Archived—Meet the Teachers
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Certificate of Excellence recipients
The 1997 Certificate of Excellence recipients are listed here by province, along with a short description of them and some of their award-winning teaching ideas.
St. John's, Newfoundland
Brenda Rowe-Bartlett of Bishops College in St. John's was the driving force behind the school's new traditional-style galley for student artworks (The Treasury). This gallery attracts visitors from all over the city and surrounding areas, who are amazed by the calibre of artistic merit produced by adolescents in levels I, II and III (Grade 10, 11 and 12 students) of the high school art program. The presence of the gallery on site at Bishops College reinforces the artistic aspirations and aesthetic abilities of art students within the entire Avalon East School Board, in addition to those at Bishops itself. Visiting art professors from Canadian universities and graduates from art programs across Canada are equally impressed with the aesthetic and artistic output from these young artists. Many former students have enrolled in fine arts programs at university and have gone on to sell their works.
Herzliah High School
Herzliah High School in Montreal is far from ordinary. The students at this trilingual school study everything from the very foundations of Western culture to its latest scientific achievements. The first of these is covered in the school's Hebrew studies program and the latter is the responsibility of Yofi Sadaka, Head of the Science Department.
Ms. Sadaka is always pushing her students to new heights. They are perennial winners in science fairs and last year reached an apogee when their experiment on the formation of barium sulphate precipitate was performed on the space station Mir.
Ms. Sadaka teaches in both French and English and has worked for the province's education ministry analysing the discrepancies in student performance on ministry science examinations between the French and English sectors.
Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute
Writer, editor, presenter, teacher and teacher of teachers, Pat Bell is known throughout her school, the province, the country and internationally for efforts in the teaching of Latin. Her teaching awards and scholarships testify to her international status among educators. Ms. Bell is that rarity who combines serious scholarship, imaginative ideas and loving attitudes in one person. She gives her students knowledge, understanding and compassion, challenging them to expand their horizons and try their talents in new areas. She has earned the greatest respect of her peers and the love of her students and their parents.
Ms. Bell spends many hours supervising preparations for the Ontario Student Classics Conference, a provincial athletic, academic and creative Latin competition. Her well-organized and informative biannual Classical Tour of Italy is in high demand both at Centennial Collegiate Vocational Institute and among other Ontario Latin teachers. The effects of her efforts pervade the school, as her students choose classical themes for French class presentations, English creative writing, artwork and architectural drafting.
Allan A. Martin Senior Public School
Give Randy Cook and Maureen Flynn the chance to develop something new and they will shoot for the top. The two Mississauga teachers jumped at the opportunity to create the International Business and Technology (IBT) program and now students are lining up to get in.
The program, offered at Allan A. Martin Senior Public School, is designed to create self-directed learners by encouraging adolescents to use technology and launch entrepreneurial ventures. The program is cross-curricular, and students are evaluated on standards of behaviour and responsibility developed in consultation with the corporate community.
An optional program, IBT began with 120 Grade 7 students in 1995 and grew to 240 the next year when the program expanded to include Grade 8 students. Since then the number of staff delivering the program has been doubled to accommodate the growing student body.
Creative Inquiry Centre
William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute
North York, Ontario
The Creative Inquiry Centre at William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute in North York is where you will find Richard Ford creating a new style of education. Instead of teaching in the conventional sense, he encourages students to discover for themselves what they can do, and how to do it. He coaches, suggests and facilitates. He continuously extends the limits of education, pioneering new partnerships between business, government and students.
Under his guidance, students participated in the recent G-7 conference in Halifax by video conference, created the Metro Hazardous Waste Materials instructional video, and ran a multimedia conference by and for students.
Mr. Ford's teaching style fosters cooperative and self-directed learning, essential in the fast-changing technological environment. Student achievement is remarkable. Even classes with students speaking many mother tongues work together to produce professional quality materials for outside clients.
St. Elizabeth Elementary School
For 17 years of her 29-year teaching career, Dalia Naujokaitis, an elementary teacher at St. Elizabeth School in Ottawa, has challenged students and teachers to meet the rapidly changing demands of an information-oriented society. She has been using computers as an educational tool with all her students, both gifted learners and those with special needs, since 1981.
