Island teacher wins prestigious national award
Frances Ann Squire, a teacher at Birchwood Intermediate School has received a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
The awards are given each year to honour teachers for their leadership, exemplary teaching practices, and their commitment to help the next generation succeed in a world inspired by ideas and driven by innovation. Frances Ann Squire is highly regarded by her students and fellow teachers for her commitment to her profession and her innovative approach to teaching and learning.
Education and Lifelong Learning Minister Brad Trivers said people who know Frances Ann Squire will attest that she is a most deserving recipient of this prestigious award.
“She cares deeply about her students and takes every possible opportunity to help each one succeed, both inside and outside the classroom,” he said. “She is widely respected by her fellow teachers for her ability to integrate the arts and technology into learning while encouraging a love of reading and writing and a sense of social responsibility and global citizenship.”
Public Schools Branch Director Parker Grimmer said there are many aspects to being an exceptional intermediate school teacher and Frances Ann Squire embodies all of them.
“Through her creative and collaborative teaching style, she awakens a love and thirst for knowledge in her students. Frances is a great leader who earns her students’ trust and respect,” he said. “Some of the best teaching and learning I have ever witnessed has been in her classroom. Of all her accomplishments and distinctions, her greatest rewards come from her everyday interactions with her students and the Birchwood school community.”
Frances is highly regarded by parents for her ability to understand and support each student’s learning needs. Former Birchwood parent Peter Rukavina said Ms Squire understands how digital learning can offer students agency over their own education.
“She challenged our son Oliver, she adapted her teaching to maximize Oliver’s strengths, and she has both a deep understanding of how he learns and a willingness to experiment when that understanding ran into challenges,” he said.”Frances Ann Squire is a dedicated educator, someone who sees teaching as a calling and devotes herself to it with her mind and soul.”
Education, Early Learning and Culture
For many years, Frances Ann Squire has been an advocate for literacy and a huge proponent for digital literacy. She has published articles, sat on several committees to promote the increased use of technology in schools and facilitated an after-school video game development club for 11 years. She uses many digital platforms to help students learn to use technology responsibly, and to make learning engaging.
She and her students participated in the ‘Summits of Canada’ program and virtually climbed the highest peaks of Canada’s mountains with an expedition while speaking with the team in real time.
She developed and supervised the Birchwood Maker and MinecraftEdu Club which 50 students attended regularly at lunch and after school. She also volunteered and supervised students at the International Cyberbullying Summit.
A strong supporter of the literary arts, Frances had her class research the history of art through the ages, with each student focusing on a particular artist and period of history. Students produced a piece of work in the style of the artist and their project was exhibited at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
She has directed and facilitated a number of dramatic productions that had her students perform in theatres across the Island. She hosts the annual Birchwood Poetry Café where her students share their poetry with the public at events in local cafes and online.
Frances has coordinated a free after-school writing program which matches students with pre-service teachers in the BEd program at UPEI. She encourages and supports her students to participate in the Annual Literary Awards where her students were recognized with writing awards this month.
Frances instills a sense of social responsibility and global citizenship in her students. Each year she asks her students to select and research an area of need or a non-profit organization that may benefit from their service. Students create commercials, organize fundraising events, volunteer their time and share their experiences with their fellow students.
As part of her work to encourage students to respect diversity and be more aware of their world, she helped her students create an award-winning video for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.