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Bronwen Davies and Stephanie Isaac from École Dieppe School win Crocus Award for Literacy

In their short tenure over the past two years, Bronwen and Stephanie have developed their own understanding of early literacy development in both languages of instruction. As their previous teaching experience had been primarily in the Middle and Senior Years contexts, throughout 2021-2022, they strove to lead while learning about the current research and conversations around best practices in literacy instruction. In the 2022-2023 school year, they established a two-year school plan, using the book Shifting the Balance (Jan Miller Burkins and Kari Yates, 2021) as the starting point for professional conversations across all grade levels. They established themselves as role models by doing research, asking difficult questions, and really working through the process of shifting mindsets and practice with teachers.


Bronwen and Stephanie have thoughtfully supported all of the teachers in the building, honouring that each teacher has been developing their knowledge and pedagogy at their own pace, while simultaneously encouraging those who have been the quickest to enrich their practice with more explicit literacy instruction based on current research, thereby positioning them as the ‘racehorses’ who helped build momentum and encourage others.



They have intentionally invested school budget funds in resources identified by teachers as foundational to their practice, including decodable books in both French and English, and have spent time thinking about how those resources can be used most intentionally and supportively for students in both languages of instruction. Bronwen and Stephanie have provided regular opportunities for ongoing teacher collaboration and professional learning, and supported teacher initiatives to access divisional professional development funding to create Professional Learning Teams to continue their learning and conversations.


Bronwen and Stephanie have also encouraged conversations around current assessment practices and how teacher could use additional assessment tools to build a clearer picture for each student’s areas of strength and stretch, including phonemic awareness, word level reading, sentence dictation, and other assessments that help teachers dig deeper into student’s decoding and encoding skills, while simultaneously considering their oral language and language comprehension skills.

The school goal has been to enrich and expand teacher toolboxes to ensure that all learners have an opportunity for access to literacy instruction, including those who are neurodiverse, those who have identified or suspected learning disabilities, and those who use alternate modes of communication, like Talkers. Bronwen and Stephanie have encouraged the staff to really consider access points to literacy for all learners.



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