Six BC Educators Win in the 2019 National Inclusive Education Awards

New Westminster, B.C., May 24, 2019 – Six B.C. educators have been named as recipients of the 2019 National Inclusive Education Awards. The awards are held annually and hosted by Inclusion BC, the Family Support Institute of BC and Inclusive Education Canada.

The winners received their awards in Victoria today at Inclusion BC’s annual conference, Inclusion 2019.

The awards honour teachers, support staff and educational leaders who are doing amazing things to ensure that all students, especially those with special needs, are given full access to education and included in all aspects of school life. This year’s winners include classroom teachers from elementary schools in Oliver and Maple Ridge, three educational assistants from New Westminster Secondary School, and the registrar at the University of Victoria.

View the backgrounder below for more information about each winner.

Kim Moffat, Oliver B.C.

Teacher Kim Moffat is a “champion for inclusion” at Senpaq’cin (SenPokChin) Elementary School in Oliver B.C., and one of two award winners for Inclusive Teaching. Moffat teaches Grade 5 and works with the entire class to ensure that every student is included, welcomed, and respected in class activities. “Kim has nurtured an environment of compassion and understanding, where classmates look out for each other and care for each other,” says school principal, Val Allen.

Photo: Karla Verschoor, Kim Moffat, Angela Clancy

Carissa Keenan, Maple Ridge, B.C.

The second Inclusive Teaching winner is Carissa Keenan, a Grade 5/6 teacher at Harry Hooge Elementary School in Maple Ridge B.C. Keenan is being honoured for her ability to inspire students to work and learn together in a positive and inclusive environment. The school’s Vice-Principal Elena Digiovanni says, “Her passion is contagious and she inspires all around her to be the best that they can be.”

Photo above: Karla Verschoor, Carissa Keenan, Angela Clancy

Jenine Grass, Ann Negrin and Sarah Negrin, New Westminster, B.C.

The Inclusion Support award is being given to a team of educational assistants, Jenine Grass, Ann Negrin and Sarah Negrin, who work together at New Westminster Secondary School. Their advocacy for inclusion, and their compassion and dedication, are transforming the lives of the students at the school. “It started with trust, a connection, a professionalism and a dedication,” says New Westminster parent, Laurie Scouten, who is very thankful for “extra hearts and voices” that make such a wonderful difference for her daughter’s education.

Wendy Taylor, Victoria, B.C.

The 2019 winner for Educational Leadership is Wendy Taylor, the registrar at the University of Victoria. As the registrar, Taylor opens the doors to the University for students with diverse learning needs. She is also shaping and implementing policy, while building connections and awareness.


Photo: Karla Verschoor, Wendy Taylor, Angela Clancy

“These award-winning educators are doing great work,” says Angela Clancy, Executive Director of the Family Support Institute.  “They have demonstrated a deep understanding of the link between social development, emotional security and academic achievement. And they have shown an unwavering commitment to their students – making sure they felt safe, valued, welcomed and included in all aspects of school life.”

“We are very proud of our award winners this year,” says Inclusion BC Executive Director Karla Verschoor.  “They are showing how openness, creativity, and respect for diversity can create an inclusive educational environment — for every student — from the first day of kindergarten all the way through to university graduation.”About the National Inclusive Educational Awards

The annual Inclusive Education Awards are presented in partnership with Inclusive Education Canada to recognize individuals or groups nominated by their communities who initiate or support unique opportunities that enrich inclusive educational experiences. We look for the following key indicators of excellence in inclusive education practice:

  • Students fully participate with peers in all school opportunities, in and out of the classroom
  • All students are valued and encouraged to build on their abilities
  • No label-based limitations
  • School-wide culture and leadership

About Inclusion BC

Inclusion BC is a provincial federation whose members include community agencies, families and self-advocates, and which has led the movement away from institutions since 1955. We are dedicated to advancing rights, promoting abilities and building awareness as we work to support full citizenship and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Our vision is a world in which we all belong. For more, visit inclusionbc.org.

