Jennifer Henrichsen: living out the virtues of wisdom, courage and integrity
Year: 2019 – Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Achievement Recipient
Math and design, grades 6–9
Island Pacific School, Bowen Island, British Columbia
"On a daily basis, Jennifer finds ways to channel her passion for teaching into rich and meaningful experiences that inspire our students to express the very best of what it means to be human." — Head of school
Jennifer Henrichsen teaches at a small independent middle school. Through outdoor adventures, community service projects and even math class, she encourages constant self-reflection on the three cardinal virtues featured in the school's motto: wisdom, courage and integrity.
Jennifer seeks to equip and inspire students for lifelong success. Often working one-on-one with them, she offers intensive but encouraging support to those least secure in their abilities, arm's length monitoring of those happy to work on their own and tantalizing challenges for the more advanced.
In the classroom
- Shepherds graduating Grade 9s through year-long Masterworks program: they select a topic, research it, write a 12–20-page paper, and present their work to a public audience; through the experience they develop higher-level thinking skills and character traits to last a lifetime.
- Devises ingenious ways to introduce math concepts: measuring the basketball court to understand area, drawing Escher-like patterns to explore infinity; making cookies to understand proportionality and fractions; using a digital spreadsheet to calculate profit and loss on student-run canteen.
- Presents opportunities for students to live their learning and develop empathy: to understand some of the challenges urban youth sometimes face, senior students volunteered at a Vancouver youth centre, spent $2 on dinner and then spent the night on the street.
- Connects students to the world: students raised money to support an orphanage in Ghana to pay for high school fees; one boy cycled 30 km, a second swam 15 km and a third ran 10 km; the "Tri for Ghana" raised more than $40,000, enough to send 12 Ghanaians to high school for three years.
- Introduced pilot programs in "blended learning" (the mix of in-person classroom and online instruction), to investigate how digital platforms could better support math students; students were engaged, positive about the experience and motivated to challenge themselves.
- Initiated and supervised a number of local community service activities that see students help at a pre-school, volunteer to paint fences and shovel manure, and participate in community clean-ups.
- Serves as assistant head of the school, dealing with recruitment and admissions (including being a public spokesperson for the school and interviewing students and families), and discipline and personnel issues, providing support and counselling to students and colleagues.
Get in touch!
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