SD73 Finalists for Premier’s Awards are Helping Build Community

Posted On Monday July 08, 2019
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith

School District No. 73 is well represented with four 2019 finalists chosen for the Premiers’ Awards for Excellence in Education and they all have one thing in common.

“Each one of them has created partnerships with agencies or community groups outside the classroom, and then leveraged these partnerships to create more authentic experiences for students,” said Alison Sidow, SD73 Superintendent of Schools. “We are very proud of their achievements, and the significant impact these partherships with agencies, non-profits and parents have on student engagement and achievement.”

“The Awards are presented annually to exceptional education professionals in British Columbia’s school system working within either the public, independent or First Nations school systems,” states the BC government website listing the 2019 finalists.

The finalists will be hosted by the Premier at a reception in Government House in Victoria October 4. The award winners each receive a $3,000 personal bursary for professional learning and a $2,000 contribution to their school community for professional learning.

Below is a list of the SD73 finalists, including their categories and information about their achievements.

Indigenous Education

Ivy Chelsea, Chase Secondary School/Haldane Elementary School

Ivy Chelsea is a Secwepemctsin language teacher focused on expanding the reach of the language to as many people in the district and the community as possible. She led Tsutswecw Park Story Trails, a pilot with BC Parks Foundation, involving her Grade 9 - 12 Chase Secondary School students in creating a new way of experiencing a B.C. Park.

Related stories

Story Trail with Secwepemctsin Language Students’ Voices – June 11, 2019

Students’ Voices will Connect us to Ancient Wisdom in Nature – Feb. 26, 2019

Jordan Smith, Twin Rivers Education Centre

Jordan Smith is a teacher and program co-ordinator at Four Directions Secondary School, SD73’s Aboriginal school of choice. This year, she secured a Vancouver Foundation grant to pilot a program designed to integrate Indigenous ways of knowing alongside western curriculum by involving family, elders and knowledge keepers.

Related story

Vancouver Foundation Grant for $246,000 Awarded to Four Directions Secondary School – March 25, 2019

School Leadership
Carol DeFehr, Juniper Ridge Elementary School 
An innovative leader in her school community, DeFehr has a passion for education and is committed to honouring each and every child. She implemented a slogan, #alwaystry, speaking to her supportive vision for student success, and communicating to students, parents and staff her belief that learning can be challenging, mistakes are part of the process, and perseverance is critical to making positive gains. To encourage students to push themselves toward academic success, she instituted a principal’s recognition program, regularly honouring their efforts to go above and beyond in their classwork. She also works to cultivate students’ positive social development and goes to great lengths to communicate with parents, so they can play an active role in their child’s success

Technology and Innovation
Denise Underwood, McGowan Park Elementary School

Denise Underwood has emerged as a technology education leader within her school and the district. With a BC Grant on a Synergy Project, she worked with students who used ipads and apps to create multi-layered digital mandalas to build positive personal and cultural identities. A Farm to Table Grant allowed students at McGowan to work on The Great Chicken Project involving live animals. They monitored egg production, feed and care, and other aspects of digital farming. She facilitated the Lego Robotics club, Skills Canada cardboard boat races, and incorporated research-based practices into her teaching. She has also been involved as a mentor in the district’s Tech Mentor program.

Related link

Kamloops-Thompson has three teachers and a principal up for Premier’s Awards, reports Kamloops this week.


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