Sarich recognizes Excellence in Teaching Award semifinalists

April 6, 2009


Building Leadership for Action in Schools Today

Diana McQueen (PC—Drayton Valley–Calmar): “Last month I was honoured to have the BLAST team in my hometown of Drayton Valley make an excellent presentation in my constituency office. BLAST, or building leadership for action in schools today, was formed out of a partnership between the Lung Association and the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission in 2002. The BLAST program educates youth throughout the province about the dangers of smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco. Of course, I am very supportive of their efforts.

“The Drayton Valley team is coached by Chris Schoepp and consists of four grade 7 and one grade 8 student: Nick Jodouin, Jessica Gustafson, Tristan Seely, Elyas Patey-Taylor, and Alicia Potter. At BLAST conferences the students learn about current issues about tobacco and work on team-building and leadership skills in order to develop a youth action plan for their community. Following these conferences, the students are responsible for implementing these plans. This BLAST team is presenting to their elected officials and their peers and have also run ads in the local papers.

“It is wonderful to see the students involved with the BLAST program getting involved in their community and promoting healthy lifestyle choices throughout the province. Great job to all of them. I look forward to seeing the results of their work and leadership. Our future is certainly in great hands with this young group of team leaders and the youth. Congratulations to them.”

Excellence in Teaching Award Semifinalists

Janice Sarich (PC—Edmonton-Decore): “Every school day teachers across this province encourage students to embrace and enjoy learning and make valuable and meaningful contributions to students’ lives. Our students consistently rank amongst the best in the world, and this is a direct reflection on the tremendous amount of work being done by teachers in Alberta classrooms.

“Through the excellence in teaching awards program teachers and principals are recognized for their individual and invaluable commitment to our students and to the future of this province. The nominees for the excellence in teaching awards are teachers and principals who use creativity and innovation to motivate students to succeed. They show leadership and work with their teaching colleagues to create a positive school climate. They are champions for their schools and for their students.

“This year, Mr. Speaker, out of 365 eligible nominations 134 teachers and principals were selected as semifinalists. They will be honoured at two special celebration dinners later this month and will have access to $1,500 for professional development. From this group of semifinalists 23 final award recipients will be selected and formally honoured at a dinner and awards ceremony with the Education minister in Edmonton on May 30. Of the 23 award recipients 20 will receive the provincial excellence in teaching award and will have access to $4,000 for professional development to further develop their teaching skills. Three out of the 23 award recipients will receive a Smarter Kids Foundation innovative use of technology award, which includes a comprehensive technology package.

“Mr. Speaker, the excellence in teaching awards have been celebrated since 1989, with more than 8,200 teachers nominated and more than 400 who have received awards. I am pleased to rise today to recognize all of the outstanding teachers and principals across this province and give special congratulations to the 2009 excellence in teaching awards semifinalists.”

To review the status of legislation of interest to the Association, please consult Bills and Motions 2009.