Her classroom is a dynamic place where cooperative learning and on-line collaboration with other schools around the world are everyday activities. With her students, Ms. Naujokaitis has created and managed nine GrassRoots programs through SchoolNet. Her program for gifted learners for grades 4, 5 and 6, draws students from 22 schools around the city. The students spend one day a week in her class.
Using the skills and information they gain there, they frequently return to train students and teachers at their home school in the uses of the Internet, web page design, and environmental or social action programs.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute
Chemistry Department Head Bob Sanders of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute — a 33-year-old high school in Scarborough — is a firm believer in the value of hands-on learning. The school is a microcosm of the challenges of multiculturalism. Of its 1300 students, one third were born outside Canada. Gaps in these students' education caused by disruptions in their home countries, as well as language difficulties, present special challenges to teachers.
Mr. Sanders uses "kitchen chemistry" to hook students' interest while teaching theory, and plenty of lab work to hold their interest and suit different learning styles and abilities. His high standards and expectations result in students being well prepared for university and community college courses.
A tireless organizer and contributor to professional development, he is a pioneer in integrating computer technology into every level of the science curriculum, using CD-ROMs, dissection simulations, and other software in exciting and creative ways. These computer programs supplement the classroom and lab lessons, providing a wider range of experience than the equipment and budget available would otherwise allow. Increased enrolment in science classes, the enthusiasm of students and the calibre of their work all attest to Mr. Sanders' teaching excellence.
G. A. Wheable Centre for Adult Education
Daniel Thorsley of the G. A. Wheable Centre for Adult Education in London is a dynamic and captivating teacher of science, chemistry and physics. He has the ability to interact well with students of all ages.
Eager to create learning experiences for all students, Mr. Thorsley employs as many ways as possible to have students see the knowledge and skills they are learning in a different way. For example, he makes use of discrepant events — an experiment in which common sense predicts one outcome but the activity produces another. For the same reason, he develops curriculum-based contests in the London area. He has been involved in the local science fair for more than 20 years and in the London Science Olympics for almost as long.
Mr. Thorsley is a leader in science education in the London area. He writes computer programs to illustrate chemistry and physics concepts. He has computerized the registration and attendance procedures required for adult education. He publishes a newsletter called SCIENCE2000 to keep schools and community leaders up to date on what is happening in science in London. He is chair of the committee that will host the Canada-wide Science Fair in London in the year 2000.
Bishop Pinkham Junior High School and Louis Riel School
John Dupuis of Bishop Pinkham Junior High School and Cal Kullman of Louis Riel School in Calgary are two outstanding science and environmental education teachers. They both have science degrees and extensive experience in summer field work, and have taught for the Calgary Board of Education at the junior high school level (grades 7 through 9) — Mr. Dupuis for seven years and Mr. Kullman for 15.
Teaching science and environmental awareness allows them to combine their appreciation of outdoor activity and the natural environment with their enjoyment of working with young people. They share an impressive list of accomplishments in their work with students. Among their projects are hundreds of field trips, an in-school climbing wall, a mobile cross-country ski program and summer science camps.
The River Watch Science Program is their most successful project to date. Originally based in Calgary, the program now runs on eight Alberta rivers with nearly 4000 students annually. A River Watch website reports on developments and findings of the program. The popularity of their programs demonstrates the talent, commitment and leadership of Mr. Dupuis and Mr. Kullman.
Ross Sheppard High School
Dr. Frank Jenkins, a chemistry teacher at Ross Sheppard High School in Edmonton, has spent his 30-year career helping students grasp the nature of science. He believes this is the key to developing a solid understanding of how science, technology and society mesh every day.
His classroom programs hone students' ability to think and solve problems. In one exercise, they read an article from a chemistry journal and highlight the language the scientist uses to express uncertainty and to appeal to authority. For example, the scientist might indicate uncertainty by writing "tentative results indicate," "based upon this one study" and "until further studies are completed." The authority might be identified by statements such as "according to the Lewis molecular theory," "based on the law of conservation of mass" and "according to the evidence gathered in this experiment." The challenge for the students then is to apply this process to their chemistry textbook and their teacher's oral and written lessons and tests (after, of course, the teacher has gained enough consciousness of and confidence in his or her scientific language). In such ways "Dr. J" involves his students in exploring new chemistry and epistemology concepts — simultaneously.
