Local high school teacher lands national honours

Mandy Reed included in Prime Minister’s Award of Teaching Excellence

  • Jun. 1, 2016 4:03 p.m.

One local teacher has been given a national award which is part of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

École Secondaire Notre Dame High School’s Grade 10 Assistant Principal, Mandy Reed has won a Certificate of Achievement and $1,000 for professional development.

Reed is one of 35 teachers who was honoured from across Canada and is the only teacher in Central Alberta to be recognized for this award. Over the years, she has taught social studies, Canadian studies and English as a Second Language to Grade 10 to 12 students.

“It’s an honour to be recognized at the national level, but it’s really what we do every day to make education meaningful and engaging for our students in Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools. This was a team approach. I’ve been surrounded by great mentors my entire teaching career with Red Deer Catholic and it’s a culmination of all that hard work and mentorship coming together,” she said. “It was an honour just to be nominated and about a year had passed before I had been notified that I had won the award and I was quite happily surprised.”

Reed was nominated by the principal and vice-principal at Notre Dame High School.

“It’s a pretty thorough application process that they have to go through. They have to acquire testimonials from parents and students. I had to fill out a questionnaire about things that I did in my classroom and they have to collect three reference letters and send them in as well.”

Reed’s contributions and achievements include being recognized as a master teacher and English as a Second Language specialist. She regularly helps colleagues in other disciplines integrate strategies for supporting English-language learners in their classes. She also developed the Taste of Home study unit where students brought recipes and memories of home to class, which became the basis for language arts, social studies, science and math lessons. The unit ended with a feast of dishes from students’ countries of origin cooked at school with parents’ help.

“It’s something that really helps the kids stay connected with their home culture. We have a unit of study where they are writing about memories of home. Everyone has memories connected with food. What was it like to be in your grandma’s kitchen? Do you remember what her hands looked like when she was grinding the corn or stirring her cake? We want kids to be able to celebrate that and they are writing and sharing their stories with their peers and families,” said Reed. “We end with a pot luck supper where they share their stories with their parents and then of course we share a meal and break bread together.

“It is emotional and for some of the students it is difficult because they are writing about maybe their grandmother they haven’t seen since moving to Canada. It is such an honour to be involved with that though because they are sharing a piece of themselves.”

Reed has also developed immersive classroom activities to stimulate and engage students while connecting with the curriculum. For a unit on the federal political system, for example, her classroom became ‘Reedania’ where students learned the vocabulary and concepts of the parliamentary system and then held a two-week mock parliament.

She created and co-presented a professional development workshop in which her students presented both heartfelt and hilarious stories of what it is like to be an English-language learner, and she was involved with student leaders in a school-wide fundraising campaign for victims of a devastating typhoon in the Philippines, from where the families of many of the school’s students emigrated.

Reed has been teaching in the Red Deer Catholic School Division since 2007. “I was inspired to be a teacher after working in South America teaching English. I found a real calling to do it. I found I was naturally drawn to students and English as a Second Language is what I minored in in university and I was naturally drawn to that and I had a real talent for that.”

Reed added there is much she loves about her job.

“I love the relationships we get to have with the students. Especially being an English as a Second Language teacher, we see students that are reunited with their families and students who are new to Canada. We get to share what is great about our country and what makes not just Canada but what makes Red Deer an ideal place to grow up, live and be a member of society,” she said. “We get to see kids through their hard times and their good times and help celebrate with them and help encourage them along the way. Nothing makes you happier when you see them cross the graduation stage and knowing you had a hand in that.”

Just Posted

Canada Winter Games upgrades completed at Canyon Ski Resort

Officials say improving the resort makes it a destination for future winter sports competitions

Red Deerian helps Kenyan woman get slushy machine – the first in Northern Kenya

The woman named her store after Red Deer because of all the support

Construction begins on new AHS youth detox facility in Red Deer

The facility will help around 170 children and teens across Central Alberta

Muay Thai fighter Stephanie Schmale making a name for herself in the amateur fighting ring

Red Deer fighter to take on Team USA on Nov. 17th in Edmonton

Pop Evil hits the stage at Bo’s Nov. 25th

Acclaimed band is touring in support of self-titled disc released early this year

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Plane crash-lands near Ponoka

The airplane had its tail ripped off and it ended right side up in a copse of trees east of Ponoka

Central Alberta under snowfall warning

10-15 cm expected to have fallen by Friday morning

Roy Clark, country singer, ‘Hee Haw’ star, has died

Guitar virtuoso died because of complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 85.

Tinder sex assault suspect charged; additional alleged victims sought

Vincent Noseworthy of Alberta is accused of aggravated sexual assault, unlawful confinement and more

Children’s strawberry-flavoured medicines recalled due to faulty safety cap

Three different acetaminophen syrups part of nationwide recall

Trudeau pushes for more Saudi accountability in Khashoggi killing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is still seeking clear answers from Saudi Arabia about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi

School bullying video shows how people with disabilities are devalued: advocates

Brett Corbett, who has cerebral palsy, is seen in a video being stepped while lying in water

Most Read