2015 Final Results


Surrey Schools: Making Learning Visible: A 360° Transformation

Surrey Schools’ Making Learning Visible (MLV) initiative actualizes formative assessment theory through pragmatic practice, utilizing technology, to transform learning and teaching systemically. The affects of the practice are profound and immediate for stakeholders invested in learning: students, teachers, parents and the organization.

As a student’s learning presents itself a teacher captures it through photos, video and notation toward populating a student’s e-portfolio. Concurrently, this learning evidence is shared with parents and reviewed with the student with goals of engaging and empowering both while extending learning and support beyond the classroom.

This innovative assessment methodology connects students, parents and teachers to student learning in authentic, meaningful and productive ways, on a daily basis. No longer do parents and students wait for a report card to become informed of progress, identify areas of success or those requiring support. Individual learning needs can be responded to faster, and parents and students can more readily become part of the solution and learning plan in collaboration with the teacher.

Surrey Schools’ MLV is a door opener for rich dialogue leading to a plethora of transformative experiences for stakeholders - a 360° transformation!


Robyn Thiessen, Vice Principal, Green Timbers Elementary 
Jordan Tinney, Superintendent of Schools/CEO, Surrey School District
Elisa Carlson, Director of Instruction, Education Services - Surrey Schools
Dan Turner, Director, Information Management Services - Surrey Schools
Antonio Vendramin, Principal, Cambridge Elementary, Surrey



Engaging Students' Imaginations in Learning

Dr. Kieran Egan’s work focuses on the role of the imagination in learning, and explores how teachers might make their work more effective by engaging students’ imaginations with the content of the curriculum.

He achieves this aim by a number of routes: the development of a new general theory of education; giving talks and workshops in B.C. about this theory and practices to Ministry of Education, School District personnel, and to numerous groups of teachers and parents around the world; and, the development of new ways to apply the theory in everyday classrooms. These practices have become known generally as the “Imaginative Education” (IE) approach.

New programs have been developed that elaborate on the principles and practices of IE and are designed to engage students’ imaginations in effective learning. Some of these programs have focused IE principles on specific curriculum areas, others are somewhat disruptive of the usual routines of schooling, such as the Learning in Depth program, and the Whole School Projects program. The Imaginative Education Research Group to research has been founded to develop implementation strategies, and create networks of co-researchers and teachers across the province and world. To assist teachers in using Imaginative Education practice, Dr. Egan and his colleagues, have developed curriculum-specific websites that include implementation strategies and lesson plans.


Dr. Kieran Egan, Professor, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University 

Healthy Buddies™, Children Teaching Children

Healthy Buddies™, a 21-week, comprehensive, school-based health education and promotion program, empowers school children to live healthier lives by providing them with information about, and encouraging positive attitudes and behaviours toward, physical activity, nutrition and body image. Healthy Buddies™  uses the innovative approach of children teaching children. Children in grades 4–7 teach their younger buddies, kindergarten to grade 3.

Through focusing on health and physical activity Healthy Buddies™ addresses social responsibility. Specific outcomes supported are “Contributing to the Classroom” and “Community and Solving Problems in Peaceful Ways”. The buddy relationships, used to help teach the curriculum (both in the classroom and in the gym), foster a greater sense of shared purpose with the school.

In 2003 a randomized, controlled, pilot study was conducted in 2 schools (Kindergarten to grade 7) in British Columbia (Sunshine Coast) (Stock et al, Pediatrics, 2007). The study found that healthy living knowledge improved in both the older and younger “buddies. The team observed a significantly lower body mass index and blood pressure increase compared to students in the control school.

In 2006 the program was implemented in 45 BC schools, reaching approximately 10,000 children. The resource was modified to reflect First Nation and Inuit cultures. Initial results have been replicated and published in BC and in Manitoba. Healthy Buddies™ was implemented in Alberta in and is presently being adapted for adolescents in India (New Delhi).


David Barnum, Teacher, Sunshine Coast
Jean-Pierre Chanoine, Pediatric Endocrinologist BC Children's Hospital
Sue Stock, Pediatric Endocrinologist, Lion's Gate Hospital
Valerie Ryden, Teacher
Charmaine Miranda, Registered Psychologist, Compass Clinic



Civic Mirror

The Civic Mirror, a game-based, experiential learning program, features an online simulated country scenario and sets up high stakes, face-to-face events in the classroom that reflect Canada’s system of government. So while students study course curriculum in the usual ways, they are also given their own government, economy, legal system, and environment.

