ARCHIVED—Certificate of Achievement Recipients
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- Newfoundland and Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- New Brunswick
- British Columbia
- Northwest Territories
The 2002-2003 Certificate of Achievement recipients are listed here by province. For each of the 50 recipients, there is a short biography and a description of some of his or her award-winning teaching ideas. If you are interested in contacting one of these outstanding teachers, send an email or call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232).
Holy Heart High School, St. John's
Grades 10-12, enterprise education, English
Teaching should lead students, parents and the community into a borderless, seamless classroom that is enriching and rewarding for all, says Margo Connors. To create this kind of learning environment for her students, Connors spearheaded the development of the Program of Achievement in Community Enterprise (PACE), an extracurricular and crosscurricular award program that recognizes and fosters entrepreneurial skills among high school students. Connors got financial support from a bank, incorporated the program under Newfoundland law, created a volunteer board of directors to manage the corporation and introduced the program to the student body. Connors breaks down boundaries for English as a second language (ESL) students through peer mentoring and a variety of school activities, and by creating a bureau of volunteer ESL teachers in the community.
St. Bonaventure's College, St. John's
Grades 4-12, instrumental music
Vincenza Etchegary believes that music is part of every child's overall development. Consequently, she teaches, instructs, listens, praises and encourages all her students, regardless of their ability. She plans ahead to challenge students with increasingly difficult pieces of music as well as genres and types of music new to them, and encourages students to choose their own scores and compose music. Etchegary has created and led a number of student bands, including a beginning band, senior and junior jazz bands, wind ensemble, symphonic band, concert band, jazz combo (specializing in improvisation and composition) and brass ensemble. The bands have won numerous awards, including prizes at MusicFest Canada and the Rotary Music Festival.
Lewisporte Collegiate, Lewisporte
Grades 9-11, French and world history, and Canadian geography in French
Convinced that students receive a richer learning experience when challenged by a variety of instructional techniques, Donna Harvey spearheaded expansion of her school's French program to add French-language courses in world history and Canadian geography to the core provincial French program. She sparks interest with innovative teaching strategies, tasks and themes, and a two-way flow of ideas encouraging student-centred learning. Harvey also promotes the development of French-language skills through public-speaking contests and educational trips, and by encouraging her students to access summer learning opportunities. Harvey's innovative teaching brings great results for her students. Over the past five years, 98.3 percent of her students have completed French-language courses with an average mark of 80.5 percent, well above the provincial average.
Holy Heart High School, St. John's
Grades 10-12, French, Spanish, social studies (in English and French), art history
Claire Rice links a variety of topics to broaden students' experience and enliven the classroom, while communicating clear, firm and demanding standards for students' work. She extends and expands students' skills in French through field trips to the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon and to Paris, and through school exchange programs with a school in Cannes, France, and one in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. Rice has also created a number of new programs and courses at Holy Heart High School, including an accelerated core French program, French immersion courses and Spanish courses. Students excel in her classes, achieving high marks on both International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement exams. Several students have gone on to become French immersion teachers themselves.
Bishops College, St. John's
Grades 10-12, technology education
Robert Riche sees leadership as a responsibility. He meets that responsibility with a number of innovative initiatives at Bishops College. He was the prime mover behind the school's inclusion in the SchoolNet Network of Innovative Schools and is a strong advocate of Web-supported courses, posting assignments, notes, deadlines, timelines, topic lists, evaluation tools and quizzes on-line. (Many students from other schools unofficially use these resources as distance learning tools.) Riche expanded use of electronic portfolios from a presentation tool to an enriched learning process, so students can progress at their own rate and often exceed expectations. He also regularly integrates learning from several areas of school life through, for example, a wide array of SchoolNet GrassRoots projects combining science and technology.
Clarenville High School, Clarenville
Grades 10-12, theatre arts, literature, writing
"If you want students to write, share your writing with them," says Bruce Stagg. Stagg shares his stories and plays about Newfoundland culture and life with his students, inspiring them to learn more about their history and province. He creates writing assignments to develop students' skill in various writing styles and arranges public-speaking opportunities and poetry readings for students to contribute to their province's culture. Students become skilled and confident writers and public speakers. Stagg also promotes strong, active drama clubs, producing plays written by himself or students. One such production, All for a Whitecoat, was chosen to represent the district in the provincial high school drama festival. Freedom of a Cigarette, written by Stagg's students for an anti-smoking competition, was performed on CBC Radio.
