New West teacher recognized in Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence

A New Westminster teacher has been recognized in the annual Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence. 

Carmen Woo, a teacher-librarian at Glenbrook Middle School, was one of four B.C. teachers to receive a regional certificate of achievement in the annual program.

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 “We are so proud to see Carmen recognized for all the work she does every day with both students and our staff here at Glenbrook,” principal Chris Evans said. “She’s the kind of educator that never sees the door to the hall or the school as the point where her work stops. She truly sees everyone around her as a community of learners and teachers.”

Woo appeared in front of the New Westminster school board at its Oct. 13 education committee meeting to receive her award in virtual fashion.

Trustee Dee Beattie, who chairs the education committee, said the honour is well deserved.

She cited comments from Woo’s nominators, who paid tribute to how Woo creates a “welcoming and inclusive environment for all” and how generous she is with her time for students and colleagues.

“When students, teachers and parents describe Carmen Woo, similar words come up repeatedly, including empathetic, diplomatic, warm, wise, humorous and committed,” says a write-up from the awards program. “She believes every student is unique and can thrive with the appropriate supports, flexibility and tools. Her Library Learning Commons is the busy, welcoming hub - and heart - of her bilingual middle school.”

Woo has a background in ADST (applied design, skills and technology), which she has used to start an award-winning school robotics club and to coach her peers in how to teach STEM lessons.

She created a French-English peer tutoring program and started up a morning mindfulness club for students to help them deal with anxiety.

The awards write-up notes that, among her classroom achievements, Woo:

  • explores democracy and how it works, helping students use the Vote Compass website and organizing all-candidates meetings and mock elections for students;
  • supports teachers and students as they try new technologies, with a library that features VEX Robotics, 3D printers and green screens;
  • creates an inclusive environment, serving as the lead on SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identities) and sponsoring the Genders and Sexualities Alliance Club;
  • introduces Indigenous content, including stories from residential school survivors and work with Indigenous facilitators.

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence are handed out annually to honour teachers for “remarkable achievements in education and for their commitment to preparing their students for a digital and innovation-based economy.”

National certificate of excellence winners earn $5,000 cash, while regional certificate of achievement winners earn $1,000 apiece.

See here for more details and a full list of winners.

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