Jo-Anna LeGrandeur: Guiding students into, through and beyond high school

Year: 2018 – Province: British Columbia

Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Jo-Anna LeGrandeur

Mount Baker Secondary School
1410 Baker Street
Cranbrook, BC V1C 1B2

School telephone: 250-426-5241
School website: http://www.sd5.bc.ca/school/mbss/Pages/default.aspx

 

Subjects and grades taught: English, Psychology, Student Services and Transitions, grades 10–12

Trained as an English teacher, Jo-Anna LeGrandeur has continuously expanded her areas of expertise and been instrumental in developing some of the most popular courses at her school, such as the Environmental Awareness Program and Psychology.

Teaching approach

Jo-Anna has a keen eye for useful technology and a willingness to embrace change when it benefits her students. However, her fundamental goal has always remained the same: to provide her students with the most useful skills for them to be successful after high school.

In the Classroom

  • Brings relevant technology into class: when developing her psychology course, for example, she conferred with a college instructor about the tools students should know how to use and then worked with the school district's technology specialist to integrate them into student projects
  • Gives psychology students the freedom to engage in ethical human behaviour experiments: one student researched and presented her findings about the depression from which she suffers, first to her peers and then to school staff to shed light on the challenges she and other students face
  • Excels in individualized teaching, painstakingly crafting individual lesson plans and presenting each student at the start of class with goals and assignments specifically designed to accentuate their strengths and address their weaknesses
  • Spearheaded school focus on ending violence against women: psychology students researched the issue and created posters highlighting the relevant statistics; the students then gave presentation on the issue to all classes, while Jo-Anna organized lunchtime screenings of relevant movies

Outstanding achievements

  • Psychology program grew from one class per year to four; after splitting the course by grade level, those four classes grew to eight and then nine, all while school district enrolment was decreasing
  • Championed student literacy by embracing a new approach, dedicating her own time to it and ensuring the school freed up funds so all teachers could access the necessary resources
  • Established school district forum to discuss LGBTQ issues, after having sought out young people to speak with about their challenges and inviting them to address her class
  • Led a project to ease the transition to high school: after much research and discussion, she engaged middle school teachers to identify students likely to struggle with the transition; monthly follow-up meetings have led to more timely interventions and an increased retention rate

Rave reviews

"Quite simply, Mount Baker Secondary School would not be the place that it is today without the decades of selfless service, passion, professionalism, mentorship and dedication to all students and staff that Jo-Anna has demonstrated in a day in and day out way."

School district official
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