Spotlight on Staff: A Series Focusing on Staff with a Growth Mindset and Grit. Meet Nicole Rosko
Spotlight on Staff: A Series Focusing on Staff with a Growth Mindset and Grit. Meet Nicole Rosko

Nicole Rosko has always felt that teaching was her passion. Her patience, growth-mindset, and positivity make that passion evident to all that enter her classroom.

Nicole's 4th grade Learning Support Classroom is run with the perfect blend of encouragement, kindness, compassion, and stick-with-it-ness. The latter being a word that has become part of her students' everyday vocabulary.  Nicole defines "Stick-with-it-ness" as the decision to keep trying, when things get hard. Nicole is always sure to stress that it isn't if things get hard, but when things get hard. She wants her students to understand that it will get hard, but with effort, patience, and time, anything is possible.

Nicole tells her students, "If you think you can, you can". She teaches the meaning behind that phrase, but also embeds the concept by making it a daily practice in her own personal life, which she shares with her students. Nicole believes it's important for educators to put themselves back in the learner's shoes to remember how difficult the learning process can be.  She shares her process of setting goals and how to take small, but actionable steps to achieve them.  Over the past few years, Nicole has shared her personal experiences of becoming a student again, relearning the piano, training for a half marathon, creative writing, and learning the ukulele with her students.  She believes that modeling goal setting and sharing the process of how to achieve goals will motivate her students to do the same.

Nicole first began teaching in the Springfield School District as the K/1 Autism Support Teacher.  She was inspired by her students' ability to overcome the diverse challenges they were facing with determination and persistence.  Nicole loved working in collaboration with her students' families, therapists, and team teachers to support her students socially, behaviorally, and academically at home and at school. 

Nicole has continued to grow as she moved on from the Springfield Literacy Center to Sabold and has taught in both 2nd and 3rd grade as a Learning Support Teacher. Sabold Principal, Dr. Brigg, says, "Nicole models positivity and hard work in all aspects of her position. Our students recognize her genuine care and support, and they put forth their best efforts as a result. Nicole is also a lifelong learner, focusing on her doctoral program outside of the school day."

Nicole wants her students to view reading, writing, speaking and listening as integrated processes in her classroom. She wants her students to know and understand the power our words have to influence, to clarify, and to improve our own personal circumstances.  One way Nicole incorporates this integration is through Reader's Theater.  She encourages students to stretch themselves and to go outside their comfort zone to integrate language and literacy in a creative way.  Readers Theater, though difficult for most students at first, ends up being one of the most memorable activities they do together all year. During book discussions, Nicole teaches students how to engage in "Accountable Talk." Students use phrases like "I heard what you said about... and I agree/disagree with you because..." Nicole believes that practicing speaking and listening skills will serve her students now in the classroom and in their lives ahead.  Nicole gives her students a lot of autonomy to express themselves freely in the safe, kind, and respectful environment they create together.

Learning and growing go hand in hand in Nicole's classroom. Her students amaze her as they rise to accept any challenge that comes their way. All thanks to the feeling of safety and encouragement that comes from their teacher.

Click here to view more articles on the Grit and Growth Mindset series.