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Year: 2009 – Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Achievement Recipient
Burnaby Mountain Secondary School
8800 Eastlake Drive
Burnaby BC V3J 7X5
Subjects and Grades Taught: Math in grades 9 to 12
Richard Ryant leads by example. Diagnosed with severe dyslexia in his youth, he had to battle to graduate from high school. He went on from there to get several university degrees and establish a career in teaching. He stands before his students as an example of how to succeed, despite formidable challenges.
Mr. Ryant believes that not a single student should fail. When he sees that a student is struggling he gathers all the resources he can—co-opting parents to assist, recruiting students to be peer helps, and tutoring students outside of class time—to make sure that the student passes the course. Consequently, his courses have the lowest failure rates in the school (near zero). One solid strategy Mr. Ryant uses is to make math class interesting and fun. His students sing songs, create posters about the origins of math, listen to math jokes and enjoy a safe learning environment in which everyone is encouraged to succeed.
- Mr. Ryant seamlessly employs information and communications technology in his math classes. Students watch computer-assisted lessons that are fully integrated with his class notes and problem sets, which he posts online. His notes comprise step-by-step solutions captured via writing pad during the lesson. With these tools, students can, if they need to, watch a lesson over and over again.
- He has won over the parents and teachers to the benefits of technology for learning, attending parent council meetings to demonstrate the latest developments and inspiring colleagues to find ways to integrate technology into their courses.
- The first year Mr. Ryant taught Advance Placement calculus, 14 of his 23 students achieved the highest possible score on the exam and 8 others achieved the second highest possible score, an exceptional result for a first-time instructor. On optional provincial exams, his students achieved average grades 8 percent higher than their peers in the rest of the province.
"Every September a long line forms outside of student services as students try and switch into Mr. Ryant's classes. The students have learned that if they have had difficulty in the past, Mr. Ryant's class is your path to success." Colleague
"Richard's challenges as a learner who did not always experience success at school, his success as a tradesman, his dedication to learning and to his students, and his gifted ability to use technology as a tool for instruction as a math teacher equals excellence." School administrator