Coaker Academy, Summerford
Grades 9-12, English, art
Lucy Warren believes that every student has talents and interests and can learn. She utilizes the most effective teaching and learning strategies available to connect with students and make their learning meaningful. Every school year begins with fresh new ideas and plans; students are "hooked" with interesting multimedia projects, educational field trips and author visits. Warren also integrates information technology applications, computer skills and enhanced learning into the classroom with numerous SchoolNet GrassRoots projects. As a result of Warren's passion and enthusiasm for teaching, her innovative teaching strategies and genuine concern for her students, students achieved the highest average marks in the school district on the provincial exams. Students continue to excel in post-secondary education.
Sacred Heart School of Halifax, Halifax
Grades 10-12, science, physics, chemistry
First, teach the students, then teach the subject, recommends Davinder Singh. Recognizing the potential and appeal of computers and communications technologies to today's students, Singh spearheaded the evolution and development of the school's science program to take advantage of new technologies as they become available. She integrates computer technology into lab work and research, encourages Web research, and brings in community experts to enrich the science program. Singh creates lessons that emphasize relevant practical applications of scientific concepts, while placing a strong emphasis on traditional written, oral and visual presentation skills, innovative thinking and teamwork. Students work cooperatively with others, improve communication and organizational skills, develop friendships with like-minded students and receive awards, scholarships and encouragement to succeed.
Polyvalente Louis-Mailloux, Caraquet
Grades 9-11, art, French, dressmaking
Régine Mallet begins every year by rethinking her approach. She dissects programs to determine what really needs to be taught, studies students' weaknesses and strengths and determines their interests, and then, and only then, puts together projects and chooses her teaching methods. The community recognizes the success of this approach. In 2000, Mallet's students were invited by the local volunteer centre to transform a 125 m hallway into a historical streetscape using the painting technique called trompe l'oeil. Mallet continually seeks opportunities for her students to receive rewards for their creative efforts. For example, in 2002-2003 eight students were selected to provide artwork to give to winning athletes at the Canada Winter Games.
John Rennie High School, Pointe-Claire
Grades 7, 9-11, English, drama
Encouraging students to test their talent and skills in drama and self-expression, Louise Chalmers has created a variety of drama-related courses. The Actors Studio course combines English language arts and performing the annual school play; graduates have been accepted into the Stratford Theatre Workshop. The highly successful integrated drama course teams special needs students with regular students in an improvisational, performance-oriented course. To solve the school and drama program's desperate need for financing, Chalmers founded the Theatre Management Group, integrating the Lakeshore Community Theatre into the school. She secured a grant and developed an apprenticeship program for students to carry out much-needed repairs; the students now manage the lighting, sound and general operation of the facility.
Lindsay Place High School, Pointe-Claire
Grades 9-11, science, history
Teaching shouldn't be compartmentalized, says Catherine Falmagne. Instead, students should be shown the interconnections of various disciplines. To achieve this aim, she designs relevant, interesting field trips and processes that help students organize and understand biology and history course material, such as timelines, index cards to organize relevant information and student-created trivia games using course material to create the questions. Falmagne's teaching yields impressive results. In the past five years, 90 percent of her students have passed the provincial Canadian history exam on their first attempt, and more than half of the students in the school board who achieved a perfect score on the exam have come from her classes.
Polyvalente des Baies, Baie-Comeau
Grades 8-9, human biology, photography
Patrice Harvey recognizes that some students do not want to be in school. He believes it is a teacher's job to inspire them to think differently, and to stimulate and reward all students regardless of their level of performance. In response, he created Photoscope. Run like a small business, the course helps young photographers develop professional values, brings in revenue to acquire materials and equipment, and provides an opportunity for students without financial resources to study photography. Photoscope students have won regional and provincial prizes in a provincial entrepreneurship contest. Photographs taken by Photoscope members were also chosen to represent Canada in an international exhibit of photographs honouring the cultural heritage of participating countries.