Through experiential learning they come to understand how these elements interact and are integrated. The students must work together to build a strong nation, but they must also work individually to score points by providing for fictitious families and achieve secret agendas (e.g. socialist, capitalist, environmentalist, etc.). Classes of students are faced with the age-old challenge of balancing individual pursuit with collective welfare and cooperation. But, most importantly, as students learn about Canadian civic processes by experiencing them, they also learn about themselves and what life as an important citizen is going to be like.

Used throughout BC and Canada, The Civic Mirror is transforming the way thousands of students learn about citizenship and governance, making it fun, exciting and meaningful.

Applicant: Regan Ross, Teacher, Panorama Ridge Secondary School

Coordinator of Inquiry Framework

Based on the work of Helen Timpereley, Judy Halbert, and Linda Kaser, the Delta School District designed and implemented an innovative structure to help facilitate teacher inquiry. Coordinators of Inquiry (COIs) are now in every school within the district with the mandate to: promote professional learning using inquiry as a mindset; and help bring teachers together to collaborate, discuss, and plan for innovative learning experiences. Every school developed a critical question(s) for their site that focuses on the student learning needs in each school, and a year-end celebration allows for schools to present and share their learning both within/across schools.

This innovative model created a network of inquiry and innovation across the entire school district that positively impacted teacher learning and professionalism. Conversations in schools are shifting to a continued focus on student learning and teachers are using an inquiry mindset during their collaborative time to focus on their practice and how it impacts student learning.

Applicants: Nancy Gordon, Director of Learning Services, Delta School District; Neil Stephenson, District Principal for Innovation and Inquiry, Delta School District

Flex Humanities Program

The Flex Humanities Program provides students incredibly rich, diverse and challenging academic opportunities working together in a socially cooperative classroom model. Students are welcomed into the program from the Vancouver School District and also from other school districts as well. The guiding prinicples of the program are self-directed study, open and creative format response options and front loaded assessment process constructs. These innovative assessment guides based on meta-cognitive skill development and self-directed tools that allow students to take authentic ownership of their assessment process and put these guides in front of their writing process.

Students study integrated curricula of Philosophy, Literature, History, Geography, Fine Arts, and Modern Languages, with the degree of integration varying over time and subject. The Humanities portion is an integrated study of history, geography, philosophy, and classical literature. The program provides a supportive, stimulating, and challenging environment for learners who have demonstrated that they are motivated to succeed.

Flex Humanities has been designed to meet the needs of creative and divergent thinking individuals in grades 8, 9, and 10 who are interested pursuing complex and sophisticated intellectual challenges in non-linear ways and in working with other self-motivated students. The program also encourages students to pursue topics, which have personal and social relevance. This includes the development of place-based social justice initiatives. Within the program there is a commitment to peer mentoring, peer tutoring and the development of public speaking skills with all students working together collaboratively in a dynamic learning environment.

Applicant: Dale Martelli, Department Head, Vancouver Technical Secondary

Science Outreach

Dr. Sophie Lavieri developed two programs, EC4U and Science in Action, to offer hands-on science education to K–12 students who would not have easy access to real labs. The programs aim to encourage children and youth to learn through inquiry and help them appreciate science in fun and creative ways.

EC4U allows Dr. Lavieri to bring her portable labs to elementary and high schools. Students feel comfortable and excited about chemistry in their own classroom, and the program encourages teachers to use innovative and creative ways to teach chemistry and other sciences. While Science In Action (previously known as Chemistry In Action) was developed to increase the number of students pursuing education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields. The program runs directly out of labs at Simon Fraser University. The program promotes scientific inquiry in the community to youth and adults from all socio-economic backgrounds, at no cost, giving participants a new understanding and excitement towards scientific exploration.

Applicants: Sophie Lavieri, Senior Lecturer, Chemistry Department, and Director, Science in Action, Simon Fraser University and


'3Things' for your School/Community

Adapted from a City of Calgary program, this program involves children completing three things: taking care of each other, their school, and themselves.

Applicant: Rawji Faizel

A Pilot Study: Understanding the Lived Experiences of Teachers in a Technology Enhanced Curriculum

A school-initiated research project for Collaborative Staff Inquiry (CSI) was used to create a framework and structure for facilitated, collaborative inquiry.

