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Outstanding UCDSB Employees Honoured with 2021 Trustee Innovation Award
Outstanding UCDSB Employees Honoured with 2021 Trustee Innovation Award
Posted on 06/22/2021

June 22, 2021 (Brockville, ON) – The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) recognized staff creativity and innovation by announcing the 2021 Trustee Innovation Award (TIA) winners this week.

The annual awards program recognizes staff for innovative teaching and work practices, with the intent that these practices will be shared and used to improve the way the school board delivers education and other services to students and the community.

With the combination of in-person and remote learning taking place throughout the academic year, nominations highlighted a mix of innovative practices to connect with students remotely as well as ignite and inspire health and well-being during the pandemic.

“We’re so honoured to have staff who go above and beyond to engage our students in meaningful ways,” says Corina Parisien, UCDSB Trustee and TIA Committee Chair. “This year’s winners truly demonstrated out-of-the-box thinking that inspired us all.”

The TIA Award winners learned of this honour during a virtual Microsoft Teams event earlier this week. They will receive their award in person upon the return to school this fall and they will also be featured in a video presentation to the Board of Trustees.

Winners of this year’s Trustee Innovation Awards include:


Sam Crosby, Teacher
UCDSB Virtual Learning Program:

Sam Crosby has been able to help build a sense of community in the newly created Secondary Virtual Program by using innovative practices to bring together students from 22 different schools. Sam is currently leading multiple live extra-curricular groups (including Student Council, Relay For Life, Thursday Afternoon Hangouts (TAHO), and a Rainbow Connections GSA Club), empowering a leadership team of students, and inspiring other educators to provide virtual options for building community. Both the Student Council and Relay For Life Committee promote positive school climate and build community by providing opportunities for all students to participate in regular spirit days and challenges and share it through a variety of social media and internal communication. Sam is deserving of this recognition because she identified a real need, adapted what she knew, and successfully built positive connections, community and opportunities for students.    


Courtney Lauzon, Special Education Teacher
Viscount Alexander Public School, Cornwall:

Throughout the provincially mandated school closures over the past two school years, Courtney Lauzon had to pivot her programming to ensure her students received individualized, hands-on, tactile experiences to help support their learning from home.

Last spring, Courtney developed an At-Home Toolkit – a comprehensive list of functional activities to do at home using everyday objects that encompassed learning goals such as life skills, fine motor, language, math, communication and gross motor skills. She shared these activities with her families and at a time of uncertainty, parents welcomed the experiences that helped to keep their children engaged and learning.

With the onset of the April 2021 Stay-at-Home Order, Courtney continued to strive to meet the needs of her students by providing new and innovative opportunities to keep the students engaged and excited about learning. Courtney began virtual life skills take- and-make experience where students pick up a weekly take-and-make kit to create at home during a virtual Microsoft Teams meeting. Courtney led the class, and the students completed their weekly creation at home with the support of their parents or caregivers. Courtney has partnered with many community supporters to make this exciting initiative occur. The students completed take-and-make activities that tied to local businesses such as Smores on a Stick, Building a Desk Organizer and Hanging Planter (Home Depot), Gardening (Marlin’s Orchards), Popcorn Balls (Happy Popcorn Company), and Ice Cream Sandwiches/Pizza Kits (Cowan’s Dairy).


Sherry Leeder, Teacher
Toniata Public School, Brockville: 

Sherry Leeder was looking for a way to boost the mental health of her Grade 1 students during the pandemic. Creating Halloween cards was something they enjoyed and were quite good at artistically. Sherry realized this was something they could do throughout the year and forming a greeting card company would support that mental health piece.

The class created their own greeting card company called, "Kids Wonder of Fun," complete with a CEO, COO and creative consultants, and obtained seed money to start it up. When the students heard that many seniors were not going to be able to see family members during this time, they decided they could send positive messages to seniors.

Sherry provided an innovative, creative and entrepreneurial way for her students to demonstrate kindness during trying times while integrating curriculum connections.


