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Nancy Alexandra Ryan: devoted to student success

Year: 2019 — Province: Newfoundland and Labrador
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Nancy Alexandra Ryan

All subjects, grade 3
St. Matthew's School, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

"Ms. Ryan makes every student feel like her favourite. She helps with your work, answers ALL your questions, adapts to your needs and is very friendly and kind. She also carried on conversations with her students like she has been friends with them for her whole life."
— Former student

Nancy Ryan is an environmental steward who empowers students to be future leaders. She shows the importance of global citizenship through active participation at school and in the community, and engages children with stories of her hobby farm, woodland, animals and new technologies.

Teaching approach

Nancy believes that children need time to learn and practise their creative and critical thinking skills, just like they learn and practise other academic skills. She gives the time, energy and feedback necessary to enable each learner to progress along their own continuum in these areas.

STEM in the classroom

  • Introduces children's literature across the curriculum, especially in science and math, to promote reading, writing and critical thinking, allotting funding from professional development program to purchase books on plants, agriculture, engineering, architecture, questioning and problem solving.
  • Focuses on agriculture: students plant, grow and harvest vegetables and fruit in the school garden and orchard, while learning about protecting farmland, enriching the soil with compost (from school-wide composting program) and the chemicals used on food and their impact.
  • Leads long hikes after school during which students not only get some exercise but extend their science learning by exploring the flora, fauna and unique geology of the area.
  • Devotes time to providing STEM practise and problem-solving sessions, leading to participation and high-quality performance in local, regional and provincial demonstrations and competitions; initiated school coding club for Grade 4s and 5s, and helps with the Grade 6 and 7 robotics club.

Outstanding achievements

  • Founded school chess club 17 years ago for students in grades 3 to 7, learning the game along with the children, teaching critical thinking skills and encouraging experienced players to become mentors for beginners; 30 percent of students in these grades take part.
  • Led four teacher research projects highlighting STEM education; shared her innovative practices and findings with teachers, administrators, and provincial and teacher's association experts.
  • Introduced new technologies and technology-related opportunities to fellow educators, such as Memorial University's Teachers in Action inquiry program; involvement in special interest councils helps connect learning across the curriculum with technology.

Get in touch!

St. Matthew's School
119 Cowan Avenue
St. John's NL A1E 4W4

Twitter: @stmattstigers

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