Christian Lagueux, Jean-Pierre Lagueux
Polyvalente de Saint-Georges, Saint-Georges, and Polyvalente Bélanger, Saint-Martin
Grades 10-11, history, civics, human civilization
Teaching students about New France is more effective if you can get them excited about New France, say Christian Lagueux and Jean-Pierre Lagueux. To teach history, they teach the story behind the story: the complexity of people's lives, the logic behind our ancestors' lives, the materials they used, and the symbols, culture and legends that surrounded them. Students are challenged to produce historical objects using the same methods and materials available in New France. Students have created clothing, paintings, foodstuffs and tools. The Lagueux brothers also get students excited about civics through a student government in which students debate daily issues, rules and regulations for student life and school projects.
Howard S. Billings Regional High School, Châteauguay
Grades 10-11, English, French, math, drama in alternative program
By setting high standards for behaviour and achievement and building students' sense of self-worth, Bonnie Mitchell sets high-risk students on the path to academic success with the alternative program Directions. This student-centred, well-structured program enables students to find new, more positive directions and begin to succeed in school. Community action projects build pride and self-esteem, while research and study projects build academic knowledge and skills. Mitchell also created an intensively hands-on media course based on suggestions and ideas from students. The students use television, radio, print and cultural study sources to research and carry out self-selected projects over the school year, and also create a 90-minute video sold with the school yearbook.
Queen of Angels Academy, Dorval
Grades 9-11, biology
Susan Pamboukian knows the world needs young women trained in science. To attract girls to the subject she loves, she makes innovative use of computer technology and encourages student exploration and research. Pamboukian implemented and uses smart board projectors in her classroom, created an innovative student review and evaluation tool and selected and introduced interactive CD-ROMs to use both in class for presentations and as individual tutorials for students needing review. Each year, all her Grade 8 and 10 students compete in the local science fair, with the winners continuing on to the Bell Regional Science Fair. Grade 11 students participate in the Canadian Hall of Fame: Discovery Days in Health Science workshops at McGill University.
École secondaire du Havre-Jeunesse, Sainte-Julienne
Grades 7-11, art
Recognizing that the large number of students and shrinking budgets at Havre-Jeunesse were rendering optional classes with low teacher-student ratios extinct, Luc Poirier met with academic planners for the school and created a new program that could be given outside regular class hours. Realizing that building skill builds confidence, Poirier involves students in the teaching and promotion of art. Students help each other and, particularly, help beginning students acquire skills and confidence. Later, these same students talk up the importance of art in the school and the community. Ultimately, these leaders become independent artists, working on new creations in their free time.
Dorset Drive Public School, Brampton
Grade 2 French immersion, Grade 5 core French
Jennifer Beauregard sees students as Michelangelo saw sculpture and believes that a teacher's job is to reveal the form and beauty of the masterpieces hidden within children. She "sculpts" her students by creating an accepting, welcoming and stimulating environment that sparks interest in the most reluctant learners, with inviting corners for reading, quiet areas for independent work or creative expression, strategically grouped teams of learners and a challenging task issued each morning. Beauregard involves parents in their children's learning with monthly family challenges expanding on school work, reading incentive programs and constant communication and consultation about children's progress. Students excel, and students and parents continue to seek Beauregard's guidance after the students have left her class.
Romeo Public School, Stratford
Junior and senior kindergarten
Believing that the process of learning is key to success in the classroom, Margo Broadbent sets out to get students actively involved in their learning. For example, a school-wide initiative, Proud Canadian Kids!, energized the entire school (and parents!) to learn more about Canadian history and heritage. Not only has this program created proud, knowledgeable Canadians, but it has also markedly improved their academic skills, and gained support from community charitable groups and businesses. Other innovative projects include an Earth-friendly garden where students grow flowers from seeds, harvest and dry blossoms, then sell potpourri as a school fundraiser, and teaching children to count to 10 in the languages of the class's immigrant children.
