New West teacher receives Prime Minister’s excellence award

The federal government has confirmed what students and parents have known for years: Stephanie Musgrove is an exceptional teacher.

Musgrove, a kindergarten teacher at Lord Kelvin Elementary School, has received a regional certificate of achievement from the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. New Westminster-Burnaby MP Peter Julian presented the award to Musgrove on Tuesday morning on behalf of the Parliament of Canada.

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“It’s just crazy. I do feel very special. I am part of this amazing district,” she told the Record. “We are surrounded by amazing teachers everywhere. Our province, our district and this school is so chock-a-block full of great teachers – if not for them, I wouldn’t be the teacher that I am.”

The award presentation was broadcast to TV screens in classrooms via the Lord Kelvin news show, which presents news to students twice a week.

“I am very proud of you,” a student reporter covering the award ceremony told Musgrove. “I have always known that you were an awesome because you were my kindergarten teacher.”

Lord Kelvin parent Eden Fine Day got the ball rolling by nominating Musgrove for the award and having other parents on the Parent Advisory Council and principal Ken Millard write letters of support.

“She is such a caring teacher. It comes through in every way possible – with the parents, with the students, with the staff,” Millard said. “You can always count on her to show her love one way or another. She’s a pleasure to work with.”

Coun. Mary Trentadue, a member of the school’s parent advisory council, said it’s amazing for students to have a teacher of Musgrove’s calibre for their first year of school.

“She is the most amazing teacher. Having her for my son’s teacher for his first year in school made a huge difference to him and to us as a family,” Trentadue said. “She understands children and she sees the best in your child, and she helps you help them through school and going through the process of their first year.”

Musgrove was informed by her nominators that she was being nominated for an award, but she didn’t know which award until she received an email telling her she’d been selected for the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. While she’s known about the award for a while, she was thrilled to finally be able to celebrate her achievement with her family, coworkers and students on Tuesday.

Musgrove has taught in New Westminster for her entire career, working at Hume Park Elementary for 15 years and moving to Lord Kelvin nine years ago. She was touched by the comments made by parents who nominated her for the award.

 “I wept. It was amazing,” she said. “You want to make a difference, and my mission in life is to have every kid come in to school and be so excited that they can’t wait to come back. To have them say 10 years later, ‘I remember you’ or ‘thank you’ or they still love school, that’s all I wanted to do.”

A write-up about Musgrove’s certificate of achievement states that she accepts each child for who they are.

“Teaching in a multicultural school, Stephanie Musgrove makes all children in her class feel welcome and comfortable. Students learn about the places in the world where their families come from,” said the write-up. “She also taught the entire class sign language to communicate with a young boy who was profoundly deaf.”

Aside from a variety of activities aimed at including inspiring every child in the classroom and making them all feel important, Musgrove was recognized for a number of outstanding achievements, including:

* Being instrumental in setting up the school's sensory room to help students with sensory needs be calm and alert; she visited other schools with similar rooms, researched what items were needed and then helped set up the room.

* Creating a Literacy Leaders program for the school, in which Grade 5 students visit the primary grades daily to lead literacy games in groups of three or four.

* Being a leader in her school in a number of ways, including running the annual Terry Fox assembly (including usually having one of Fox's relatives come speak at the event) and the Welcome to Kindergarten session for incoming students and their parents every June.


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