Three initiatives within the New Frontiers School Board have been awarded QESBA Excellence in Education Awards.
The awards were announced during the 2023 Quebec English School Boards Association/Association of Administrators of English Schools in Quebec (QESBA/AAESQ) Spring Conference, which took place in Mont Saint-Sauveur in mid-May. Both the Social Integration Program and the Work Ready Program at the Huntingdon Adult Education and Community Centre (HAECC) were honoured, as well as a literacy initiative at Mary Gardner School in Chateauguay.
HAECC’s Social Integration Services Program was recognized for its innovative approach to working with adults with intellectual, psychological, social, or physical difficulties and exceptionalities. Those in the program learn various skills that can be transferred into many facets of their daily lives through participating in the Boutique To.Us, where they create and sell handmade items, and the school café, where they prepare and serve healthy meals to the HAECC community. Students are also involved in an environmental initiative where outdated computers are dismantled and recycled or refurbished and donated back to the community. Thanks to a dedicated team of teachers, technicians, support staff, and administrators, the students are guided through the initiatives, often gaining enough independence to eventually become “experts” in various aspects of the different projects.
The Work Ready program at HAECC was also recognized by QESBA. This highly individualized program is designed to accommodate adults wishing to enter a semi-skilled trade. Students enrolled at HAECC complete 450 hours of general academic courses, as well as 75 hours of work preparation studies and 375 hours of on-the-job experience with a local business.
“We were honoured to have these two awesome initiatives at HAECC win,” says Megan Martin, the assistant centre director at HAECC. Martin notes this was a “monumental year for NFSB,” which took home three of the four awards announced by QESBA.
The third initiative to receive an Excellence in Education Award was an innovative English Language Arts project at Mary Gardner School in Chateauguay that incorporated the latest science of reading and balanced literacy approach into teaching cycle one students. The teaching team implemented new strategies and introduced rich new texts and higher-level-thinking questions and assessments.
“This project was impactful as it made teaching reading more strategic, and it was noted that students applied their new language comprehension skills and vocabulary to writing assignments and class discussions,” says James Walker, the NFSB director of schools and educational services. Best practices that emerged from the project were then shared with the English and French teaching staff at Mary Gardner.
The Excellence in Education awards were created by the board of directors of QESBA in 2014 to celebrate the excellence, dedication, and innovation demonstrated by teachers, administrators, parents, professionals, and school board members at the nine English School Boards across Quebec.