Special Awards

2019 Ontario Certificate of Excellence Recipient Featured Article

Friday, November 29, 2019

Courcelette PS Teacher Recognized for Excellence by Prime Minister

Lynn Wilkins has been awarded a National Certificate of Excellence for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Award (PMA) for Teaching Excellence. This is the national-level award which means that Lynn is among the best teachers in Canada. Having a teacher win a PMA, particularly the national-level award, is a tremendous honour and a proud moment for our school, its students and their parents. In fact, Lynn is one of only ten national winners to receive this award this year.

Congratulations Ms. Wilkins! Lynn will be attending ceremonies in Ottawa later this month to receive the this honour.

Year: 2019 – Province: Ontario

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Lynn Wilkins

Science, Language, Math, Geography, Arts, grades 7 and 8
Courcelette Public School, Toronto, Ontario

“Ms. Wilkins is an amazing teacher and role model, and I found she was always pushing us to do our best work. … She’s a very passionate person who cares for her students and who is always trying to find new innovative projects for us to do.”  — Former student

Having an invisible disability herself, Lynn Wilkins strives to make her classroom as inclusive as possible through universal design for learning and differentiated instruction. Likewise, she takes an inclusive and adaptive approach to ensuring all students have STEM learning opportunities.

Teaching approach

Lynn’s teaching is founded on her respect for all students’ strengths, needs and interests, and reflects her belief that all students can succeed. She introduces design thinking to prompt creativity and risk taking, making the inevitable but essential failures fun (class activity videos often have a blooper reel).

In the classroom

  • Uses hands-on projects as a focus for differentiated instruction, inquiry and technology integration: cross-curricular Mars Mission Project saw Grade 4–8 students from two school form companies, build an online presence, and construct rockets, landers, rovers and scale models of habitats.
  • Created online space with assignment outlines, success criteria, lesson materials, exemplars and videos to enhance engagement and let students work and review at their own pace.
  • Provides numerous opportunities for students to show their work: they create commercials featuring a rocket or robot they built, construct small or large group wikis to explain, share and generate ideas, and write blogs, video blogs and webpages to communicate their learning.
  • Introduces extra-curricular opportunities for students to further test their learning: first-time school entries in provincial cardboard boat and video challenge involved students developing, improving and testing designs, while peers created shorted videos about the process.

Outstanding achievements

  • Designed classroom and school electronic surveys to gauge student knowledge gaps, needs and emotions (including math anxiety); responses drove a school improvement plan, tailored professional development, and prompted MarchMathness and school wellness initiative.
  • Leader within her school: works with administrators, teachers and students to foster strong school learning community, address diverse students needs and create positive school atmosphere; spearheading school focus on universal design for learning.
  • Plays provincial role in curriculum consultations, resource writing and teaching; looks to the next generation of educators, though work with education faculties around the province; supports Ontario and international educators through webinars and classroom visits.