Applicants: Shendah Benoit, Mi Song Kim

Attendance Matters! Supporting Student Attendance in K-3

The goal of Attendance Matters is to identify, monitor chronic absenteeism, and to support students and families in attaining prompt and consistent attendance in K-3.

Applicants: Pat Horstead, Michelle Nilson, and Maggie Karpilovski

BC At the Table

"BC At the Table" was designed as a food system resource that teachers could use with students to understand how we produce, process, distribute and acquire local food.

Applicants: Nicole Spencer, Sydney Massey, Lynne Sawchuk, Rola Zahr

Building Bridges in the Community

The Grasslands Community Trail Enhancement Project will train adult facilitators/ volunteers to guide K-12 students along a community trail in Kamloops, BC.

Applicant: Michael Weddell

Climate Justice in BC: Lessons for Transformation

This curriculum package for secondary schools provides teachers with classroom-ready materials to engage their students about how climate action intersects with social justice.

Applicants: Marc Lee, Ryan Cho

Engaging Minds Through Literacy Play!

Story Buddies, created by Janine Fitkall, is a participatory model of literacy drawing and encouraging teachers, students and families into the learning process.

Applicant: Janine Fitkall

Fraser Heights Science Academy

This two-year program is for grades 11 and 12 students and is designed around inquiry, technology-embedded learning and capstone projects.

Applicant: James Ahn

Friends of Simon Tutoring Project

An SFU Faculty of Education initiative combining inquiry, instructional knowledge, and the talents of university students to provide literacy tutoring for children and youth.

Applicants: Angela Flummerfelt, Paul Shaker, Kanwal Neel, Paula Rosehart, Meguido Zola, Edrene Cabantog

Innovative Learning Designs: From Library to Learning Commons

Over the last four years a secondary school library has been transformed into a Learning Commons—“a learning space” that is both physical and virtual.

Applicant: Angela Monk

Inquiry 8, Innovative Assessment and E-Portfolios

Using thematic questions, students learn the connections among subjects in school and the real world. Assessment consists of detailed feedback, not grades and marks.

Applicant: Jessica Gonsales

Leadership Development for Elementary Students

A leadership development program designed to inspire, engage, challenge, and support emerging student leaders at a local public elementary school in Vancouver.

Applicant: Ahmed Rahim

Learning Through Experience in Action

Inspired from working with Aboriginal youth, an experiential learning program for students in grades 10/11 helps students in succeed through grade 12 and beyond.

Applicant: Lauren Compton, Annie Ohana, Kelly Peterson

Nature Kindergarten

The Sooke Nature Kindergarten, based on educational programs familiar in European early childhood programs, supports children’s learning in an outdoor setting.

Applicants: Lisa Lockerbie, Erin Van Stone, and Enid Elliot

Read for the Top

Read for the Top is a team-based way to engage students in reading, developing comprehension skills and enjoyment in literacy.

Applicant: Robert (Bob) Warren

Sharing Indigenous Teachings Utilizing Cooperative Learning Strategies

Trista Fuller utilizes cooperative learning strategies to share Indigenous teachings to create lessons and activities that are inclusive in nature.

Applicant: Trista Fuller

Sticks and Stars

At-risk grade 4-6 boys acquire skills, knowledge and understanding in science, leadership and hockey to support their academic and social development.

Applicants: Pat Horstead, Mike Lally, Silas Godard

Theatre Arts Change Lives

An inner city school provides at-risk students opportunities to be on stage/backstage on theatre productions to develop self-confidence and optimism for their futures.

Applicant: Steve Swaddling

The City Game

The “City Game” supports students in developing self-regulation, interdependence and empathy along with personal responsibility and life skills.

Applicant: Amanda Zanette

TRECC (Teamwork, Respect, Environment, Community, Culture)

Pacific Coast School has developed the TREC2 program to become the backbone of the school involving local Aboriginal Elders in the education processes.

Applicant: Douglas Brown 

Wild About Vancouver Outdoor Education Festival

Wild About Vancouver Outdoor Education Festival promotes outdoor and experiential learning opportunities throughout Vancouver to the citizens of the city.

Applicant: Hartley Banack


Enjoy some images from the award ceremony!