Vancouver teachers receive national award for strengthening inclusion in public schools

Schools & Students

Two teachers from Simon Fraser Elementary, Monika Martinkova and Joyita Rubin, have been honoured with 2017 National Inclusive Education Awards from the Canadian Association for Community Living and Inclusion BC. The annual awards celebrate the many successful inclusive classrooms and schools supporting diverse learners across the country.

Simon Fraser Elementary has more than 300 students from kindergarten to grade seven, of whom about 10% have special needs.

Monika Martinkova uses a range of strategies and practices to ensure that each student in her diverse grade one class feels valued and is fully included in all activities, both in the classroom and beyond. Parent Sherri Brown has seen her son Quinn,who has special needs, flourish in Martinkova’s classroom. “Inclusion is infused in everything she does as a teacher and she strongly believes and practices it, as a benefit to both Quinn and her entire class,” says Brown. “Many parents have commented to me that their children are learning how to support Quinn and how to be a friend and that Ms. Martinkova is central to that learning.”   

Grade four teacher Joyita Rubin goes above and beyond, spending hours of her own time adapting programs and projects so that students of all learning abilities can participate. Tamara Taggart’s son Beckett is a student in Rubin’s classroom. “I have never met anyone like her,” Taggart says. “She teaches to all levels and abilities and communicates regularly and effectively with all the students’ parents.” By nurturing a culture of inclusion, Rubin has helped all of the children develop empathy and respect.

The awards were presented at Inclusion BC’s annual learning event in Richmond, part of a full day Inclusive Education Summit.