Two Red Deer teachers with innovative approaches to education have scored big in a national magazine award contest.
Amy Nye, a Grade 3 and 4 teacher at Ecole Barrie Wilson Elementary School, and Karen Sveinson, a Grade 6-8 counsellor and teacher at Central Middle School, each won $2,500 for school programming and supplies.
They are top winners of the 10th-annual Canadian Family Teacher Awards. It’s a national program for which teachers are nominated, short-listed by a panel of experts, and then judged by online voters to determine three winners.
Sveinson was nominated for creating school programs that promote empathy, equity, kindness and unity in students. She supports initiatives for anti-bullying, sex and gender diversity, mental health education and foreign aid.
Central Middle School principal Darren DeMale called the award “an awesome achievement,” saying Sveinson is a “wonderful” staff members and is very deserving of the recognition.
The school counsellor does a lot of work with at-risk students, running a Diverse Voices club for minority youths, including a gay-straight alliance, and a cooking class where food is supplied to kids in need, who then made their lunches for themselves.
Sveinson also organizes Grade 8 mentoring for Grade 6 students, an empowerment club for girls, a skateboarding club and other initiatives, said DeMale, who believes she brings kids together in many successful ways.
Nye was nominated for her innovative, individually tailored methods of inspiring students. She focuses on critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration, and has used meditation and mindfulness practises to help students overcome anger, anxiety and emotional stress.
“She’s very deserving and works very hard,” said Barrie Wilson vice-principal Rhonda Eidem. She noted Nye is always looking for ways of boosting student interest and improving their scores.
Besides helping with staff professional development in technology, she created a student math app and encourages students who want to use technology for their presentations. “They have responded very well,” said Eidem.