|EMSB TEACHERS WIN PRIME MINISTER AWARDS|
MONTREAL, DECEMBER 15, 2006- The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) would like to congratulate Gloria Chalupovitsch, a Grade 6 Language Arts, Math and Moral Education teacher at Merton School in Côte Saint- Luc, and Theodora Kourtelessi-Stathopoulos, a music teacher at FACE School, who were recently honoured with Certificates of Achievement from the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence. The award honours the overall accomplishments and recognizes the efforts of outstanding educators across Canada who work in all disciplines at the elementary and secondary levels, as they help their students obtain the necessary skills to meet the challenges brought about by today's society and economy.
Both Ms. Chalupovitsch and Ms. Kourtelessi-Stathopoulos will be honoured by the EMSB for their achievement at a future board meeting.
"I was so overwhelmed when I found out that I won this award," said Ms. Chalupovitsch, who has been a teacher for 32 years, and based at Merton for the past 17 . "I feel real good and touched that other people have recognized what I've been doing. It's a nice way to cap off my teaching career."
Ms. Chalupovitsch was recognized for her project-based style of learning, in which her students were encouraged to work to their fullest potential and taught to retrieve, use and relay information by using a variety of technological means.
"Every year I think of a new, different project to get the students involved with," she said. "I want to make sure that every student gets involved and incorporates every kind of style and talent they have, so they can contribute and feel that they are an important part of it."
This year Ms. Chalupovitsch decided to focus on the 1920s and 30s – especially the religious and racial intolerance that took place then – by first viewing and discussing with the students some of the classic films of that era such as Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator." Afterwards, they will produce their own documentaries and clay animation short films about the subject. The films will be shot and edited by the students at the National Film Board studios in January, and will be completed the following month. The project culminates in March with a gala premiere night at the school, in which the gym will be transformed into a 1920s movie palace, and will include an Oscar-type awards ceremony and a student vaudeville act.
Ms. Kourtelessi-Stathopoulos has been a music teacher for 27 years, and has taught music at FACE since 1991; for the last five years, she has taught string instruments to students from Grades four to 11. She was recognized for encouraging the development of life skills through the students' development of their musical skills, as well as using music as a vehicle to promote student involvement with many of Montreal's cultural communities and raise awareness about community service and charity amongst them by getting them involved in benefit concerts.
"I try to make the children experience music in the best possible way and in the best level that they have, so it will be a positive experience that they will remember," she said. "I also want to show the community at large that music plays an important role in people's lives. By planning these benefit concerts, I want to leave a lasting impression with the students as a means of self-motivation, in which they will see the event and they want to be a part of it and help celebrate a certain ethnic community through its music."
Under Ms. Kourtelessi-Stathopoulos' direction and leadership, many of FACE's orchestras have performed in numerous concerts across the city and have won many awards. They have performed at the memorial concert at last year's United Nations World Conference on Climate Change and the FACE Chamber Orchestra has won the 2003 Wilfred Harvey Award for best small ensemble and the Symphony Orchestra and the 2005 Christopher Gledhill Award for best Canadian Orchestra: both national awards presented by the Canadian Music Educators Association.Several of her string student alumni have gone on to study at some of the most prestigious music schools in North America, including the Julliard School of Music in New York, the Manhattan School of Music, McGill's Department of Music and the Paris and Quebec Conservatories of Music. She believes that her success as a music teacher is due to how she teaches her students to not only to play the music, but also learn about its background, context and be sensitized by it.
"It's very self-fulfilling for the students when they are involved in the process of making music," she said. "And when they play well at their own level, and the parents are there to listen to it and are touched by it, then the student, teacher and parent become one; it's quite a magic moment."
Along with Ms. Chalupovitsch and Ms. Kourtelessi-Stathopoulos receiving the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence Certificates of Achievement, both schools will be awarded $1,000 that will go towards the funding of professional development, equipment, resource materials, website development, teaching aids or tools in order to improve teaching and student learning. The allocation of the funds will be determined by the recipients.
Michael J. Cohen