The Ken Spencer Award

2013 Winners

For a booklet on all 15 2012-2013 Ken Spencer Award finalists:

FIRST PLACE – $7,000

Le Studio PURE
Engaging students through active community entrepreneurship

École Camille-Vautour – District scolaire francophone Sud
Saint-Antoine, NB

The Studio PURE (Pedagogy that is Unique, Renewed, and Entrepreneurial) program was inspired by the concern of teachers Kevin Ouellette and Monique Saulnier with the ever-increasing number of disengaged students in their classrooms. It has since evolved into a learning philosophy for this small francophone school in the village of Saint-Antoine, New Brunswick, where learning concepts using technology, differentiation, citizenship, and entrepreneurship has taken this community by storm, and has produced more autonomous learners.


Saint Anne’s Inquiry-based Learning Community
Hallways filled with students’ projects help them to articulate their learning

Saint Anne School – Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools
Saskatoon, SK

This school-wide inquiry-based learning environment unfolds in various ways at Saint Anne’s – from students managing an indoor garden and hosting a spring garden sale, to managing the “atelier”, which is a creative space filled with donated materials and objects from nature. Students reserve time to create works of art, gifts, class projects, and handmade paper, which can be exhibited in the gallery and broadcast on a monitor in the school’s front entry. Desks are gone and have been replaced with tables to facilitate group work and collaboration. Student-created materials are always prominently displayed.


HWDSB Commons
A district wide blogging network that hones students’ digital citizenship

Hamilton Wentworth District School Board
Hamilton, ON

The HWDSB Commons is a collaborative virtual space that collects the myriad of voices of school district staff and students in a variety of public and private spaces, creating a stage where learners publish creative work and exchange feedback with their peers. Built on WordPress and BuddyPress – Open Source web tools offering features similar to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr – the HWDSB Commons creates an interactive space for learners to connect within a classroom, across the hall, within the school district, and around the world. Students develop personal blogs as online learning portfolios, and manage their digital footprint in a safe space while learning what it means to be a responsible digital citizen.


HGI News and Entertainment
Telling the neighbourhood’s story, one broadcast at a time

Henry G. Izatt Middle School – Pembina Trails School Division
Winnipeg, MB

HGI News and Entertainment connects students to the pulse of their community through the production of current affairs broadcasts. Originally spearheaded by one Grade 8 classroom, this creative process has become a sustainable school-wide initiative that integrates student flex time, student voice, and inquiry-based learning focused on explorations of what interests students.


Summer Learning Gets R.E.A.L. (Resilient, Engaged, Active, Learning)
A summer school like no other gives at-risk students a new outlook for the fall

School District 42 – Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows
Pitt Meadows, BC

A team of eight teachers were challenged to reinvent their school district’s Summer School program to better connect with high-risk learners. The teachers focused on building resiliency over the course of twenty summer days. 149 Grade 8 and 9 students participated in an interdisciplinary inquiry project in a textbook-free environment. This was summer school like no other that built relationships with community members, sparked individualized learning, citizenship education, critical thinking, problem solving, flexibility and choice, and learning empowered by technology. These values and concepts are at the core of building the resilience of students, who can then apply these acquired skills upon their return to school in the fall.


The High School Flexibility Enhancement Pilot Project
Students are now unable to go unnoticed and fall between the cracks

Wm. E. Hay Composite High School – Clearview School Division #71
Stettler, AB

Wm. E. Hay is one of 16 schools involved in Alberta Education’s Flexibility Enhancement Pilot Project – which grants the freedom to remove the Carnegie Unit – a standardized time requirement for the attainment of high school credits. This project provided educators with the latitude to redesign the school timetable and they worked tirelessly to rethink and personalize their students’ high school experience. Every facet of this school has been touched by this project, from teaching to assessment.


Académie Parhélie
Opening minds beyond school walls

École Émilie-Tremblay – Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon
Whitehorse, YT

A team of teachers developed an original curriculum based on fine arts and the outdoors. Students study their basic subjects in the classroom and in the field. Environmental conservation, sports and the outdoors are also vital elements of this program. Much of Académie Parhélie’s learning takes place beyond school walls and students gain a different perspective of their milieu, and open their minds to the world.