For the past several years the Avon Maitland District School Board has honoured individuals with the “Key Contribution Awards”. After updating the Board’s Strategic Plan last fall and adopting the new Mission Statement, “Engage, Inspire, Innovate … Always Learning”, the name of the awards were changed to “The Always Learning Awards”. The Always Learning Awards continue to build on the legacy of the Key Contribution Awards of previous years to recognize outstanding contributions to the Board and education. The awards were initiated by trustees 6 years ago as a way of acknowledging members of the whole school community: staff, students, parents, volunteers, community members.
The purpose of the awards is to honour those who make an outstanding contribution towards the achievement of one or more aspects of the Board’s Strategic Plan. Each year at the Awards Presentation the Board also recognizes employees for their years of service. Celebrating these milestones in service by staff was initiated by trustees as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Avon Maitland District School Board in 2007.
Employees at every 5 years of service, 5, 10 and 15 years, are recognized at the school level, while those who have served 20+ years are recognized at the district level at this event. It is the Board’s way of showing how much it values the long term commitment and contribution of our staff.
Here are some video highlights of the event held Wednesday, April 17, 2013 in Seaforth.
Always Learning Awards
Michel Allard, Community Volunteer at Romeo Public School
Michel is a retired music teacher whose initial involvement at Romeo began through partnership with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. Through this partnership, Michel began an after school drumming group and recorder club with junior students. As well as building musical appreciation on the part of students, his school involvement also provided Romeo students with much needed accessible activities, opportunities that many families would not have been able to financially provide for their children. Although Michel’s involvement with Romeo through BBBS came to an end, he expressed interest in remaining actively involved as a music volunteer to continue his association with Romeo students.
Michel expanded his volunteer time to enhance the current music program with all students Kindergarten to Grade 6. For the past 2 years, Michel has been in the school once a week to sing and support all students in playing musical instruments such as glockenspiels, recorders, boom whackers and hand bells. Many parents have had the opportunity to get to know and appreciate Michel as he is a familiar face at many assemblies, concerts and caroling events. Michel’s passion and enthusiasm for music and love of teaching is evident through his interactions with students and he is well respected by staff, students and parents. For all of these reasons, Michel is being awarded an Always Learning Award in 2013.
Tracy Bachellier, Community Volunteer at Hamlet Public School
Tracy has been a longtime supporter of public education. At Hamlet Public School she was a member of School Council, the Chair for three years running and was always working to improve the lives of students. She also chaired the Stratford Regional School Council for two years and in so doing brought diverse councils together. She attended several conferences around Ontario to expand her understanding of the power of School Councils. She was a member the Parent Involvement Committee from its inception and led the group to their first Avon Maitland Parent Ignite event held at the Arden Park last year celebrating education in a variety of ways.
Tracy was also an active member of the writing committee for “Involving Parents in the School: Tips for School Councils” which can now be found in schools throughout Ontario. Tracy was also an active community member during the Stratford Accommodation Review Committee Process. This is a mere sampling of the many ways that Tracy Bachellier has been involved in public education, but there is one commonality in all of the projects that Tracy has undertaken and that is to support parents so children thrive. For that reason Tracy has been selected as a recipient of an Always Learning Award.
Don Macintyre and David Mitchell, Little Falls Public School Bus Drivers
David and Don, bus drivers for Little Falls, are valued members of the school community. At Christmas time they freely donated to support efforts to buy presents for 21 needy students. They know all the children by name and they tell each student to have a great day when they are getting off the bus. The students thank Don and Dave for a safe ride! Don and Dave will ask where certain students are if they are not on the bus – they know who is missing. When the “Bucket Filling Program” was instituted at Little Falls both bus drivers wished to participate. They watched to see who was helping other students and rewarded them for their extra efforts. They told the student why they were getting a “Bucket Filler.”
