Inclusive Education

Vancouver teachers receive national education award for inclusion

Two teachers from Simon Fraser Elementary School in Vancouver will receive 2017 National Inclusive Education Awards from the Canadian Association for Community Living and Inclusion BC.

New Westminster, B.C., June 8, 2017 – Two teachers from Simon Fraser Elementary School in Vancouver, Monika Martinkova and Joyita Rubin, will receive 2017 National Inclusive Education Awards from the Canadian Association for Community Living and Inclusion BC.

Nominations for the annual awards are invited as part of Inclusive Education Month every February to celebrate the many successful inclusive classrooms and schools supporting diverse learners across the country.

Simon Fraser Elementary in Vancouver, B.C. has 310 Kindergarten to Grade seven students, about 10% of whom have special needs, and describes itself as a “highly inclusive” school with a focus on success for all learners. 9

Monika Martinkova

Teaching to a diverse class of grade one students, Monika Martinkova uses a range of strategies and practices to ensure that each student feels valued and is fully included in all activities, both in the classroom and beyond.

Parents Sherri and Warren have seen their son (who has special needs) flourish in Marinkova’s classroom. “Inclusion is infused in everything she does as a teacher and she strongly believes and practices it, as a benefit to both our son and her entire class,” say Sherri and Warren. “Many parents have commented to me that their children are learning how to support our son and how to be a friend and that Ms. Martinkova is central to that learning.”

When Martinkova learned in the summer that Sherri and Warren’s son would be attending her class, she provided them with materials to facilitate his transition to her class. She invited Sherri to come to the class early in the year to meet her son’s classmates and talk to them about how to communicate with him and support him as a friend.

Martinkova adapts classroom activities to allow students with special needs to participate in their own way. She works closely with other professionals in the school ensure all students are fully included and reaching their potential. This often means integrating her classroom program with the students’ out-of-school programming and collaborating with colleagues to provide resources and strategies for meaningful inclusion.

Joyita Rubin

Grade four teacher Joyita Rubin enthusiastically teaches to her diverse classroom that includes students of all abilities. She goes above and beyond, spending hours of her own time adapting programs and projects so that students of all learning abilities can participate.

One parent writes, “I have never met anyone like her. She teaches to all levels and abilities and communicates regularly and effectively with all the students’ parents.” By nurturing a culture of inclusion, Rubin has helped the children develop empathy and respect, learning in an environment where “everyone works together and lends a hand.”

“My son has progress by leaps and bounds this year and much of it can be directly attributed the dedication Ms. Rubin has shown to ensure her classroom is an inclusive and nurturing environment.”

The 2017 award will be presented at Inclusion BC’s annual learning event in Richmond on June 14, 2017, as part of a full-day Inclusive Education Summit.


Danielle Kelliher, Director of Communications

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