James Colli, Patricia Mills, Pamela Shara
Holy Cross Secondary School, St. Catharines
Learning strategies for high school special needs students
Stressing the importance of students' ability to function in their world, James Colli, Patricia Mills and Pamela Shara foster integration of special needs students into the school population. They enrich other students' high school experience with a highly successful peer tutoring program, by facilitating participation by special needs students in school sports, by developing individualized curricula and by holding discussions with other teachers. Mills instituted a system of picture communication symbols for the most seriously challenged, non-communicative, non-compliant students. These symbols allow even the most inhibited student to communicate and have been adopted by other schools in the board. Some students seek careers in special education or as educational assistants as a result of their experiences as peer tutors.
Emma King Elementary School, Barrie
Grade 3, all subjects
"Donna DeCourcy searches for ways to involve children, to build their joy for learning and to help them as they develop their own self-esteem," reports a colleague. She does this by enriching her school with a wide variety of initiatives, all aimed towards enhancing the students' learning experience. These include a teacher-, parent- and student-created website highlighting the activities at Emma King school, and cultural and visual arts programs that invite living treasures, such as a master weaver and a 90-year-old community activist, to visit the school and share their skills. DeCourcy also developed a video for students on how to interact with a special needs student.
Quinte Secondary School, Belleville
Grades 10 to OAC, physics, science
Seeking to foster a love of science in students, Raymond Jones vividly demonstrates the laws of physics with working models. He flies a hovercraft made of plywood, baler wire and old vacuum cleaner parts down the school halls, showing that air pressure can easily support his 200-plus pounds, and shocks his students by proving that static electricity can travel through an entire classroom of students. Jones also instigated the development of an integrated electronics engineering course, combining elements from math, physics, electronics, computer programming and computer technology courses, and designed the multicredit Bridges Program to provide students with the opportunity to learn science in both the classroom and real-life settings.
J. L. R. Bell and Stuart Scott Public Schools, Newmarket
Reading recovery teacher for elementary grades
Frances Linton-Schell is committed to doing whatever is necessary to bring students to their grade-appropriate reading level. She instituted a school-wide reading proficiency testing program to identify weak readers and highlight their specific deficiencies, and provides in-class demonstrations of interactive writing, workshops for primary teachers, whole-class reading lessons and reading assessment tools to help teachers identify effective strategies. Linton-Schell shares her knowledge, experience and expertise with fellow teachers. She served 10 years as computer site administrator, co-chaired a year-long multiage individual enrichment program, and has held executive positions on the Simcoe County Reading Council and both the Ontario and international reading associations.
Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, Toronto
Grades 9 and OAC, mathematics, algebra, calculus
Enrichment does not simply mean "more" or "harder," says Michael McMaster. Rather, enrichment is a combination of content and methodology that aims at developing critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Following these guidelines, McMaster revitalized the school's enrichment program, Talented Offerings for Programs in the Sciences (TOPS), by promoting a fair admission process, spearheading the inclusion of Advanced Placement programs, establishing the TOPS Enrichment Fund, and facilitating team teaching, pairing accomplished and novice teachers. TOPS enrolment has doubled, with a retention rate of nearly 100 percent; students regularly achieve a 100 percent first-year success rate, win top awards at a dazzling array of science fairs and mathematics and chemistry competitions, and are awarded dozens of major scholarships.
Collège catholique Samuel-Genest, Ottawa
Grades 9 to OAC, drama
Lise Paiement believes that inclusiveness reigns. As far as possible, students who struggle academically or have behavioural problems should be included in courses such as drama and be given every opportunity to succeed. She established and runs a four-year program in dramatic arts that has given hundreds of students at all levels the chance to study acting, voice, language skills, music, lighting, set design and acoustics. Paiement has also been a champion of the French language and Franco-Ontarian culture. Her efforts to inspire students to love and develop their culture have been recognized by numerous organizations, including the Association canadienne d'éducation de langue française and the Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne.
Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School, Ajax
Grades 9, 10, 12, core French, English as a second language
Lorraine Ruscitti wants to help students not only be excited about learning at school, but also be excited and confident about lifelong learning. She energizes student learning of French with listening, reading, speaking, drama, multimedia and computer exercises and activities, and reinforces French-language acquisition by offering students a global perspective of the Francophonie. With her encouragement and tutoring, students pursue international travel, Canadian and international exchange programs, summer and university French-language courses, bursaries and scholarships. Going still further, Ruscitti created the extracurricular French club to extend and expand students' French-language skills. Club members host an international evening with food, costumes, artifacts and entertainment and also read in French to primary grade students.
Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School, Hamilton
Grades 10-12, civics, entrepreneurial studies
If you foster within students a genuine interest in lifelong learning, you'll end up teaching the world, says Alice Smith. She encourages civic awareness and pride through real-life simulations of federal elections, the design, planning and presentation of the students' ideal government, and exhibits of the work of humanitarian organizations. Entrepreneurial students gain skills and experience in teamwork, communications, planning, organization, production, accounting and the paperwork necessary to run a business as they run their own corporations and prepare a complete business plan. Smith also single-handedly established the much-needed Spirit Squad to increase school pride and community relations. Without any experience in cheerleading, Smith attended workshops and then trained 25 co-ed members who support school teams and functions.
Ben Tran, Nick Tran
J. S. Woodsworth Senior Public School, Scarborough
Grades 7-8, language arts, social studies, mathematics, information and communications technology (ICT) studies
The teaching team of Ben Tran and Nick Tran strives to inspire students and fellow staff members to explore new areas of knowledge and expression. The brothers assembled state-of-the-art ICT facilities allowing integration of information and communications technology across the curriculum. For example, a broadcast centre with digital video-editing equipment allows students to document special events and broadcast them through cable to all classrooms. In the animation studio students create animations used in math, science, industrial arts, history and geography classes. The team also initiated and implemented a regional ICT resource centre for students and staff from neighbouring schools, and offers mentoring and professional development to fellow teachers.
Henri van Bemmel
Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, Toronto
Grades 9 to OAC, mathematics, science, physics, astronomy
The complex technological world will only be available to those who have mastered the prerequisite skills. To give his students this necessary advantage, Henri van Bemmel captivates students with innovative demonstrations, high standards and an infectious passion for physics, students and learning. He created the Algonquin Scientific Expedition, in which students spend four days extensively researching several ecosystems in Algonquin Park. Van Bemmel also designed a new curriculum for the earth and space science course, including backyard astronomy gatherings and early morning remote observatory sessions. Students achieve spectacular success in science fairs, with 15 regional medals over the last five years, as well as 6 national gold medals, 2 national championships and approximately $250 000 in scholarships and awards.
Fort Richmond Collegiate, Winnipeg
Grades 11-12, biology, chemistry
Robert Adamson believes that biology represents opportunity for both the country and individual students. He has made it his mission to inspire others with the same passion he has for the subject. He has created hands-on teaching tools, including four mobile biotechnology labs that travel through school divisions in Winnipeg and the surrounding area, and the Genesis Pond for students from elementary, middle and high school to learn more about biology. Adamson has also developed a centre of expertise within his school that other schools can draw on to set up their own biotechnology programs. As a result, the school has been designated an Innovation Place by the Manitoba Network for Science and Technology.
Teulon Collegiate Institute, Teulon
Grades 9, 11-12, mathematics, applied mathematics, calculus
Education is "all encompassing," says Ken Overby, and should include experiences in and out of school. Instrumental in the implementation of several new provincial mathematics curricula, he emphasizes critical thinking, discovery learning and hands-on experiences, employing a variety of educational strategies to reach the largest number of students possible. Overby also developed an agriculture course at the school. The course combines academic study with community and business partnerships and agriculture-related opportunities for students. Students respond to his passion for teaching, great love of mathematics and love of his students with energy and attention. There is a 98.5 percent pass rate in his courses, and no student has ever failed his Grade 12 calculus or advanced math course.
Christopher Roe, Amanda Tétrault
John W. Gunn Middle School, Winnipeg
Grades 6-8, outdoor education, social studies and physical education
Christopher Roe and Amanda Tétrault know that for middle-year students' physical activity is just as important as academic learning and the development of a strong self-concept. They've fine-tuned an exemplary environmental and outdoor education program to meet those requirements by making effective use of classroom facilities, the schoolyard and the nearby community Bioreserve, and by blending elements from the science, social studies, mathematics, language arts and physical education and health curricula. Roe and Tétrault's courses introduce issues of responsible citizenship, climate change and environmental stewardship to students, and provide first-aid training, water safety instruction, and cooperative and community activities.