Don and Dave care about the students at Little Falls, and can both be seen giving treats to the students on special days. Don will cut out articles from the local paper about students on his bus and give them to students with praise for what they have done. Dave drove to school in January dressed in pyjamas for Pyjamas Day. The job of driving bus is more than a job to Don and Dave. Their passengers are their children while on the bus. When they discipline students it is with dignity and respect – as good parents would. They want the students to realize they are role models for the younger students. They are helping to build a community of character at Little Falls Public School, and are being awarded an Always Learning Award in recognition of their contribution in this area.
Gloria Elliott and Karen van der Voort, Maitland River ES – Wingham Campus Custodial Team
Gloria and Karen experienced five schools come together into one building when grades 2-6 of Maitland River elementary started at the Wingham campus. Prior to that, they dealt with the closing of Wingham Public. The hours of cleaning, sorting, compiling inventory, helping teachers move, and the many other jobs involved in the transition were endless. During all this activity they always managed to ENGAGE with the entire community, school teams, and transition teams to keep communication open, and met deadlines and goals. At the same time they also managed to complete their daily duties and support students. Gloria and Karen keep the school in immaculate shape.
They are always diligently working at keeping the building looking and performing at its best. Students and staff also pitch in to help and do their part to be proud of the facilities, This is because as Gloria and Karen care for the building, they INSPIRE everyone to be as motivated as they are to have Maitland River looking and performing at its best. If something is broken, whether it needs a quick fix or more work, these are the ladies to go to. They have proven themselves to be most willing INNOVATORS by doing whatever they can to help a staff member or student with a repair….and they are very creative. With amalgamation, Karen and Gloria now have a new, significantly larger staff to educate on procedures and routines specific to the building. As the culture of Maitland River Elementary School grows, so too does their role as the custodial team. Karen and Gloria continue to build relationships and problem solve with the staff and community, and are ALWAYS LEARNING.
Elaine Fielder, Technical Resource Assistant at Goderich District Collegiate Institute
Elaine Fielder represents every characteristic parents want in the people that their children interact with at school. She is an expert in her field and flawless in her role as TRA at GDCI. She is absolutely the go-to person for every technical question and problem in the school. Students know that when they approach Elaine with a question, concern, or technical problem (any problem, really!), they can count on at least 2 things: she will call them by name and she will have a positive and helpful response for them! Elaine is on the committee of every school event that recognizes excellence, academic or athletic, leadership or just doing what is expected. She helps the committee co-ordinate with the community, build the program, and generally does her part to ensure that the event is as perfect as possible. She helps extend the hands of the school into the community and, when it’s appropriate, vice versa.
There are many people who alumni remember from their high school years. Some are remembered for coaching, some for building, some for caring, and some for adding special touches to the lives of others. Elaine is remembered by everyone for all of these reasons, but especially for her sincerity and the genuine concern she has for the well-being and sound education of everyone she meets in the GDCI school community.
Roberta Machan, Community Volunteer at Holmesville Public School
Roberta Machan’s involvement with Holmesville Public School began as a junior teacher. Upon her retirement nine years ago, Roberta immediately volunteered to be the school’s ‘Band Mom’. She organizes many opportunities for the Holmesville school band to showcase their talent. These events include performing for: Dining for Seniors in Clinton, Seaforth and Goderich, various churches, Suncoast Mall, Clinton Fair Parade, the Bayfield Lighting of the Lights event and various school tours. Last year, Roberta made performing at Canada’s Wonderland happen for her students. Her efforts have helped ensure that the students value their community by giving them the opportunity to give of their time and talent to perform for others.
Roberta helps in washing, ironing and sorting the band shirts. She always has the music organized and ready for distribution, and also assists each year in collecting and filing the music again in June. She enthusiastically works with small instrumental groups and helps them with their tone and intonation to maximize every students’ outcome in music. Her pleasant and happy disposition is noticed by all students and staff at Holmesville. Students look for Mrs. Machan during band practices, and staff are always inspired they see her smile.Roberta sponsors the Music Award that is presented annually to a grade 8 student at Holmesville. Her priority as a volunteer has always been the students. As Holmesville school prepares to close, Roberta Machan will be at the core of all of the closing ceremonies and musical performances, dedicating her time and love for Holmesville.