Bobbi Moore, Parent Council Chair
Thousand Islands Elementary School, Gananoque:

As a member of Thousand Island Elementary School (TIES) Parent Council member for nine years and chair for seven of those years, Bobbi More has been instrumental in developing annual school-community projects that will continue to be a part of the TIES community for years to come. 

Bobbi is more than a School Council Chair. She is a valued member of the school team. She demonstrates creativity and innovation to build relationships between parents and the school. For example, Bobbi encourages families to be actively involved with the school through the energy she shares when meeting with parents at Welcome to School events for kindergarten students, graduations, family fun nights, holiday events, school plays and sporting events just to name a few. 

She also leads school and community events as well as fundraising campaigns. Her leadership has helped implement engaging Pro Grants connected to partnerships with neighbouring schools and communities. Her many devoted years of service on the TIES School Council and her leadership as School Council Chair should be commemorated as she has done an incredible job building the school community.


Laura Oliver, Principal
Oxford-On-Rideau Public School, Kemptville:

Laura, with assistance from Dave Pier, coordinated and hosted COVIDEO 2020, as part of her role in leading the Drama Subject Council. This was an opportunity for students from across our board to share their work in drama, music and visual art with each other during the time of remote learning.  Laura hosted COVIDEO 2020 – an online film and art festival – to showcase the amazing work of UCDSB students from K to 12.

This platform has supported students working with each other in their own schools and between schools to foster engagement during these times. This is just one of many innovative ways that Laura has connected students to each other at her school and with the Dramatic Arts Subject Council she leads and can be adopted across the school board.


Jennifer Peters, Teacher
Chimo Elementary School, Smiths Falls:

Jennifer Peters’ efforts to keep her students’ spirits high during the pandemic has fostered innovative learning opportunities that can be adopted across the school board.

Under the leadership of Jennifer, Grade 7 students from Chimo Elementary School created a 28-day wellness calendar that lists daily activities that challengers can complete – all of which focus on mental and physical health. The students then shared the challenge to every principal across the Upper Canada District School Board. Two schools jumped on board and others have shown interest – an outcome the students were thrilled to witness as a result of their leadership.

In addition to the schools who have already shown interest and jumped on board, renowned psychologist Dr. Jody Carrington – best known for her Canadian best-selling book, Kids These Days – heard of this initiative, and sent the class a personalized video, commending them for their efforts.


Bernadette Sauve, Educational Assistant 
Cambridge Public School, Embrun:

Bernadette works with two students with profound special education needs. Both students are non-verbal and it is difficult for these students continue with their programming while learning from home during the provincially mandated school closures. Bernadette thought outside of the box and developed PowerPoint slideshows that the parents can use at home. She recorded her voice so that her students could hear her giving them direction for the lesson. Parents have said that these PowerPoints made a huge difference, and when their child heard Bernadette's voice, their faces lit up. Developing these voice-recorded presentations has made it possible for students with special education needs to learn from home alongside their peers and kept them connected with their educators in meaningful ways.

Leanne Schachow, Teacher
Rideau District High School, Elgin:

Leanne has fostered a spirited, welcoming, innovative and inclusive class environment  both for in person and remote learners. Leanne organized and conducted numerous Microsoft Teams classes with Indigenous artists for her art students to enjoy. The interaction with the students and the artists has been extremely valuable and relevant for the Indigenous Art Studies at our school. Leanne has also created a virtual art exhibit to showcase her students' work. Leanne created an online drama program for the students in September and has since connected with over 20 theatres across Canada. Leanne has run over 40 workshops since the fall. 

The virtual art exhibit is active online for a week or more for the community to peruse. This is a great connection between the isolated community members and the students.  

Photo: TIA Recipients got on a Teams Virtual Meeting, not knowing why they were invited to attend. Trustee Corina Parisien (front left) outlined they had received the award. Missing from photo: Bobbi Moore


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