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Year: 2006 – Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Achievement Recipient
School: Brookswood Secondary
Langley, British Columbia
Principal: Donald McBeath
School Telephone: 604-530-2141
School Fax: 604-530-5132
School Website: http://bw.sd35.bc.ca
Grades/Subjects Taught: Grades 8-12, Drama, Acting, Theatre Management, Directing and Scriptwriting
- Teaching students as human beings first, and as students of drama and theatre second.
- Using challenging and difficult material for students in order to move them out of their comfort zone and into places of true learning and discovery.
- Promoting a "can do" attitude among students.
- Descriptive feedback as a tool to help students meet the foals that they have set in their learning.
- Positive interaction between the school and the community at large, including heavy parent involvement in theatre productions.
- Inclusive environment that allows students to safely and confidently take risks.
- Group work to build communication skills, respect, tolerance, teamwork among peers and friendships.
- Instills confidence and respect in students.
- Dedication to the betterment of students, colleagues, school and the community.
- Questions and challenges established expectations.
- Intense observer of human behaviour and adapting to situations.
- "No teacher left behind" - using technology to democratize the dissemination of information and opportunity for all teachers, whether they live in a major city or rural district.
- On-going professional development workshops.
- Student theatre tours within the province and to New York.
- In Ms. Conrad's classroom, students develop the skills necessary to work in a professional theatre, including lighting instrument maintenance and use, front of house management, set and prop construction, set painting techniques and stage management. In addition, they learn to be excellent communicators. Ms. Conrad was the original coordinator of Brookswood's Career Preparation Program and is currently the Theatre Career Preparation Program Advisor. In this capacity, she helps her students make connections with the professional world of theatre for work placements, mentoring and advice.
- The Brookswood theatre is used extensively by the community for a variety of events. Ms. Conrad's students are responsible for the entire management of these events, from communication with the clients to the set-up and operation of all the components of the event. They are respected for their knowledge and excellent work ethic. Many of Ms. Conrad's students move on to professional careers in stage management and film and television production.
- In her Directing and Scriptwriting Program, students use a playwriting publishing format on the computer which Ms. Conrad developed as a template for their scripts. Each student formats their scripts to the template so that their plays are copy ready for publishing - the same way it is done in the professional world.
- Ms. Conrad's motto, "You stay, you play," applies to everyone who enters her learning space. There have been many times that members of the administrative team have been drawn into her lessons when they have just stopped by her classroom to see if a particular student is in attendance.
- The parent's of Ms. Conrad's students are highly involved in the theatre program and work on theatre productions, showing students how to make costumes and props, assisting in the construction of set pieces and working with students on the public relations and marketing of shows.
- As Head of the Fine Arts Department, Ms. Conrad is spearheading the Beautiful Brookswood Project which involves students and teachers in creating beautiful and inviting spaces in the school for use by students, staff, parents, and the community. She is reaching out to the community for support to develop partnerships in sustaining the various phases and components of the project. Landscape and nursery companies in the area will be donating products, services and their expert advice as they work with students to see the Serenity Garden break ground in the spring.
- Ms. Conrad is a firm believer in providing opportunities for young people to express their own voices. Once the students in her Directing and Scriptwriting program have completed their original scripts, by January of each year, the second half of their work begins. They audition other students in the school for parts in their plays. Auditions take place of a two day period after school and rehearsals run three hours a day, five days a week for ten weeks. The whole process is completely student run with student playwrights, directors, actors, technicians, publicists and front-of-house management, with Ms. Conrad as mentor. She developed this system that takes a full school year to run and culminated in a week-long theatre festival in May showcasing these original productions.
- Over the years, fifteen years of Ms. Conrad's Directing and Scriptwriting students have been names as Outstanding Playwrights in the B.C. Provincial Playwriting Competition (Youthwrite), which is unmatched by any other school in the province. More than a dozen of her students have won drama scholarships both locally and provincially.
- Ms. Conrad was the President of the Association of B.C. Drama Educators for two years and is currently in the position of Past President where her duties include overseeing the Association's website and running an email listserve to the drama educators in the province, keeping them informed of various events, curriculum and resources. As coeditor of the Association of B.C. Drama Educators Newsletter, Ms. Conrad is responsible for soliciting articles from drama and theatre professionals as well as writing articles herself. She also conducts workshops assisting teachers in their implementation of the new drama curriculum.
- Ms. Conrad is a Drama Resource Evaluator for the B.C. Ministry of Education, the President of the Drama Educators Association of Langley, and is in demand as a Regional Drama Festical adjudicator.
"As parents, we have seen our children, and other children, mature into responsible young adults, due largely to Ms. Conrad's daily demonstration of providing a positive teaching environment. Through the use of constructive individual and group feedback, the students learn the value of positive criticism and the need for good problem-solving skills. These skills and learning to take responsibility gives the students a greater sense of self-esteem and confidence in their abilities to take on new challenges." - President, Vice President and Treasurer, Parent Advisory Council, Brookswood Senior Secondary
"Throughout high school I knew that I was not going to pursue acting as a profession, but I believed that in her classroom I could learn lessons that would change my life. She was able to create a warm and inviting environment that encouraged her students to push their levels of comfort and to grown in confidence as actors and also as individuals. Sharon has taught me how to look at myself critically, how to adapt, that success can only be achieved through hard work, and most importantly that I have the ability to overcome the obstacles that are placed in my path." - Former student
"Responding keenly to Sharon's efforts, her students sometimes discover abilities and talents they didn't know they had. For example, with Sharon's superior guidance, and to their own real surprise, both the oldest and youngest of my children won top provincial playwriting awards. Both experiences improved self-image and increased self-confidence as a result." - Former fellow teacher and student parent
"As President of the Association of British Columbia Drama Educators, her dedication, vision and passion exponentially raised the profile, membership and effectiveness of the organization. She personally inspired many teachers and artists, such as myself, to join the organization and lend our talents, time and experience to the betterment of arts education in Canada." - Professional theatre director and fellow teacher