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Tuesday September 29 2015 7 NORTHERNERS AWARDS New Order of the NWT shines with best and brightest By CRAIG GILBERT Retired teacher Bruce Green is looking forward to being inducted into the Order of the Northwest Territories if only to find out why he was nominated. Im wondering myself he said from his Hay River home last week. I was quite sur- prised its a great honour to be recognized and to be one of the first recipients of this special award. Ill be interested in reading what the nomination said. Modelled after the Order of Canada a new merit award system takes precedent over any other honour the NWT can bestow. The first class of inductees were announced last week and will be honoured at a ceremony in Yel- lowknife Oct. 7. They include Gino Pin and Ruth Spence of Yellowknife Lucy Jackson of Fort Good Hope Sonny MacDonald of Fort Smith and John Zoe of Behchoko. The first recipients of the Order of the Northwest Territories embody the spirit and intention of the Legislative Assembly when it established the Order honours committee chair Paul Delorey said. They inspire all of us as Northerners to be the best we can be and to give back to our communities regions territory and country. A factsheet circulated hours after the nomi- nees were announced indicates Green is being honoured for his work in arts and culture community leadership education environ- mental science and technology sports and recreation and volunteer services. Green taught for 27 years 24 at the high school level at Diamond Jenness Second- ary School where he retired in 2002. He then spent several years teaching at the Chief Sunrise Adult Learning Centre on the Katlodeechee Reserve. Pin an architect who has been living de- signing and building in Canadas North for morethan35yearshasreceivedmanydesign awards including the CMHC 1994 Concept Design Award and was Up Here Magazines Northerner of the Year in 2002. He was a recipient of a research grant in 1997 for the study of Native Northern Com- munities and is co-author of Health Housing in the North Towards a Northern Health Housing Demonstration Project. His creative approach to all his projects makehisfinishedproductsdistinctiveandrec- ognizable from the many houses throughout the North to large public projects such as the Legislative Assembly Building according to the GNWT. Fellow Yellowknifer Spence was nominated as a community leader. She served for nearly 20 years as Executive Director of the YWCA was elected to multiple terms on Yellowknife city council was a member and chair of the Hospital Board president of the Consumers Association of Canada NWT Branch and president of the NWT and Western Arctic Liberal Association. The Y under Mrs. Spences direction was able to establish summer day camps day care centres and after school programs for children and provide a safe caring and nurturing place for young women. Jackson was nominated for her work in arts and culture communications commu- nity leadership education public service and volunteer services. Mrs. Jackson is a dedicated member of the local church society serves the public as a spiritual leader traditional woman and North Slavey translator for local boards and organizations according to the GNWT. She is known for her strong traditional knowl- edge her belief in traditional lifestyles and dedication to her community. Most recently Mrs. Jackson has been working on medical terminology for aboriginal languages with the department of Health and Social Services Aboriginal Health and Community Wellness and is a Justice of the Peace. The self-taught Fort Smith carver Mac- Donald is also being recognized as an artist and community-builder. He is a former council member of Salt River First Nation NWT Aboriginal Representa- tive to the Mackenzie River Basin Board is past Chairman of the NWT Arts Council and past co-chairman of the NWT Arts Strategy Advisory Panel. Zoe is being recognized for his work in self- government and northern development. He became the Chief Negotiator for the Dogrib in 1992 to settle a Land Claim and Self Govern- ment Agreement through negotiations with the Government of Canada and the NWT. John B. is now a senior advisor for the Tli- cho Government. He has an Honourary Doc- tor of Laws from the University of Alberta in recognition of his work in projects that are built upon a foundation of Tlicho language culture and way of life. Its a great honour to be recognized and to be one of the first recipients of this special award. ONWT recipient Bruce Green SSDEC Literacy Initiative receives ministerial award By DALI CARMICHAEL Since the early 2000s the South Slave Divisional Education Council SSDEC has identified improving literacy rates among its student population as a top priority and now it is being recognized for its efforts. The school boards Leadership for Liter- acy Initiative was awarded with the Minis- terial Literacy Award for Organizations at a ceremony hosted by Education Culture and Employment Minister Jackson Laf- ferty on Sept. 22. Other winners awarded for their commit- ment to improving literacy included adult learner Carol Elanik from the Beaufort Delta educator Caroline Roux from Yellow- knife and volunteer educator Catarina Owen from the Sahtu. The SSDECs literacy program is directed by a regional working committee led by a co- ordinator and made up of one representative from each school in the South Slave. Every year the committee updates the program with new strategies and actions. This years challenge includes elements of social and cultural awareness. The board members staff students by the end of the year 70 per cent of them will be able to do greetings in an Aborigi- nal language said Ann Pischinger SSDC chair person. The three regional Indigenous languages taught in the schools of the South Slave in- clude Slavey Chipewyan and Cree. We want to honour that 70-plus per cent of our students are of Aboriginal descent and we want to honour their culture and heritage said SSDEC superintendent Dr. Curtis Brown. There is also an increased focus on the self- regulation of mental health for students and teachers this year with classes and activities devotedtodevelopingsocial-emotionallearning. The annual challenges as well as the on- going initiatives are developed based on a three-prong approach maximizing student teacher and parent engagement. EDUCATION LITERACY With those three things you cant help but improve student success Brown said. A decade of increasing literacy rates Since launching the initiative in 2007 the school board has seen steady improvements in its math reading and writing scores as measured in the Grade 6 Alberta Achieve- ment test results. Over time educators have also noticed an increase in the percentage of students reach- ing the Canadian Standard in both math and reading improvements in the percentage of parents saying they are satisfied with their childs academic performance and higher student attendance rates. The model has been so successful it has been adapted by school boards in Nunavut and Alberta and been shared at international education forums. I think about 25 per cent of our teachers and principals over the years have been rec- ognized for their excellence - a lot of them because of the leadership from this initiative - but the unsung heroes are the board mem- bers Brown said. From back in 2007 they basically demanded there would be improve- ment and they were very careful in choosing what their priorities would be. Our main focus is the student success we want them to succeed Pischinger said. Parents teachers staff if we all work to- gether we will continue on that success and not maintain the status quo. I guess thats our goal is to keep on as a council. To learn more about the SSDEC Literacy Initiative tune into this video at https PhotocourtesyofSSDEC Ann Pischinger SSDEC chair person and representative for Fort Smith shows off the SSDECs latest award next to a treasure trove of the school boards accomplishments.