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Cold Lake teacher receives provincial award

Teacher Don Moore at Cold Lake’s Outreach school has received a provincial award.

Moore was chosen for the Innovation and Achievement award by Alberta’s Outreach Education Council, for the Tough ‘n Talking program he began in Cold Lake.

“Don Moore saw a need to reach out to a group of students and developed an innovative approach that has empowered those students and re-engaged them in learning,” said Board Chair Arlene Hrynyk. “The Tough N’ Talking program truly exemplifies Northern Lights School Division’s mission statement – Working Together to Help Every Student Learn and Excel.”

The program started as a class for boys, covering social skills, sex education, and communication skills as a way to re-engage struggling students in the learning process. On the first day of class, Moore says, they started talking about stereotypes.

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“I will always remember the first day we did this, we set up a chart about what is ‘masculine’ and what is ‘feminine’. On the masculine side, we put your typical things like ‘work’, ‘strong’, and ‘being a good father’, which I thought was wonderful,” he said. “But what really struck me was on the feminine side they wrote ‘school’, ‘reading’, and ‘writing’. When I asked them about this, to get the dialogue going, the response I got was ‘men don’t need to know how to read’. And to me, this was the moment when I realized we had something here. We had a young man who had just showed us why he didn’t care about school, teachers and education. And we had a window of opportunity. By the end of the year, this same young man was attending fairly regularly, avoiding big trouble and trying.”

The program has since expanded to include a class for girls, and currently includes almost 40 students per week.

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