ROCKFORD (WREX) – A teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Rolling Green Elementary School is loved by both students in and out of the program.
Nicole Brickey has been teaching at Rolling Green for 19 years, and she grew up and went to school at Rockford Public Schools, which is where she learned her passion for American Sign Language.
Brickey works with her two 5th grade students who are deaf or hard of hearing as both a teacher and interpreter.
“We work on building communication skills, adding sign language, working on their vocabulary, spoken language.”
She also co-teaches in Brandie Fago’s 5th grade class during certain class periods, and that’s when the deaf and hard of hearing students spend more time with peers in Fago’s class.
“It’s actually quite amazing because everyday we’re learning new sign language and how to communicate with students who are in the DHH program, and also you can tell when a teacher really loves their job and she loves her job,” Fago said.
Brickey is also a leader in the Lego grant program at Rockford Public Schools. She helps train upper-elementary students to use Legos, and use computer programming in collaboration with the Legos.
The students love the hands-on work, and Brickey said she loves doing visual work with her students and Fago’s students.
Brickey said she loves seeing her students communicate and interact with Fago’s students, especially since they all learn some sign language together.
‘It just makes me feel really good, because a lot of times you feel like these are your kids and when you see them interacting with other kids and making friends, it feels really good,” Brickey said.