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Thursday, April 25th, 2013 - Ken Spencer Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Ken Spencer Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Hon. Rose-May Poirier: Honourable senators, every year, the Ken Spencer Award is presented to a Canadian school for innovation in teaching and learning, to recognize teachers and educators who are breaking new ground. After a long selection process, this year's Ken Spencer Award went to École Camille-Vautour in Saint-Antoine, New Brunswick, for creating the Studio PURE program.

Through the vision and dedication of teachers Kevin Ouellette and Monique Saulnier, the Camille-Vautour entrepreneurial community school was able to set up the Studio PURE program. Studio PURE stands for pedagogy that is unique, renewed and entrepreneurial. The purpose of this program is to make young people responsible for their own learning while preparing them for today's ever-changing society.

Mr. Ouellette and Ms. Saulnier's innovative idea involved increasing the use of new technologies and making the individual education of students a priority by allowing each student to progress at his or her own pace. The students are able to choose the entrepreneurial projects that they are most interested in, which makes them more motivated.

An important component of the program is community involvement. For example, one of the students' upcoming activities involves putting on a show and selling art in order to raise funds for an organization that helps sick children. This is one of many initiatives designed to help students integrate into today's society.

The Department of Education's evaluations have shown that the progress that has been made after just one year is remarkable. There has been a major improvement in all of the academic subjects evaluated, particularly French reading, where the success rate has doubled. This shows that when young people are involved in learning based on their own interests and abilities, they can always reach their full potential.

Studio PURE's entrepreneurial community approach is also used throughout the entire school. For example, Grade 2 students in the Studio Copaincami program are going to be launching a collection of books that they wrote themselves at the Frye literary festival. This collection will be made up of books written by young people for young people using the various stages of writing. The initiatives that are being developed by École Camille-Vautour in Saint-Antoine provide a new, dynamic and rewarding approach to the education of our young people that, at first glance, seems as though it could be duplicated on a large scale. With the new technologies that have completely changed the world in which we live, perhaps it is time to review the way our young people are being taught.

Honourable senators, I invite you to join me in congratulating the innovative creators of Studio PURE on winning the Ken Spencer Award and in encouraging the educators at École Camille-Vautour in their wonderful efforts to teach our young people.

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