Powerschool GoGuardian Naviance Aimsweb Semstracker SchoolDude Virtual Paragon Frontline Employee Portal

Meet Woodland’s SLP

Woodland’s speech-language pathologist (SLP), Addison Best, expertly spends her time supporting many students behind the scenes, meeting their medical needs, and being a warm, positive presence to all. Best is a prime example of an intelligent, young woman thriving in the STEM field.

Many Woodland students, especially girls looking to pursue a career in the medical field, may find themselves in a similar position Best was in only a few short years ago.

“In High School I was thinking about what career path I wanted to go down. It was either nursing; well it was mainly nursing, I knew I wanted to do something medical. My mom actually introduced me to speech pathology, because she said it was a really good career field and she had a speech pathologist who worked at her school who really loved it,” said Best.

With nursing being a very popular prospective major, Best’s story may speak to many, and unveil the flexibility of the medical field, how it is normal to switch career paths, and her impending success as a SLP, but first she had to learn what SLP was all about. Best job shadowed a SLP at the school where her mother worked.

“It was really interesting to me; I kind of liked that it felt almost medical because you work a lot with the brain, you work a lot of mechanism, you work with voice, you work with cognition I liked that aspect, but I also liked the school aspect that you could work with any population: I can work with highschoolers, middle schoolers, younger kids, and I can work with older people in hospitals. I felt still like the path I wanted to go on, but a little more interesting to me,” Best explained.

Even with her new found interest in speech pathology, Best still applied to both nursing and speech programs when it came time for college, but at the end of the day she chose to pursue speech.

“UCONN; I went to the speech program there, and it was great. If anyone is considering UCONN, that’s a great speech program. It really taught me what this field is about; I learned a lot about anatomy and physiology; I learned about how the brain works, how the voice works, how we make our sounds, and how we’re able to communicate with other students.”

Her experience at UCONN solidified her decision to pursue speech pathology was the right one, and she went on to continue her SLP education at Sacred Heart University.

“I went to clinicals; I went and did internships all over Connecticut, so I have been in hospitals, schools, rehab facilities, nursing homes, and I learned even more in depth how this field works; how to treat people, the background behind it, how to evaluate people. I felt like I was really in the right place for me,” Best said.

Although she was certain she had pursued the right degree program, entering the workforce posed another challenge, even if it was a good one, there were too many options to choose from. Speech pathology is a very diverse field, and you can work with various populations of people from toddlers to geriatrics, so deciding where and which population to work with proved difficult.

“I remember I was talking with my advisor and she was like; oh there is an opening in Beach Falls, and I can send you the link and you can apply, and I was like, Beacon Falls would be great; I’m familiar with the area because I’m from around here, ” explained Best.

Soon enough, Best found herself employed at Long River Middle School and here at Woodland Regional High School, and has fallen in love with everything school SLP has to offer.

“My whole life I thought I wanted to work in a hospital, but Woodland was a really good school placement, and now I want to work in a school,” said Best.

Fueled by her passion to work in the school environment, Best remarkably aids students in both the middle school and high school environments.

“At the middle school I work with the sixth grades to the eighth graders, and I do a lot of stuff based on curriculum; when you work in the elementary school you do a lot more language basics, but when you work at the higher grades it’s a lot more curriculum based. So I will work with what the kids are doing in the classroom, so for example at the middle school we do a lot of vocabulary; I do a lot of listening comprehension – kind of understanding what your hearing; we do social skills some students need support with communicating with peers, communicating with teachers, having a conversation – we work on how do we continue the conversation, reading nonverbal cues – how do we know when the conversation is done with, asking question,” Best explained.

Then, she comes over here to Woodland, and works with highschoolers. Similar to her work at Long River, Best caters to curriculum students are learning in the classroom but at the highschool level. Specifically, she takes vocabulary and literature from their English classes, and works to enhance their understanding.

“We will take the books that they are reading, and work on understanding what the book is about, the vocabulary in the book, we’ll work on answering comprehension questions so they know what they’re reading, and then they can apply it in the classroom,” Best explained.

Her work at Woodland also involves a lot of work with life skills students. She will work with them on a variety of communication skills: self advocating, understanding other people’s perspectives, and holding a conversation.

Best’s work truly is diverse depending on the students and grade level, but no matter the circumstance, she maintains a common focus.

“My main goal is to help students furnish their skills and further understand concepts, so they can understand what they’re learning in the classroom,” Best affirmed.

Without a doubt Best is meeting her goal each and every day at Woodland. Overall, her love for SLP and the staff and students here, is evident through her student’s success.

Ava Laudadio

Learn More →