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Alexandre (Sacha) Noukhovitch: Fostering talent among natural data scientists

Note: Some footage used in this video was filmed prior to the pandemic and may not depict social distancing measures.

Transcription – Sacha Noukhovitch - 2020 Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM

[Close-up of man in an interview setting. Music playing.]

"Technology made education life long, and 24/7. It simply – it's important to recognize that we are not the only educators anymore."

[Fade to black and then up to white with medium shot of man, smiling, on the left side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the right: Alexandre Sacha Noukovitch, Earl Haig Secondary School, Toronto, Ontario. Fade to black and then up to close-up of Sacha in the interview setting.]

"Today we're dealing with a new generation of learners, and when we're meeting in class it is just one element of learning. Our students are learning all the time from their apps. Students are learning all the time from devices like Fitbit, which is introducing them to the elements of physiology. The goal of the learning in class now is not to – kind of to give the knowledge, but actually to feed into the information, and into the knowledge acquisition. And bring the culture of education to everything what is happening with students."

[Fade to black and then up to Sacha in the interview setting.]

"When we discuss any of the topics I invite them to find who can do better. And it is always a competition. If they can do better then I explain it. It is their win. If they found some source on the internet who is doing better than me or them it is again win-win situation because we are all learning."

[Fade to black and then up to Sacha in the interview setting.]

"Generation of – this and probably all the generations which will be coming, they are analytics by nature. So it's us to help them with technical skills, with math, with some kind of criteria. And that is what makes today's education so interesting."

[Fade to black, with the Government of Canada FIP and then the Canada Wordmark appearing in white.]

Year: 2020 — Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Earl Haig Secondary School
Computer Science, Computer Engineering, grades 10 to12
Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Noukhovitch has helped me, along with many other students, realize how much potential we possess, and the impact we could have on a global scale.


Sacha Noukhovitch's influence can be felt throughout the Toronto District School Board, across Canada and around the world through the programs and learning opportunities he has developed. But Earl Haig students flock to his classes for his engaging approach, commitment to excellence and caring manner.

Teaching approach

With differentiated instruction and personalized learning opportunities, and an emphasis on critical analysis and student-led inquiry, Sacha pushes students to take action and initiative, to step out of their comfort zones and risk doing things differently to find ways to improve current structures and reimagine solutions to problems.

STEM in the classroom

  • Emphasizes multidisciplinary application of technology: students authored a learning and science resource tool to aggregate science blogs, news stories and videos; the Science of Snowflakes introduces Grade 9s to scientific experiments through computer modelling and engages arts students in computer science.
  • Motivates female students interested in STEM: all-female teams do high-level computational research (one team won a national big data challenge); supports his school's all-girls robotics club; partners female and gender-marginalized students with Dames Making Games to tackle the gender gap in building online games.
  • Focuses on ensuring equitable access to STEM opportunities: supported ESL student taking difficult course; finds resources for students in line with their learning styles and interests; matched Grade 11s and 12s from marginalized communities with top researchers to gain exposure to science and technology careers.
  • Extends learning beyond the classroom through numerous school clubs: robotics to dive into engineering and programming; big data to explore using computational thinking and problem solving to tackle environmental and socio-economic challenges; Cyber Café a student-run safe environment for peer mentoring to promote digital literacy and computer education.

Outstanding achievements

  • Acts as board technology leader: introduced the CISCO Academy program, developed online research co-op curriculum and piloted it for two years at former school; promotes data science and data analysis tools and curriculum; brought SAS products and curriculum, learning resources and industry certification to all schools.
  • Founded the STEM Fellowship, a non-profit network of 300-plus students at 17 universities and dozens of high schools that helps students develop data sciences and scholarly writing skills through experiential learning and mentorship programs.
  • Founded and is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Student Science and Technology—a scholarly publication offering PhD review and citation of high school, and university student ideas and research.
  • Partnered with First Nations organizations for a big data inquiry and a two-week experiential learning summer program for rural and First Nations youth focused on climate change and its impact on Lake Huron and water quality for First Nations communities.

Get in touch!

Earl Haig Secondary School
100 Princess Avenue
Toronto ON  M2N 3R7

Twitter: @earlhaigss, @STEM_Fellowship; Facebook: @STEMFellowship

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