Making a difference

By June 8, 2012Uncategorised

We are truly fortunate to be able to get to know and to work with so many wonderful educators. There are so many stories that never make the media – and here is a quick snapshot of some of the good news just from this past week.

On Monday we attended the convocation at VIU for graduates of the third cohort from the MEDL program. Wendy Nixon Strothert, a music educator from Comox Valley was recognized as the gold medallist in the class. Wendy is a most deserving recipient of this award and what her VIU colleagues may remember most about her was her generosity in sharing her talents and her expertise with others. At the invitation of one of her VIU classmates, Wendy recently spent time in a neighbouring district working with choirs from a number of elementary schools, modelling for other choir leaders how to work with large groups of singers, and then conducted a mass choir performance as a culminating activity. This was right at the time when Wendy was pressured to finish her thesis and coursework.  She did it all with enormous class and we offer her our sincere thanks and congratulations.

Then we received the news that  long time network teacher, VIU grad and  Healthy Schools Leader, Lynn Brown has been recognized nationally for excellence in teaching physical education.  The PETE (Physical Education Teacher’s Excellence) award honours exceptional teachers (one from each province) for their excellence in teaching physical education and their ability to motivate children and youth to participate in physical activity. This award is the only national award in Canada that recognizes physical education teachers for their hard work and dedication in helping to build strong, healthy and physically active children. Congratulations, Lynn.

Lynn Brown – Excellence in Teaching

Next it was off to Smithers where teachers from both Bulkley Valley and Coast Mountains School District were sharing the results of their network inquiry work.  We were inspired to hear the ways in which learners of all ages are  becoming more engaged and enjoying more success. Consider grade 9 Math students being able to demonstrate their knowledge of key concepts by creating their own video clips and creating a class TV station through YouTube.  Or Grade  8 students who were reading with much greater enthusiasm and understanding as a result of their exposure to Aboriginal fiction and non fiction. And, then the intermediate students who were getting instant feedback on basic Math skills along with specific strategies for improvement as a result of a program designed by one of their teachers. Speed and accuracy were moving off the charts. The stories go on…. the girls group at a secondary school where senior girls were designing lessons and activities for younger girls connected to body image and healthy choices….these are the stories that must be told.

Here’s an image that will stick with us – Dave Margerm and his VP at Twain Sullivan Elementary School in Houston. This young man greeted us at the door, proudly showed us around the school, and was acknowledged by staff and students alike as the VP. He tries to emulate his principal in every way he can. Dave is now having to up his wardrobe to keep up  – and this boy knows what it is like to feel valued and respected.

Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged when all one reads in the media is of conflict and strife. There is so much more that needs to be told. At the convocation at VIU, Chancellor and national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Shawn Atleo, explained that in this language the word for love and pain are the same. Let’s make sure that the stories we tell about our schools and our learners reflect love – and the courage to make a difference.

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