner who quickly jumped on the opportunity to learn Google Classroom and Seesaw teaching platforms. She successfully met students' Individualized Education Programs while making unique connections in a virtual setting. In addition, Dee collaborated with families to best meet their needs during remote learning, often going out of her way to ensure students received their services.

 

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What attributes make the nominee stand out in the school in which they work?

With a smile on her face and calm presence, Mrs. Dee Pliakos is an extraordinary paraprofessional. There are many qualities that make her stand out at Meramec Elementary School. Dee exhibits a positive and energetic spirit both towards students and staff. Dee seeks to truly understand the students she is working with and how to best provide for their needs. Through careful observation, consultation and conversation, Dee gets to know her students and colleagues on a deep level. She seeks out coaching and learning opportunities. Her empathy and compassion towards others sets an example for all. She is always willing to jump in and help where needed. She puts the social and emotional needs of her students first. As a lifelong learner, Dee recently completed her mindfulness certification. Dee is an amazing teacher, sharing her knowledge with others. Our school community, students and staff are better because of her presence. Dee’s colleagues have described her as being a learner, compassionate, a hard worker and empathetic.  Mrs. Dee Pliakos is a fine model of a dedicated teacher who gives 110% effort each and every day. She is honored to serve every student.

 

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Please describe how the nominee makes a difference in the lives of students.

When Dee Pliakos works with any student, their life is changed for the better. She sees each child as an individual and designs unique interventions to make each student successful and ready to learn. One way she makes a difference in students' lives is by listening to them and meeting them where they are. When a student is in her class, they are treated with respect. She brings out the positive characteristics in each student to help them overcome areas where they strive. She helps build up their confidence so they are willing to try and do hard things. Some of the unique interventions she comes up with include providing student physical activity breaks. She can frequently be found in the school gym shooting baskets with a student to help him focus for the rest of a long afternoon. Dee is also engaging students with unique needs on the playground. She challenges the student in a fun-loving manner and the student is happy to interact with her. Dee's classroom is a safe place filled with interventions that build students up and to help them succeed. She encourages her students to use flexible seating, fidgets, whiteboards, and mindfulness exercises to successfully complete classwork. She also provides the social and emotional support students need to thrive as part of their classroom community.

 

Congratulations to Mrs. Pliakos on this great honor and for representing our District with professionalism and academic excellence.