Archived—Kathryn Walmsley

Archived Information

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Year: 2009 – Province: Alberta

Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Elizabeth School
PO Box 68
Cold Lake AB T9M 1P1

Principal: David Anger
School Tel.: 780-594-2017
School Fax: 780-594-3111
School Email: david.anger@northland61.ab.ca

Subjects and Grades Taught: Grade 3

Elizabeth School is a small school located on the Elizabeth Métis Settlement in northern Alberta. Kathryn Walmsley's challenge is not just to teach her students but also to impart an appreciation of the value of education in the community. Many of the parents in the community had unhappy experiences with an education system that seemed to offer little to them. Ms. Walmsley works to ensure that this not the case for their children.

Teaching Approach

Students arrive at Elizabeth School at the start of their educational careers with very few school-readiness skills. Ms. Walmsley identifies students' learning styles and implements a fun and active curriculum, characterized by hands-on learning in a positive and supportive environment.

Outstanding Achievements

  • Ms. Walmslely believes that children must have a parent supporting their education. If they do not, they will be left to their own devices to make decisions about attendance and work ethic. Ms. Walmsley has a strategy to enlist parents, a communication routine for keeping them in touch, and tools and ideas to equip them to help their children. Parent volunteers, who were non-existent just a few years ago, are now a part of life at Elizabeth School, and the idea of volunteering in such a way has spread throughout the community.
  • Ms. Walmsley brought the Read Write Gold software package to the school to help students improve their literacy skills. Knowing that this technology would help her students, she traveled across the province to be trained on the program and then brought it back and trained other staff in its use.
  • She extended the Science Fair to include Grade 3 students and helped students pick topics and prepare projects that would help them meet learning outcomes for their grade level.
  • Ms. Walmsley helps students develop emotional skills such as empathy. She even brings her dog into the classroom, since Nana provides a patient and willing subject for students who are practicing their nurturing and caring skills. Nana's presence in the class helped Ms. Walmsley overcome another challenge: poor attendance on Fridays. Now that students know that that's the day Nana comes to school, many more of them come, too.

Rave Reviews

"I sometimes come and volunteer in the classroom and I can see how much her students love her. She makes everything fun and easy to learn. …I'm so happy that [my daughter's] first experience in school has had such a great impact on her learning ability. She has come out of her shell and I know that Mrs.Walmsley has had so much to do with that." Parent

"As the leader at the school, I am extremely appreciative of the impact that Kathryn has had on the success of our students. She leads her peers by example and she has been able to foster a love of learning in her students." Principal