EdCan Network News

When the Community Becomes the School

2017 Ken Spencer Award-winning programs recognized for how local professionals, parents, teachers, students and their newcomer peers can work together to leverage real and relevant learning opportunities in their own backyards.

From an elementary school transformed into a vibrant mini-society, to students from different grades and cultural perspectives tackling complex problems facing their communities, these programs have won innovation awards because they empower young learners to understand how they can play a role in solving real-world challenges now, and in the future.

The 2016-2017 CEA Ken Spencer Awards recognize the benefits of team-teaching, multi-grade classrooms, and students connecting with local businesses, organizations and community institutions as supportive learning environments that break down cultural barriers. These programs encourage students’ self-discovery that there’s more to life – and to their futures – than getting good grades. 

“These leading-edge approaches shatter the long-held myth that sitting seven hours a day in age-based classrooms in bricks-and-mortar schools is the best way for our kids to prepare themselves to be life-long learners in our society,” says Ron Canuel, CEA President and CEO. “When teachers and students are granted the trust and autonomy to take risks, learn from each other, and decide how and where they learn best, powerful life-affirming experiences can happen.”

Ken Spencer Award recognition ceremonies are being planned in the school communities of the seven winners. This is the eighth year of this award, and the CEA would like to thank the 102 school and school district staff for their time and effort in the preparation of this year’s award application packages.

For a booklet showcasing the work of all 7 Ken Spencer Award winners: http://ow.ly/mhIs30azrrM

The Ken Spencer Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning was established with the generous contribution of Dr. Ken Spencer to recognize and publicize innovative work that is sustainable and has the potential of being taken up by others; to encourage a focus on transformative change in schools; and to provide profile for classroom innovation within school districts, schools, and the media.


Founded in 1891, the Canadian Education Association (CEA) is a network of passionate educators advancing ideas for greater student and teacher engagement in public education. CEA does this by conducting research and spreading useful ideas through its Education Canada Magazine, professional learning events, website and social media channels; supporting education systems to be more adaptive to the rapidly changing needs of all learners to reverse the trends of students ‘tuning out’ of their learning opportunities.


For more information:
Max Cooke – CEA Director of Communications (bilingual)
416-591-6300 ext. 225
mcooke@cea-ace.ca  @max_cooke