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MONTREAL, OCTOBER  19, 2009-      Patrick Charland, a Science and French teacher at Coronation Elementary School in Côte des Neiges, has been awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Prime Minister’s Awards (PMA) for Teaching Excellence. He received a letter of congratulations from Prime Minister Stephen Harper along with a PMA pin, a certificate and a cheque for $1,000.

“I am very touched to have received this honour,” said Mr. Charland. “I consider it a privilege to work at a school and a school board where I have been given an opportunity to be part of the type of projects which have brought me to places like Japan, Germany and Portugal. I would also like to thank my colleagues at work who have inspired me over the last number of years.”

After completing his education at Université Laval in Quebec City, Mr.  Charland began his teaching career in Louisiana. There, he inspired students by basing French-language programs on Cajun culture. He invited storytellers and the father of a local Cajun football hero to the school, organized booths to exhibit Cajun handicrafts and food, and introduced students to traditional Cajun music, accompanying guest musicians on accordion.

Mr. Charland encourages students to see the classroom as a second home, so that they will feel comfortable and safe in their learning environment. This is particularly important to the new Canadians who make up the majority of students at Coronation. For these students, English is often a second language and French a third.
Mr. Charland offers students a variety of ways to learn subject matter and skills. For example, when jazz musician Oliver Jones visited the class, students could work on one of several projects, including preparing the invitations and researching Mr. Jones’s accomplishments, all of which involved writing, but not necessarily at the same level.

In order to engage students with the culture and traditions of French Canada, Mr. Charland initiated a program to explore French through music. The students began by researching music and instruments from their country of origin and moved on to contemporary local artists. Students wrote, sang and recorded songs for a CD, with the school’s Steel Pan Band recording the backing tracks. Students also designed the CD packaging, mapped out and shot an accompanying music video, and held a launch for the final products. Mr. Charland uses robotics as an imaginative way to help students improve their French as well as learn history, math, the arts and music. He also runs popular weekend and summer robotics camps, asking former students to come back to help teach.  Under his guidance the school has captured first place in the International Robocup competition in Portugal and then again in Germany. He also has travelled to Japan, as well as making numerous trips to New York and Boston with his students to participate in Robotics competitions. 

Mr.  Charland was nominated by his former colleague and present day Principal of Edward Murphy School Nancy Richer and supported by former Coronation Principal Diane Nolan Wood and former student Abicumaran Utamacumaran. Mr. Charland will be recognized at the next meeting of the English Montreal School Board Council of Commissioners on October 28 (7:30 p.m.) at 6000 Fielding Ave.
“Patrick personifies the best qualities that I believe a teacher should have,” said Coronation Principal Teresa  Germano-Saucier. “I am privileged that he is part of the Coronation staff.”


Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213