Mark McIntosh, Music Teacher at Avon Public School
Mark McIntosh goes above and beyond his duties as a classroom music teacher. Every year for the past 20 years he has worked with any student willing to put in the time and enthusiasm to create an outstanding musical production. Mark gives the grade 4-6 students the opportunity to learn about theatre; from auditions, to practice to numerous performance opportunities. Not only does he work with the actors/singers but he also allows the students opportunities to participate as part of the stage crew. Students are never turned away … if someone wants to participate, they are part of the play. Each year, Avon’s beloved “Mr. Mac” uses innovation to engage and inspire students to try new things and cooperatively work on a project they can feel proud of.
Over the three year period a student is in the junior grades at Avon, they have the opportunity to try various plays. One year they may be a fish in the waters of “The Little Mermaid”, the next a peasant on the streets of “A Christmas Carol” or maybe one of “101 Dalmatians”, but they always know that they were part of something special – a Mr. Mac musical production. It’s an integral part of the “Avon Experience”, and for his contributions to the students at Avon Public School, we want to recognize Mark McIntosh as a recipient of an Always Learning Award for 2013.
Haley Stoll, Susan Faber, Christine Coombs and Paul Thomas – The Clinton Public School “Pitstop Team”
Haley Stoll, classroom teacher, Chris Coombs, Child and Youth Worker, Paul Thomas and Susan Faber, Educational Assistants, work within the Section 23 Program at Clinton Public School – known as The Pitstop Team. This group has the right balance of showing genuine caring and love to their students while still being firm, fair, structured and disciplined while nurturing eights students at a time who have, for whatever reason, not had success in the regular classroom. Haley, Chris, Paul and Sue teach the children the academics they need, in a highly individualized way, but also teach these children how to regulate their behavior. Students learn how to cope with both academic and social frustration and develop a set of skills that allow them to be successful in school and in the world around them. These students find comfort in this culture of acceptance and inclusion.
Students come into a safe learning and working environment in which they learn to collaborate. Some may see themselves as different from the “typical student” but in the Pitstop all student pathways and individuals are honoured. Once they have nurtured and supported their students in developing the social and academic skills necessary to succeed in their homeschool, they carefully transition them back. Like judicious parents who know when it is time to send a youth out to make his or her own way, so too does the Pitstop Team transition their students back to their home schools. This team of four is a model to follow for any classroom or school to follow in developing a caring, positive inclusive learning environment and for this reason they are being recognized tonight as recipients of an Always Learning Award.
Marlene Thornton, Grade Two Teacher at Bluewater Coast Elementary School
Since 1975, Marlene Thornton has been committed to inspiring and engaging students in her classroom. She is a teacher who knows how to get students reading. She has used a variety of reading programs, individual incentives and her natural enthusiasm to peak her student’s interest in reading and as a result, has set students up to be lifelong learners. Marlene embraces the newest Board initiatives and teaching strategies while keeping the best of what has been tried and tested over the years.
She engages her class with SmartBoard technology (which they love) and recently learned to use an iPad for the benefit of her students as well. As her willingness to try something new engages kids in meaningful ways, she loves to share her excitement about the ways her class is responding to her latest efforts in math or literacy. Her students have seen compassion and respect for differences in action as they have watched her model ways to include children in the class such as one classmate with Down Syndrome.
Marlene can often be found directing the primary and junior choirs, assisting with school musicals, or orchestrating a holiday concert. Her commitment to continual professional development as evidenced by the many Additional Qualification courses she has completed has benefited not only her very young students, but also the many student teacher candidates she has mentored over the years. Her wisdom and leadership is a welcome influence in lives of the children she teaches, and we are pleased tonight to recognize Marlene’s many contributions as a recipient of an Always Learning Award tonight.