Backgrounder

Winners of 2019 Inclusive Education Awards

Category: Inclusive Teaching

Kim Moffat, Grade 5 Teacher, Senpaq’cin (SenPokChin) School, Oliver BC

Kim Moffat is a “champion for inclusion” who teaches at Senpaq’cin, an independent, International Baccalaureate First Nations Elementary school operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band in Oliver BC. Moffat has taught at the school for over 9 years. She embraces the International Baccalaureate philosophy of student-driven learning and uses it to inspire her class and allow each student to work at their own level. She engages her classes in group discussions about inclusion and disabilities, and she models compassion and understanding to create an environment where every student feels they belong.

Kim works to make sure students of all abilities are meaningfully included in activities inside and outside of the classroom. She collaborates with other teachers to find positive solutions to ensure students throughout the school are receiving a, inclusive, high quality education.

Moffat uses creativity and empowerment to help her students learn and develop. When one student was having difficulty regulating his behaviour and staying in the classroom, Moffat worked with other teachers to support the student to become a mentor for younger students who faced similar challenges. This helped the student transform his identity so that he was seen as a problem-solver and a leader.

“Kim has nurtured an environment of compassion and understanding, where classmates look out for each other and care for each other,” says school principal, Val Allen, who describes Kim as a “tireless advocate for inclusive education.”

Carissa Keenan, Grade 5/6 Teacher, Harry Hooge Elementary School, Maple Ridge, BC

Carissa Keenan inspires the students at Harry Hooge Elementary School to work together, learn together, and have fun together. By encouraging her students to follow and share their curiosities, she ignites their desire to learn and creates a sense of belonging to the community of the classroom.

Keenan knows how to turn problems into opportunities. When one of her students was so focused on the loss of a pet fish that it was causing relationship problems with other classmates, she turned the problem upside down, bought a pet fish for the class, and assigned all the students to care for it. The fish that was once a barrier became a bridge, fostering acceptance and belonging in the classroom.

“Carissa brings an embracing and inclusive emergent learning perspective to her classroom,” says the school’s Vice-Principal Elena Digiovanni. “Her passion is contagious and she inspires all around her to be the best that they can be… She has transformed the energy and culture of the school by her dynamic presence and power to create positive change in all students.”

Category: Inclusive Support

Jenine Grass, Ann Negrin and Sarah Negrin, New Westminster Secondary School, New Westminster, BC

Jenine Grass, Ann Negrin and Sarah Negrin make meaningful inclusion happen every day. As Educational Assistants in the Foundations for Success Program at New Westminster Secondary School, they provide support and help students engage with school programs and with the larger community. Their advocacy and dedication have transformed the lives of the students and their school.

The New Westminster team shows how effective support can sometimes be as simple as asking the right questions, like “How is this helping the student?” and “How can we work together on this?”
“It started with trust, a connection, a professionalism and a dedication,” says parent, Laurie Scouten. “Jenine Grass was able to communicate to Abby [our daughter], in a way that Abby understood.” This was the beginning of a transformation for her daughter. “Ann Negrin understands, advocates and put into practice ‘balance’. She knows that learning within the four walls of a classroom has to be balanced with learning outside the classroom.” Scouten is thankful for “extra hearts and voices” that this team put forward for her daughter. “Sarah Negrin… exemplifies the collaboration and communications that Foundations educational assistants pride themselves on.”

Category: Education Leadership

Wendy Taylor, University Registrar, University of Victoria, Victoria BC

Wendy Taylor is opening doors for every student at the University of Victoria. As the registrar, she has helped shape and implement policies that are removing barriers to post secondary education for students with intellectual disabilities. Taylor works closely with STEPS Forward, the BC initiative for Inclusive Post Secondary Education to ensure students are not just accessing classes, but also all aspects of university life: clubs, employment, social activities.

She is currently working with Alumni Relations to help students stay connected after graduation and collaborating with STEPS Forward on a work study proposal that would help students access employment on campus.

“Wendy’s proven leadership in inclusive education at UVic, is shown not only in her willingness to make change policy,” says Mikaila Montgomery, from Inclusive Post-Secondary Partnership, “but in her excitement to facilitate connection between the initiative of other leaders on campus… which is crucial to the success of students being fully included on campus.”