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Michelle Lang Standring: Building student success one “I can …” at a time

Year: 2020 — Province: New Brunswick
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Rothesay High School
Science, biology, human physiology, environmental science, grades 10 to 12
Rothesay, New Brunswick

With her uproarious laugh, her rock-a-billy style and a mega-watt smile, she enters the school ready to rock. Michelle's gift is her ability to connect with kids.


Michelle Lang Standring makes learning fun, but she also works to help those around her excel. At her school, she is introducing global competencies, building an Advanced Placement program and leading a pilot of the new Essential Skills Pathway program. Among her many activities for students, she has created a Women in Action group to empower female pupils and raise money for local causes.

Teaching approach

Michelle works hard to keep students on track. Each class has an assessment plan, and students know they will be assessed by how well they can complete the statement "I can…" in relation to each task in the plan.

STEM in the classroom

  • Created biology class Genius Hour: students research biology-related subjects that may not fall under specific outcomes and give presentations, such as a video or experiment; this fosters student passion for the subject, and students enjoy having choice; teachers in other courses have copied this approach.
  • Assigns TedEd Talks: in outcome-based research projects, students synthesize peer-reviewed journal articles and then give a live or video talk, with bonus digital skills development when they choose the latter.
  • Created the Learning Hospital, writing files of fictitious patients; groups of students figured out what sort of pathogen was causing patient's disease, based on symptoms (revealed slowly, day by day); a local doctor was impressed by files and the students loved the project.
  • Secured a grant to build breakout boxes, related to current study unit: students work collaboratively, think critically, and solve puzzles to open them; afterward, they reflect on what worked and didn't; teachers from other schools borrow the boxes.
  • Involved students in nationwide ocean conservation project: students collaborated online with peers across Canada to research issues; travelled to Ottawa to present a paper to a Senate committee.

Outstanding achievements

  • Offers essential- and extension-learning opportunities: students must complete the essential assignments but then can complete extra assignments for extra marks; allows for self-directed student differentiation; students can expand their learning without fear of failure.
  • Compiled a board game guidance for her district: finding board games relevant to every major high school course, she organized them by class, outcome, playability, difficulty, time to play and number of players.
  • Runs a "class video game": students create personas for themselves, get points for such things as completing tasks or helping peers and can redeem points for special privileges; reinforces good behaviour; students of all abilities can participate.
  • Supports LGBTQ+ rights: is her school's sexuality and gender alliance rep.; spearheaded effort to paint vertical rainbow on school's front steps, showing that all are welcome; other schools have followed suit.

Get in touch!

Rothesay High School
61 Hampton Road
Rothesay NB  E2E 2N6

Twitter: @MLangStandring

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