Austin O'Brien High School
Austin O'Brien High School's profile in the community was raised considerably when Garry Kroy took control of the Career and Technology program in the early 1990s. His students have achieved international recognition and their success has helped attract more students to the school, which had been suffering from declining enrolment.
Mr. Kroy created a laboratory where students can use technology, which encompasses traditional and state-of-the-art tools and computers, and learn about possible careers. He laid the foundations for more than 90 learning modules in which students explore career options.
Students from all fields — from sciences to drama and art — and of all learning abilities use the lab regularly. Mr. Kroy also developed a modular system so that students can follow a program of their own choosing that gives them the skills they need to make future career choices.
Robert Bateman Secondary School
Abbotsford, British Columbia
Bill Henderson, Head of Technology Education at Robert Bateman Secondary School in Abbotsford, has three attributes of a great teacher: vision — he has the ability to foresee and take advantage of advances in technology and teaching strategies; commitment — he is intent on helping his students develop to their fullest potential, and on contributing to the development of technology education province-wide; and a love of learning — he regularly upgrades his skills and recently received his master's of education in curriculum development.
Mr. Henderson's Design Communication and Information Technology programs are popular and highly successful. Classes work on projects for community and industry partners. With this experience and exposure, students have moved directly from Grade 12 into highly skilled jobs. DigiFest, an annual conference initiated by Mr. Henderson, supports this by bringing students, teachers and industry leaders together to keep curriculum relevant and contemporary.
Maple Ridge Secondary School
Maple Ridge, British Columbia
Ted McCain of Maple Ridge Secondary School in Maple Ridge is an energetic and vocal proponent of new technology in education. He stresses its potential for individualized learning, integration of disciplines, quick access to new information and the development of critical thought. He regularly updates colleagues and parents on new developments, delivers speeches and leads workshops. He is closely involved in curriculum design in his school district and province. Courses created by Mr. McCain have become models for technology education across the country.
In his Computer Science, Work Experience and Knowledge Architecture classes, he practises what he preaches by coaching his students rather than teaching them. He frequently poses as an uninformed customer, questioning his class to highlight the need for students to think creatively and to have a firm grasp of concepts. He provides hands-on experience, real-life work training and advanced academic challenges; his students thrive.
Brookswood Secondary School
Langley, British Columbia
Dawne Tomlinson of Brookswood Secondary School in Langley created and runs an extremely successful film/television production program that is the envy of schools across Canada. Through arrangements with Rogers Community TV, she gives secondary school students opportunities usually available only to those in prestigious film schools. She started the program five years ago and found space in an unused welding workshop at the school to set up the "BackStreet" Studio. The students who go through the program are in high demand in the television and film industry for jobs after graduation.
Ms. Tomlinson is the driving force behind a number of other innovative projects. She started a peer counselling program, training interested students to give personal support to others, as well as Klown Kids, a travelling troupe of junior students who perform at elementary schools.
F. H. Collins Secondary School
Robert Sharp has been involved in Yukon education for the past 30 years as a teacher, administrator, researcher and curriculum developer. During this period, Mr. Sharp became increasingly interested in finding ways to make education more engaging and effective for a wide variety of students.
He has created a school within a school at F. H. Collins Secondary School in Whitehorse. The Experiential Science 11 program he developed was designed to engage students and increase the value of their educational experiences. The program integrates seven subjects around a variety of study themes. Mr. Sharp's students face an intense but varied program that includes more than 35 field days every semester and two days each week working in college science labs.
Engaging students in real problems and field studies has proven to be very popular and successful: only one student has withdrawn from the program in four years and attendance has averaged more than 95 percent. More than one third of his students are on the honour roll, and another third improve their marks from Grade 10 by more than 10 percent. Mr. Sharp also ensures that a wide variety of students can take his course. He bases admission on attitudes as well as marks.
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