Jonas Samson Junior High, Meadow Lake
Grade 9, mathematics, health
"[Terry Dallyn] has taught me the importance of understanding students, demonstrating respect and caring for them first and the teaching becomes easy!" says a former student, now a fellow teacher. This care and respect for students, combined with clear expectations, an organized plan and cooperation with parents, elicits the best academic performance from every student. As each school year begins, Dallyn reviews each student's past performance, establishes a goal of a challenging yet attainable final mark for the course, and offers noon-hour tutorials, remedial work and a follow-up exam to ensure success. This teacher also provides extensive opportunities for students to experience mathematics in real-world contexts and piloted a new health curriculum, Health Action, integrating health and math objectives.
Alan Luciuk, Mark Wilderman
Marion M. Graham Collegiate, Saskatoon
Grade 12, integrated English language arts and history course
Alan Luciuk and Mark Wilderman decided to reorganize the teaching landscape by founding a new integrated course combining Grade 12 history and English. Their partnership invites students to study the Canadian landscape through politics, economics and geography, Canadian poetry and prose, and Canadian visual art. The teachers also shifted course objectives from a content focus to a content-process balance, from a teacher-centred to a learner-centred classroom and from passive learning to active learning. New evaluation procedures for the course help students grow in responsibility, confidence and academic excellence. Course enrolment has doubled, with almost 50 percent of Grade 12 students electing to take it.
Melville Comprehensive School, Melville
Grade 12, English
Courtney Vaudner always lets his students know how much he cares about their learning. This concern led him to engineer a region-wide improvement in Grade 8 to 12 writing skills. He brought language arts teachers from four school boards of the Melville Area School Division together to develop common rubrics and exemplars for the six forms of writing. He trained teachers to use the rubrics uniformly, then oversaw identification of strategies to improve writing instruction. Vaudner also developed a partnership with nearby Parkland Community College for low achievement students. Interestingly, the condensed and accelerated program, with its less formal atmosphere and self-defined work schedule, suits the needs of these high-risk students better than does the regular high school system.
Albert E. Peacock Collegiate, Moose Jaw
Grades 9-12, physical education, health
Always ready to adapt a situation to ensure each student is receiving a maximum learning opportunity, Renee Verge welcomes all learners and evaluates effort, leadership and the development of respect and responsibility. She developed three courses offering the best learning experience to each student - high-performance physical education, all-girls physical education and outdoor education, providing many opportunities for young people to become active and healthy, learn about their bodies, understand and practise safety, and experience the achievement of personal goals. Verge introduces students to many types of activities, including team sports, such as basketball and soccer, cooperative games, fitness awareness and exercise, such as yoga, aerobics and weight training, all to increase the likelihood that they will develop the habit of lifelong physical activity.
Old Scona Academic High School, Edmonton
Grades 11-12, chemistry
Raymond Adam encourages students to take risks in the controlled setting of school, where the cost of failure is not too exorbitant. His risk taking ventures include research assignments presented (and defended!) to the class in the form of an oral and PowerPoint presentation, realistic applications of chemistry (for example, students create aromatic spearmint compounds while the next door biology class is engaged in the smelly work of dissecting fetal pigs), humorous activities to ensure attendance and attention (late students must sing I'm a Little Teapot with the actions) and popular field, foreign travel and hiking trips that open students' eyes to the wider world.
Vermilion Elementary School, Vermilion
Kindergarten to Grade 3, music, early reading intervention
Dedicated to building the "happy habit of music" in everyone, Bonnie Bauer has created an outstanding music program respected province-wide for the quality of instruction, enthusiasm and skill of its students and positive impact on the entire community. Since she knows that teaching others is the best way to progress in one's own abilities, Bauer also delivers professional development sessions in musical instruction with teachers from other schools and has mentored several intern teachers. Her early reading intervention program at the school provides one-on-one instruction to students struggling with early reading skills. Over the course of the 10- to 12-week program, students typically achieve one year of reading skill improvement.
