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.
“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.