Local community groups and individuals receive school board awards

Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) Chair Doreen Dewar and Director of Education Norm Blaseg present Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association Board Chair Ted Williamson and Coordinator Seija Deschenes with the Community Partnership Award.

SUDBURY—A number of local organizations were recognized with awards of excellence by the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) during a ceremony held at the Sheridan Auditorium at Sudbury Secondary School on May 20.

During the ceremony, the RDSB paid tribute to its dedicated employees and community partners, including those employees with 25 years of service.

“With the presentation of these awards, we continue a rich tradition of honouring excellence in Rainbow Schools,” said Board Chair Doreen Dewar in a news release. “We are proud of our employees and community partners for their commitment. On behalf of the Board, I would like to congratulate all award recipients for their outstanding achievement.”

“The contributions of our individual award recipients vary, but they all have one thing in common,” said Director of Education Norm Blaseg. “They are dedicated employees and dynamic educational partners who go above and beyond the call of duty to reach minds and touch hearts in our schools and the communities that we serve.” 

Among those receiving awards for excellence were Beth Davidson, a teacher at Central Manitoulin Public School (CMPS), and Heather Theijsmeijer of Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS).

“With close to 30 years as an educator, Beth Davidson believes every student can learn,” reads her citation. “An inspiring teacher, she worked diligently to ensure students made individual gains on a daily basis and encouraged them to spread seeds of kindness. An exemplary role model, she was a goal-oriented and reflective practitioner who asked herself how things could be done better. Beth Davidson’s dedication to literacy was highlighted in literacy best practice DVDs and a series of Reading at Home tip sheets for parents/guardians. She taught volunteers how to read to at-risk students and spent two years as a Literacy Coach. A trailblazer for aboriginal culture and education, Beth implemented Aboriginal Day at Adamsdale Public School. She also understood the importance of modern educational practices and was a strong advocate for iPads at Central Manitoulin Public School.”

“Creative and innovative, Heather Theijsmeijer is a highly successful 21st century educator,” reads her citation. “She is an active member of the Student Success Team and Technology Committee, and Numeracy Professional Learning Community. Her commitment to student success inspired her to integrate a Bring Your Own Device philosophy into her math and science classes. As co-leader of Manitoulin IGNITEd, she educates teachers across the province about current strategies. She speaks regularly and volunteers for the Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario and shares her technological expertise during professional learning. Last year, she earned a provincial Award for Exceptional and Creative Teaching in Secondary Mathematics. Heather Theijsmeijer brings learning to life with guest speakers, inquiry and experimentation, and always puts the needs of students first. She also contributes to the school community by coaching gymnastics, fundraising for gymnastics equipment, conducting school choirs, managing the technical crew for school musicals, and leading yoga.”

“It was very exciting to be recognized,” said Ms. Theijsmeijer. “(MSS Principal) Laurie Zahnow has allowed me to try a number of new initiatives. It is stuff I love to do and I loved trying out the initiatives.”

Central Manitoulin Public School received a Toyota Evergreen Grant for their efforts to support sustainability with flower beds, vegetable gardens and trees being planted on the school grounds. “Fresh fruit and vegetables are harvested for the breakfast program at the school and the flower beds contribute to bird and monarch butterfly habitats,” notes the CMPS citation. “The outdoor re-greening projects also provide excellent opportunities to integrate environmental education into everyday learning. The Go Green team leads a number of initiatives including the school’s composting program and events such as boomerang and lights out lunches and Turn It Off Tuesdays. Go Green members perform regular audits to monitor food waste, recycling and energy use. Students and staff participate in activities such as the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, and celebrate international events like Earth Day and Mountain Day. Staff and students continue to build prosperous relationships with community volunteers and partners to sustain their efforts, notes the release. CMPS Principal Tracey Chapman accepted the award on behalf of her school.”

Manitoulin Streams was recognized with a Community Partnership Award, nominated by Manitoulin RDSB Trustee Larry Killens.

“The Manitoulin Streams Improvement Association restores water quality and the fisheries resource on Manitoulin Island and the Great Lakes that surround it,” notes the organization’s citation. “They meet their mandate through collaborative partnerships and education with local stakeholders. This powerful combination has led to a number of educational excursions for students. Students visit a local fish hatchery and learn the value of stocking streams to revitalize the natural aquatic ecosystem and enhance recreational fishing. They also tour rivers and creeks to learn about restoration and research. Manitoulin Streams offers in-school adventures as well, from GIS mapping, learning about invasive species to micro hatcheries, where students raise brook trout to be released. Through these dynamic and authentic learning experiences, students gain an appreciation of the important role they play in protecting and preserving our natural resources.”

Chair Ted Williamson and co-ordinator Seija Deschenes accepted the award on behalf of Manitoulin Streams.

“We are very excited about the award,” said Ms. Deschenes. “We are thrilled about being acknowledged for our educational work with our youth on Manitoulin Island and we hope we can continue these efforts to create the next generation of stewards of the land and water.”

“I was really proud to be able to nominate Manitoulin Streams for this award,” said Mr. Killens. “The caliber of the work they do is illustrated by who their volunteers are, retired school teachers and MNR employees who all recognize the important work that they are doing here on Manitoulin.”

Heather Theijsmeijer of Manitoulin Secondary School is presented with an Award for Excellence from RDSB Chair Doreen Dewar and Director of Education Norm Blaseg.
Heather Theijsmeijer of Manitoulin Secondary School is presented with an Award for Excellence from RDSB Chair Doreen Dewar and Director of Education Norm Blaseg.
RDSB Chair Doreen Dewar and Director of Education Norm Blaseg present Central Manitoulin Public School Prinicpal Tracey Chapman with the Go Green Globe Award.
RDSB Chair Doreen Dewar and Director of Education Norm Blaseg present Central Manitoulin Public School Prinicpal Tracey Chapman with the Go Green Globe Award.