Raymond Elementary School, Raymond
Grades 1-2, mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, physical education, art, technology
Making sure that each child develops self-discipline as well as a strong background in the basic building blocks of language and math skills, Pat Bourne offers a consistent daily routine of teaching, modelling and both guided and independent practice of a range of academic and social skills. She makes innovative and consistent use of technology in the classroom: a computer network accesses software or the Internet, a television screen displays daily computer assignments, and regular computer time is scheduled for each student. As well, Bourne pioneered the use of Visual Phonics and PhonoGraphix software in the school to build language arts skills, and shares her enthusiasm and expertise with fellow teachers through professional development sessions and in-school mentoring.
St. Martin School, Edmonton
Grade 6, math, science, English and Ukrainian language arts, French, religion and Christian family life, social studies, computers, art
Natalia Harasymiw reaches beyond curriculum and textbooks to inspire confidence in children, sets high goals, fosters communication and teamwork as important lifelong skills and helps her students become healthy contributing members of Canadian society. Knowing that true stories and personal experiences paint a visual picture to which students can relate, she uses a variety of materials, activities and instructional methodologies to enhance student interest for effective learning. For example, traditions are honoured and used as important learning opportunities: the class plans, hosts and leads a Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner for parents and family. Also, a class entry in a gingerbread-house-making contest allowed each student to have a task. When the house won third prize, all the students were proud of each other's accomplishments.
McNally High School, Edmonton
Grades 10-12, mathematics
Wes Myck's priority is to encourage students to become independent thinkers taking responsibility for their education. With this in mind, he developed a number of programs that help improve student achievement, among them daily noon-hour tutorials, peer group tutoring, a homework support line and an interactive website for students and parents. He also coaches dozens of students to prepare for mathematics competitions, such as the Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge and the Canadian National Mathematics League. Myck has proven to be one of the most successful mathematics teachers in the province. His students' Grade 12 diploma results are consistently above the provincial average, and his students achieved 6.21 in the International Baccalaureate program in 2001, when the world average was 4.84.
Robert Scott Elementary School, Port Hardy
Grades 5-6, all subjects
"Just as life is an adventure for the spirit, learning is an adventure for the mind," says Alana Check. She regularly takes her students on learning adventures that build on and extend beyond the prescribed curriculum. For example, the social studies curriculum was enhanced by active participation in the local municipal election and by a quickly organized and remarkably successful class trip to Victoria to see Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Students developed language arts skills as they reflected on both experiences. A science adventure developed with the arrival of a large pod of killer whales. Students composed a whale song, researched whale facts, and compared their body measurements with those of whales.
Grand Forks Secondary School, Grand Forks
Grades 10-12, mathematics
Knowledge is valuable only when it is used, believes Keith Farnworth. He excites and motivates students with their successes in math, and ensures those successes with careful, consistent teaching practices and student support. He delivers lectures with clear, concise summaries of the basic concepts and exploration learning, maintains an open-door policy, encouraging students to come to his room for extra help, arranges extra tutorial time and re-tests for students willing to work for improvement, and encourages parental involvement with student progress reports. The school's provincial diploma exam results are consistently above average, and Grade 12 calculus students achieve impressive results on the Selkirk College final exam.
St. Michaels University School, Victoria
Grades 11-12, geology, physics, earth science, environmental science
Everyone has a student's mind, says Michael Jackson, whether it is a pupil in class, a parent on a field trip or a fellow teacher. Always ready and willing to learn himself, Jackson excels at making connections between the mind and the environment, between the classroom and the natural world, and between theoretical concepts and real learning. For example, he introduced early GPS technology into teaching, applying it to navigation on kayaking field trips, and brought a geodynamics database and seismic eruption programs into the classroom to vividly demonstrate how earthquakes relate to plate tectonics. Students perform at an outstanding level, receiving perfect scores on provincial exams, high marks on Advanced Placement exams and many scholarships.
Penticton Secondary School, Penticton
Grade 12, English
With a variety of interesting, enriching learning experiences, Jean Padwick brings literature alive for her students, and helps them see its relevance to their lives. Journal-writing exercises link students' experiences with works of literature: for example, meditations written in the local cemetery lead to an examination of Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. When appropriate, Padwick teaches with a theatrical flair. Students may be greeted by the wife of Bath in period garb, or toss autumn leaves in the schoolyard while shouting lines of Shelley's Ode to the West Wind. Entertaining and effective, Padwick's classes have the highest participation rates in all of British Columbia, with a pass rate significantly higher than the provincial average.
