Brockville – The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) honoured employees for innovation on Wednesday night through its Trustee Innovation Award Program.
The Board hosted the 2017 UCDSB Trustee Innovation Awards at its main office in Brockville. The annual award ceremony was first announced in November 2012 to recognize staff for innovative teaching and work practices. The intent of this program is to recognize innovative practices, which can be shared and used to improve the way the Board delivers education and other services to students. The first awards were presented in September 2013.
Staff honoured during the ceremony were:
Learning Partner Christopher Stewart: This Learning Partner is being recognized for his work while a teacher last year at North Grenville District High School (NGDHS). Chris is passionate about student achievement and his colleagues’ professional growth. While at NGDHS, Chris created a safe learning environment in his classroom that fostered collaboration for students and staff. Desks were arranged in groups of three or four and home-made whiteboards were mounted along the perimeter of the room to serve as vertical working spaces for collaboration, as part of an emphasis on the inquiry process to discuss and solve math problems. He is a leader in flipped learning both in his classroom and through presentations he has made at teaching conferences. Chris also initiated a grassroots collaborative professional learning group at NGDHS. In this environment, teachers examined a number of topics to find ways to improve student understanding. Topics examined included the physical learning environment, student-engaged assessment, instructional strategies; technology in education; and growth mindset teaching and assessment.
Teacher Sylvain Lamirande: This teacher at Rockland Public School was cited for experiential learning opportunities provided to his students which have helped them enhance literacy and math skills, and develop character. Most recently, Sylvain and his Grade 6 class developed a series of professionally produced commercials in partnership with a local radio station. The commercials publicized the Canada 150 celebrations at the school, which focused on “150 Acts of Kindness.” The commercials called on students to mark the Sesquicentennial through unselfish acts such as donating food to a local food bank, donating items to the Humane Society in lieu of offering birthday gifts, and donating to the Secret Hearts fundraiser for clean water in Kenya. The campaign encouraged the community to perform their own acts of kindness and post details on the school’s Facebook page.
System Principal of Teaching and Learning Shelly Corlyon: This system Principal of Teaching and Learning was recognized for her outstanding work leading the team that developed the Renewed Mathematics Strategy (RMS) for the Upper Canada District School Board. In her role, Shelly facilitates professional learning for principals and teachers in the all-important area of mathematics. Her team showed teachers innovative ways to leverage technology to support student monitoring. To support school leaders and teachers in gathering quantitative evidence of their students’ learning journey, her team demonstrated the use of Class One Note, Microsoft Forms and Office Snip. Teachers and administrators from every school were provided training on these technologies and most are now using them to capture student learning. Through her work she is transforming assessment to better inform the method and practice of teaching. Shelly also represented the Board at the face-to-face Renewed Mathematics Strategy session in Toronto and presented a video depicting a synopsis of the layered and nuanced math implementation plan developed this year. The video was previewed by more than half of the boards in Ontario and participants were impressed by the concise, in-depth and insightful representation of professional learning in mathematics.
Kindergarten Teacher Johanna Charbonneau, Kindergarten Teacher Julie Hunt, Registered Early Childhood Educator Amy Brown and Registered Early Childhood Educator Donna Ross: This kindergarten team was honoured for leading the Toniata Happiness Project during the 2016-2017 school year. Kindergarten students from Toniata Public School conducted a community experiment. They postulated that if they gave someone a picture of the sun drawn by a kindergartener, it would bring them happiness. Initial testing proved their theory. The class took it to the next level by painting images of the sun on rocks and displaying them at locations throughout the city of Brockville and surrounding communities with the support of community partners. Area residents were encouraged to play a giant game of I Spy around the City of Brockville to find and locate the “Happiness Rocks” as well as post pictures on Facebook.
Lead Custodian Jim Barber: This lead custodian at Duncan J. Schoular Public School is being recognized as an innovative problem solver. Jim has employed coat hangers to gain access to cars whose owners have locked keys inside. He has fixed dozen of pairs of glasses with spare parts, safety pins, a spot of glue or duct tape – reducing the anxiety of affected students. He ensured one-touch taps were installed in the bathrooms to make it easier for students to save water. He has cleared headphone jack sockets on school computers, and even retrieved a drain plug from a storm sewer using yarn and a magnet.
Featured Photo: Former North Grenville District High School (NGDHS) teacher and current Learning Partner Christopher Stewart, front row centre, is pictured with his award. Pictured with Stewart in the front row are Trustee Lisa Swan and NGDHS Principal Derek Cole. Standing in the back row, left to right, are Director Stephen Sliwa, Chair Jeff McMillan and Superintendent David Coombs.