Brett Vodden, Community Volunteer at Stephen Central Public School
Brett Vodden is a Produce Manager in Sobey’s in Grand Bend. He supports the daily fresh fruit and vegetable program at Stephen Central. On a weekly basis, he scans the flyers for the best deals in fresh fruit and vegetable products being offered for sale. Based on the school order, he fills and delivers the items free of charge knowing that he is helping with the nutritional levels of children at the school. He does this without Manager support and on his own time. His efforts have made a difference in the lives of children at the school. It is not uncommon to hear comments from the children like, “I have not had an orange in over a year”, or “we never get to have fresh fruit at our house because we can’t afford this”.
His efforts are helping to deal with child hunger, provision of fresh fruit and vegetables for children, and in the end promoting healthier eating practices though a healthy lifestyle that also combats childhood obesity. He is a true community partner honouring the attribute of engaging students though a healthy snack program as they face the challenges of an academic day. At Stephen there is 100% participation of all students in the Healthy Snack Program being prepared and delivered by the Healthy Snack Student Leaders. For his community leadership and impact on students, we are pleased to award Brett Vodden an Always Learning Award for 2013.
Years of Service Recognition
40 years of service
Glenn Roth, Bedford Public School
35 years of service
Elaine Fielder, Goderich District Collegiate Institute, Doris Robinson, F.E. Madill Elementary School
30 years of service
Betty Beer Vanrooy, Bluewater Coast Elementary School, Shelley Blackmore, Howick Public School, Heather Browning, Shakespeare Public School, Angela DeWeerd, Learning Resource Centre, Shelley King, Education Centre, Ruth Makrakis, Milverton Public School, Richard Oliver, Little Falls Public School, Kay Rathwell, South Huron District High School, Martin Ritsma, Stratford Northwestern Secondary School, Susan Stephenson, North Woods Elementary School
25 years of service
Susan Adair, Behaviour Resource Team, Carol Arnott, Milverton Public School, Catherine Beierling, Bluewater Coast Elementary School, Mary Bickley, Upper Thames Elementary School, Deborah Bryans, Learning Resource Centre, John Clarke, Goderich District Collegiate Institute, Debra Coates, Exeter Public School, Jane Corrigan, Goderich District Collegiate Institute, Barbara Cottle, Central Perth Elementary School, Brenda Coxon, Listowel District Secondary School, Paul Cronin, F.E.Madill Secondary School, Nancy Davis, St. Marys DCVI Elementary, Catherine de Zwart, Media Centre, Louise Dockstader, Goderich Public School, Denise Drinkwalter, Milverton Public School, Linda Farquhar, South Huron District High School, Pauline Howard, Elma Township Public School, Suzanne Irwin, F.E. Madill Secondary School, Andy Kerr, Education Centre, Dayna Knott, Education Centre, Susan Lawrence, St. Marys DCVI, Angela Leis, South Perth Centennial Public School, Merlin Leis, ETFO President, Ruth MacLennan, Bedford Public School, Ross MacSorley, Anne Hathaway Public School, Marilyn Malcho, Stratford Northwestern Secondary School, Margriet Masson, North Easthope Public School, Alice McDowell, Maitland River – Wingham Campus, George McEwan, Central Huron Secondary School, Brenda McEwin, Goderich District Collegiate Institute, Kimberly Mills, Little Falls Public School, Linda Morley, South Huron District High School, Anne Marie Pauli, Bedford Public School, Cheryl Peach, Maitland River – Turnberry Campus, William Price, Seaforth Public School, James Reuel, Listowel District Secondary School, Gloria Roe, Elma Township Public School, John Sercombe, Learning Resource Centre, Loree Skinner, Central Perth Elementary School, Douglas Stewart, Mitchell Distict High School, Nancy Stotts Jones, Stratford Central Secondary School, Sue Swan, Goderich District Collegiate Institute, Karen van der Voort, Maitland River – Wingham Campus, Sharon Van Veen, Elma Township Public School, Ruthann Waldick, St. Marys DCVI, Kim Walker, Maitland River – Wingham Campus, Terry Walker, F.E. Madill Secondary School, Sandra Yantzi-Thomas, Hamlet Public School, Christina Zold, Central Huron Secondary School