King Traditional Elementary School, Abbotsford
Molly Paterson knows that teaching children the skill of effective communication at an early age ensures success in most other areas of learning. She employs an eclectic collection of teaching techniques and resources in her class, all aimed at developing skilled and confident learners. For example, she regularly models the wrong way to do a task, and though children think she is being silly, she is really teaching them to be observers and problem solvers. Paterson reinforces communication skills through careful questioning at show-and-tell time, and enriches the children's classroom experience with purposeful, interesting activities related to the curriculum. Children thrive. In Grade 1, their reading is typically three levels higher than the district average.
South Park Family School, Victoria
Grades 1-2, all subjects
Linda Picciotto enthusiastically interacts with students, parents and fellow staff members to make sure students enjoy school and learning. South Park's alternative school program includes parents in learning, with a philosophy of developing children's full intellectual, emotional, social, physical and aesthetic potential in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Picciotto's energy, skilled application of a wide variety of hands-on teaching strategies, skillful integration of disciplines and obvious love of children's learning play a central role in the success of the school. South Park Family School has a waiting list of hundreds, and excellent attendance rates. Students show high achievement in provincial tests of reading and writing, and continue to excel in secondary school.
Windermere Secondary School, Vancouver
Grade 9, 11, 12, mathematics
Maggie Przyborowska thinks that all students should leave secondary school with no regrets - nothing left untried. She encourages students to pursue (and persevere) mathematics by adapting courses to suit a variety of needs and skill levels. For example, she offers Grade 11 mathematics as a two-year program for students struggling in the one-year course, allowing otherwise capable students to avoid limiting their post-secondary and career options. For more able students, her fast-track mathematics course covers three years of mathematics in two years. She uses a range of instructional approaches, including novel reading, logic games and elementary school instructional aids, to broaden students' understanding and appreciation of math. Students excel in provincial examinations, some achieving 100 percent.
W. E. Graham Community School, Slocan
Grades 7-9, mathematics, science
Walter Swetlishoff believes that broadening and expanding students' career opportunities with "value-added" courses - teaching not only a wider range of technical skills but also creativity, flexibility and commitment to continuous learning - will enable students to adapt to the constantly changing work environment. He has developed several such courses, including a Grade 11-12 technology education course, that address practical skills, problem solving and also students' emotional connection and commitment to their work; an innovative course in forestry with relevant math, physics, biology and environmental science connections; and the Value-Added Wood Manufacturing Program, which moves students beyond mill work to furniture construction and finishing. His science classroom, filled with experiments and activities, is the favoured hangout for students of all grades.
École St. Joseph School, Yellowknife
Literacy support for students in grades 3-6
Convinced that reading and the ability to read are lifelong learning links for students, Susan Franklin lives the role of literacy support at école St. Joseph School. Placing emphasis on development of vocabulary and context, on establishing cause and effect and on a host of other specific reading skills, her program builds in incentives for reading, such as free books or a draw for prizes when a child finishes a book. Franklin hooks students into writing as well by sharing little recipes (such as using very short sentences for emphasis) to bring writing to life, and real-life writing situations (students write letter to soldiers in Afghanistan and pen pals in Ireland).
Jonah Amitnaaq High School, Baker Lake
Grades 9-12, career planning, science, biology, chemistry
Bill Cooper has made teaching a personal extension of his life, sharing his enthusiasm for learning and concern for his students in a number of innovative ways. He developed and guides culturally relevant science projects, such as a study of the effectiveness of Inuit snow goggles versus Polaroid sunglasses, and the Human Dog Team, which examines sled design and load distribution. Cooper has also instigated several science-related extracurricular activities at Jonah Amitnaaq High School, including a science Olympics program that promotes the development of knowledge, skills and positive attitudes, and the Science Culture Camp, which integrates traditional Inuit knowledge with Western science. He led a group of science teachers in research on students' perception of science fairs and what they learned.