2019 Edwin Parr Award nominee selected for Lethbridge School District

By Garrett Simmons

Lethbridge School District No. 51

Communications Officer

Lethbridge School District No. 51 has its 2019 Edwin Parr Award nominee.

Wilson Middle School teacher Melanie Wasylenko is set to represent the District on May 15 at the annual Zone 6 Edwin Parr Award banquet, held in Taber.

The award honours outstanding first-year teachers in Alberta, and according to Wilson principal, Dean Hawkins, Wasylenko’s nomination was well deserved.

“We feel privileged to have had the beginning of her career take place at Wilson Middle School, where an integral part of the atmosphere centres on character, teamwork and innovation,” said Hawkins.

Wasylenko is currently a member of the Grade 6 team as a Homeroom, Humanities and Drama teacher. She also has taught a range of other courses including Literacy, Numeracy, Babysitting and Forensics.

“Melanie has such a positive outlook on education,” said Hawkins. “She is willing to take on any teaching assignment, and then transform that class into something special where students feel safe, respected and are willing to give their all to accomplish self-motivated goals. Melanie is also a dedicated staff member who believes in the strength of community at Wilson, and the foundation built through the Wilson Way.”

As a CTS major, Wasylenko is passionate about the development of meaningful technological skills for her students. According to Hawkins, Wasylenko has worked hard to implement technology into the curriculum on a regular basis, and her students can always expect to use different apps and programs in their learning activities.

“Melanie consistently advocates for the practical use of technology for staff and students in education,” said Hawkins. “She has been able to share her expertise with her colleagues through introducing new ideas and collaborating on existing projects.”

The principal added the school has been impressed by what Wasylenko has accomplished inside the classroom, and outside the classroom at Wilson.

“Meeting students at the door every period, offering lunch and after school support on a daily basis, as well as connecting with parents and caregivers to make sure their children’s needs are being met, make Melanie a great candidate for this prestigious award,” said Hawkins.

Wasylenko has assisted with JV girls volleyball, runs homework clubs at lunch and after school and has hosted staff learning events where teachers can come and learn from her expertise in the area of technology. She also plans to help with Wilson’s upcoming drama production and assist the track and field program this spring.

“This wide array of involvement has led Melanie to be able to build relationships with numerous students, even outside of her regular classroom,” said Hawkins. “Melanie is well rounded, and a humbly-grounded teacher who loves what she does. She connects and builds genuine relationships with our students and creates a passion for learning.”

While this is Wasylenko’s first year as a teacher, she is certainly no stranger to the profession. She spent time as an educational assistant and an administrative assistant, where she witnessed the impact positive relationships, and the hard work of school staff, can have on students. Wasylenko is grateful for the opportunity to be part of building those relationships at Wilson.

“I am honoured to begin my teaching career at Wilson Middle School, where character, teamwork and innovation are an integral part of the community,” she said. “It is wonderful to be able to teach a wide range of subjects to students in grades 6 to 8.”

Included in those student interactions is a huge focus on technology.

“I believe that technology is an asset for assessment, engagement and meeting the diverse needs of students in my classroom,” said Wasylenko. “I feel fortunate that Wilson has a wide range of technology available for my students to integrate into their learning.”

Wasylenko’s students also feel fortunate to have her in their school.

“Mrs. Wasylenko definitely deserves this award,” said Grade 6 Wilson student Abigail Guigue. “She is an amazing teacher who teaches with kindness and compassion. She teaches in a way so that everyone can learn and she is always encouraging us to be the best we can be.”

Guigue added Wasylenko goes the extra mile inside her classroom.

“She's also the kind of person who will help you out in a heartbeat, no matter what it is. She always listens to everyone's opinion during important discussions and social studies and always will help a student out if they don't understand something.”

Date posted: Feb. 26, 2018