Jolkowski, Frost help students succeed with audiology knowledge

Kristin Jolkowski and Cara Frost have helped hundreds of Lincoln Public Schools families by bridging the gap between the medical and educational fields.
Jolkowski and Frost have connected students with a world of knowledge in their roles as the district’s two educational audiologists. They work with many deaf and hard-of-hearing students of all grade levels in multiple schools. Their ultimate goal is to give everyone at LPS an opportunity to have a high-quality education.
Jolkowski and Frost said they are grateful to spend time with many talented LPS students.
“I have always enjoyed supporting preschoolers and early elementary students as well as counseling families about how they can support their children,” Jolkowski said. “Working within the schools allows me more opportunities to connect not only with families and children, but also with the school staff who support the development of these students.”
“One of my placements during graduate school was with LPS. I really enjoyed it!” Frost said. “It was without a doubt my favorite placement, so I knew that it would be an area of audiology that I would really enjoy working in if I ever had the opportunity.”

Melissa Weber-Arnold is assistant director of special education at LPS and oversees the department’s services for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. She felt Educational Audiologist Awareness Week was a good time to highlight the many services Jolkowski and Frost provide throughout the year.
“Kristin and Cara ensure equitable access for students who have hearing loss,” Weber-Arnold said. “Without their support we would not be able to meet student needs. Staff and students are lucky to have such skilled and knowledgeable audiologists working in our district.”
Jolkowski was a clinical audiologist before starting her role with LPS in 2015. Frost has been an educational audiologist for the past nine years. Both have earned advanced degrees in their field from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Jolkowski and Frost serve LPS students in many ways. Educational audiologists help students, families and school personnel understand how auditory impairments impact language, literacy, learning and social development of students. They provide checkups and evaluations for students who may have lost some of their hearing, and they explain the results of hearing assessments to parents, students and staff members.

Jolkowski and Frost improve listening environments for students by measuring and analyzing the noise and acoustics of LPS classrooms. They make recommendations to teachers about how to best use hearing-assistive technology at schools, and they ensure students are able to obtain all equipment they need to be successful during the day.
The auditory veterans teach LPS students, parents and staff members about the impact of noise exposure and ways to prevent greater hearing loss. They also provide training about hearing-based topics such as amplification systems, functional listening and speech-in-noise evaluations.
Jolkowski and Frost both said they enjoy having a wide range of duties in their jobs.
“Educational audiology is so much more than testing hearing!” Frost said. “We work to provide equal auditory access to all students and to bridge the gap between the medical and educational worlds.”
“I love collaboration!” Jolkowski said. “I enjoy learning from staff, families and students and partnering with them to problem-solve auditory access for each student’s education.”
Holly Flanagan-Matzen is an itinerant teacher of the deaf and hard-of-hearing at LPS. She works with Frost at 11 district buildings and has watched her make a difference in the lives of many students.
“It’s invaluable to have a high-quality educational audiologist such as Cara in the district,” Flanagan-Matzen said. “Having her background knowledge and expertise has been beyond helpful in so many situations when dealing with families in all processes of their hearing journey.”
Flanagan-Matzen said Frost deflects attention away from herself and has always put others first. This mindset has benefited students across the district.
“Cara is very humble about her role on the team,” Flanagan-Matzen said. “She is a fierce advocate for students and families and will do this all behind the scenes.”

Lindsey Flori-Plummer teaches deaf and hard-of-hearing students at Beattie Elementary School. She and other Beattie teachers have worked with Jolkowski to provide services for many children. She said Jolkowski has dedicated countless hours to making sure students succeed.
“Kristin is very involved and a familiar face around Beattie,” Flori-Plummer said. “She is always willing to try new or different things to get the students better auditory access.”
Flori-Plummer said Jolkowski has given Beattie teachers extra equipment to ensure all students with hearing devices receive equal access during school assemblies. In addition to all of her regular duties at Beattie, she also helped fifth-grade students on a science fair project about hearing loss last year.
Flori-Plummer said Jolkowski and Frost have used their talents to provide the gift of education to hundreds of LPS families in their careers.
“It is vital to have high-quality educational audiologists for LPS because they provide support for all staff with hearing equipment,” Flori-Plummer said. “They ensure that all students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing have equal access to the language in their environment.”
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Published: October 20, 2023, Updated: October 20, 2023

From left, Kristin Jolkowski and Cara Frost serve LPS students as the district's two educational audiologists. They have connected many deaf and hard-of-hearing students with a world of knowledge through their work.