A Peerless Lake School teacher is this year’s Northland School Division nominee for the Edwin Parr Teacher Award.
Chelsea Cattroll is nominated for the award, which recognizes first-year teachers who demonstrate exemplary dedication and commitment in the field of education.
“I am very proud to have been nominated for the Edwin Parr Teacher Award,” says Cattroll in a Northland news release.
“Ever since I first heard about the award at new teacher orientation in Wabasca, I had made plans to achieve the teaching standard required to obtain the award. I think it was important for me to set it as a goal right from the beginning of the year and it certainly has pushed me to achieve my highest potential.”
Cattroll’s teaching assignments include Grade 1-12 Physical Education and Grades 8-9, and high school Art.
Louis Cardinal, Peerless Lake local school board committee chair says Cattroll’s impact on students has been particularly evident by their increased attendance and participation.
“Through her fresh and innovative approach to Physical Education, and her extensive background in numerous sporting and athletic activities, she has been able to get all students in the school eagerly and happily involved in Physical Education,” says Cardinal.
“Through many of her activities, she has been able to promote our cultural and land-based learning philosophies.”
Cattroll introduced land-based learning earlier this year by teaching students how to build a quinzhee, which is a snow shelter made by gathering a large pile of snow and hollowing it out. Activities similar to this are usually taught when students attend land-based camps sponsored by Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council and Northland.
Cattroll says she has gained respect and trust of students by attending these camps.
“I think it is very important to understand the culture of the area that you teach in and by attending these camps it has helped me gain a greater understanding of my students and where they come from,” says Cattroll.
“Every time I attend these camps the one thing that I value the most is that you build a really great connection with your students because they see you in a different role. I always end up coming home with so much knowledge about the culture and teachings.”
Cattroll adds it is important to be part of the community.
“Right from day one [Cardinal] said that I had become a part of the community and, to me, that was an open invitation and that I should treat Peerless Lake as my new home, not a place where I am just living,” says Cattroll.
She even shared common interests like fishing and hunting, and even helped clean a moose with a family in the community.
“Since then, people have been inviting me to events within the community and surrounding area.”
Her actions have also motivated other teachers to venture out into the community.
“I believe that in communities such as Peerless Lake, community engagement is very critical for the success of our schools to run effectively.”
Each year, the Alberta School Boards Association honours outstanding first-year teachers representing six zones in Alberta. Cattroll will be recognized at Northland’s Long Service and Recognition Awards and at the ASBA Zone 1 Luncheon in the fall.