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Sunset Park teacher earns Prime Minister's Award for Excellence

Outside the classroom, she is an active member of her community teaching dance, and martial arts to both children and adults

A teacher with the Near North School Board, Anna Pearson, has won the Prime Minister's Certificate of Achievement for teaching excellence.

A news release announcing the award says, "Anna is more than a teacher at Sunset Park Public School. She is committed to lifelong learning which she models for her students and colleagues. Currently, she is a PhD student in Education at York University and teaches in the B. Ed program at Nipissing University. Outside the classroom, she is an active member of her community teaching dance, and martial arts to both children and adults."

Pearson tells BayToday she is surprised by the award.

"When I first saw the email I couldn't believe it, actually. It's the highest honour you can receive as a teacher. I'm just so honoured."

Her teaching style is student-centred and focuses on engagement and inquiry.

"I want my students to leave my classroom being able to think critically and make connections to current and past events. I want them to go on and become informed and responsible citizens in our community and the global community."

She will receive an official certificate and so will Sunset Park plus a letter signed by the Prime Minister.

Pearson started her career as a supply teacher in 2006 and got her teaching degree at Nipissing University.

She is quick to give credit to her colleagues for her success.

"They have been so supportive. They are amazing. Every step of the way in teaching I've always had colleagues that are very encouraging and they've pushed me to think about the way that I want to approach teaching in my classroom. I'm very lucky to have such amazing colleagues."

See related: Sunset Park Public School raises over $1,800 for humanitarian aid in Ukraine...the Canadian way!

The release goes on to say that "Her programming encourages students to develop higher-level thinking skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and innovation. She uses differentiated forms of assessment according to students' learning types. For example, she favours choice boards where students demonstrate their learning of the unit based on their own learning styles – visual, auditory-musical, verbal, kinesthetic, or logical (mathematical). This individual approach results not only in academic success but also in personal growth."

In the classroom Anna provides her students with a stimulating and engaging learning environment where they learn through exploration and hands-on practice.

"They are encouraged to think critically and given access to a variety of experiences to develop such skills. She ensures that her classroom is a safe and collaborative space where students feel comfortable and empowered. She optimizes learning with the use of educational technologies like Scratch Coding, Kids Code Jeunesse, mPower, Prodigy Math, TFO Jeunesse, and assistive technology including speech to text and word predictive technology such as WordQ.

"Anna integrates various educational subjects across other disciplines. As Sunset Park PS is a dual-track school, Anna teaches literacy in both of Canada's official languages. As a French as a second language teacher, Anna uses various teaching methods to encourage and empower her students while learning in French. Critically, Anna's commitment to French language education extends beyond a focus on the Canadian experience. She is passionate about linking her students' experiences as French speakers to la Francophonie, through music, film, field trips, and guest speakers. Anna promotes a classroom in which French language and culture are not simply other academic subjects, but a way of life. Anna is providing young people with a full vision of Canada.

See the list of winners and complete description here.