Media

MEDIA RELEASE #3

Surrey Schools’ e-portfolio education wins SFU prize

April 2, 2015

Contact:
Melissa Hudson, Faculty of Education, communications, 778.782.9036, mhudson@sfu.ca
Doug Strachan, Surrey Schools Communications, 778.772.5032, strachan_d@surreyschools.ca
Carol Thorbes, University Communications, 778.782.3035, cthorbes@sfu.ca

Photos: http://at.sfu.ca/KEEKrz
Video:
Making Learning Visible in Surrey Schools http://at.sfu.ca/ZjRGNo

Simon Fraser University’s Cmolik Prize judges name Surrey School District as prize’s inaugural winner for innovative use of digital portfolio in education

The success of a new way of assessing and advancing student learning has scored an A+ from a nine-person-selection team tasked with awarding the first Cmolik Prize for Enhancement of Public Education in British Columbia.

The Simon Fraser University Faculty of Education award, worth $50,000, goes to the Surrey School District (Surrey Schools), for its innovation and success in implementation of a new approach to student assessment.

The innovative assessment methodology helps students become immersed in learning and improving, and it engages their parents and teachers in monitoring and supporting student progress in real-time through digital or e-portfolios.

“As a student’s learning presents itself a teacher captures it through photos, video and notation toward populating a student’s e-portfolio,” explains Robyn Thiessen, a Green Timbers Elementary teacher.

Thiessen is one of the winning entry’s co-authors and among eight Surrey educators who began exploring the potential of digital portfolios to communicate student learning using the online tool FreshGrade three years ago. “FreshGrade’s compilation of information is shared with parents who review it with their children. The goal is to engage and empower both while extending learning and support beyond the classroom.”

In its third year of use and implemented in several kindergarten to Grade 9 classes at 35 Surrey district schools, the online reporting project is credited with improving students’ ownership of their learning. Internal demand for the program is outstripping the district’s ability to implement it, as teachers shelve the use of traditional report cards. In fact, the district is fielding inquiries and requests from educators across North America. They want to know more about the Surrey School District’s program.

“The use of a digital portfolio fosters student engagement in learning by allowing students to choose evidence and artifacts that illustrate their personal growth. Students then create actions plans to improve their growth,” explains Thiessen.

“Using a tool that provides a 24/7 digital window into learning is a profound way to impact student learning and achievement and prepare them for success in the 21st century.”

In announcing this award’s recipient, SFU Faculty Dean of Education Kris Magnusson says: “There is little doubt that our K-12 educational system is in a time of profound change. As information becomes ubiquitous and learning diffuse, traditional methods of documenting achievement are becoming less and less relevant. That is why the inaugural winner of the prestigious Cmolik prize is so exciting.”

The Surrey Schools entry—Surrey Schools: Making Learning Visible: A 360° Transformation—was one of 28 original entries and among three shortlisted for this prize.

The entry’s co-authors were Robyn Thiessen, Green Timbers Elementary Grade 3 teacher; Jordon Tinney, superintendent of schools; Elisa Carlson, director of instruction, education services; Dan Turner, director, information management services and Antonio Vendramin, principal, Cambridge Elementary.

Funding from Russ and Ellen Cmolik, who are passionate about education and have been inspired by school tours globally, led to this award’s creation. The two are not involved in the selection of prize recipients.

As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement.  SFU was founded almost 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is a leader amongst Canada's comprehensive research universities and is ranked one of the top universities in the world under 50 years of age. With campuses in British Columbia's three largest cities—Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby—SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 30,000 students, and boasts more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.

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Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

MEDIA RELEASE #2

B.C. prize award committee recognizes SFU educators

March 18, 2014

Contact:
Melissa Hudson, Faculty of Education, 778.782.9036, mhudson@sfu.ca
Carol Thorbes, University Communications, 778.782.3210, cthorbes@sfu.ca

 

A Simon Fraser University innovator in education has been shortlisted for the annual $50,000 Cmolik Prize for Enhancement of Public Education in British Columbia, and another SFU innovator has garnered honourable mention.

The winner will be announced on Thursday, April 2. A special reception in May will be held to honour the top three finalists.

SFU Faculty of Education Professor Kieran Egan, the founder of Imaginative Education, is one three entrants shortlisted out of 28 applicants to be in the final running for the 2015 Cmolik Prize. Imaginative Education is a general education theory along with sets of principles for practice and new educational programs designed to engage students’ imaginations and emotions with the everyday content of the curriculum. The theory, practical principles and programs are being used by thousands of teachers worldwide.

The prize’s nine-person selection committee has also named Sophie Lavieri, an SFU Faculty of Science senior lecturer to be one of four recipients of honourable mentions for innovative projects. Lavieri, a multiple-award recipient for innovative teaching that fosters student engagement at all levels, has clinched the mention for her development of Science in Action. It’s a hands-on science education program for K-12 students who can’t easily access real labs. The program aims to encourage children and youth to learn through inquiry and help them appreciate science in fun and creative ways.

Funding from Russ and Ellen Cmolik, who are passionate about education and have been inspired by visits to schools globally, led to this award’s creation. The couple is not associated with the selection of the prize recipients.

The prize is intended to encourage educators, researchers, administrators and policymakers to enhance teaching practices, particularly those that spark learning and development of real life skills needed to become productive and responsible community members.

Details of the shortlisted and honourable mentions, as well as a full listing of applicants can be seen at: www.sfu.ca/education/cmolikCmo-prize/2015.

As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement.  SFU was founded almost 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is a leader amongst Canada's comprehensive research universities and is ranked one of the top universities in the world under 50 years of age. With campuses in British Columbia's three largest cities—Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby—SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 30,000 students, and boasts more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.

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Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE #1

Cmolik Prize aims to enhance K-12 public education in B.C.

September 23, 2014

Contact:
Melissa Hudson, Faculty of Education, 778.782.9036; mhudson@sfu.ca
Marianne Meadahl, University Communications, 778.782.9017; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca

Website: www.sfu.ca/education/cmolik-prize

Innovation in B.C. education is being celebrated with a new prize being endowed to Simon Fraser University.

The $50,000 Cmolik Prize for the Enhancement of Public Education in British Columbia will be awarded annually to recognize those who have developed an invention, innovation, concept, process or procedure that enhances educational practice in the K-12 public system in B.C.

The award is being endowed to SFU with the support of Russ and Ellen Cmolik, who are both passionate about education and have been inspired by visits to schools around the world.

They hope that the prize will encourage practitioners, researchers, administrators, and policy makers to enhance current teaching practices, particularly those that stimulate a desire to learn and develop real life skills needed to become productive and responsible community members.

Through their endowment, the Cmoliks say that it is imperative that educational practices make use of, and keep pace with, the rapid development of technology.

Notes Kris Magnusson, dean of SFU’s Faculty of Education: “The Cmolik Prize will undoubtedly become the premier award in Canada for recognizing innovation in K-12 education.

“SFU has long been recognized as an innovator in education, and to now have the opportunity to acknowledge outstanding educational innovation in B.C. is a wonderful opportunity."

The first call for applications or nominations is now open, with the first award ceremony to be hosted in the spring of 2015.

BACKGROUND

Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.

The Cmolik Foundation is a British Columbia based charitable foundation that believes every student graduating secondary school in B.C should have the opportunity to access post-secondary education or training. The Foundation does this through post secondary scholarships and enriched learning opportunities such as summer camps and field trips.

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