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St. Kateri teacher recognized with Impact Award

Sara Fortino is setting her students up for success, both in and outside her classroom.

Last month, the Grade 3/4 teacher at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Elementary School was recognized as an Impact Influencer at this year’s Impact Awards. The awards celebrate math teachers for their dedication and effective use of research-based practices in the classroom.

This year, 28 educators across the country were recognized for innovative teaching practices.

“I would describe my classroom environment as very welcoming,” she said.

“A lot of community circles to see how everyone’s doing – if anyone is feeling upset a lot of the times it will come up in those conversations.”

These mental health check-ins are key for Fortino to gauge who in the class needs a little extra attention that day, she noted. “The class knows, too – ‘okay one friend in our class isn’t feeling okay let’s see what we can do.’”

“Before math, we also do meditation first which I find calms everyone down a little bit before we get into our lesson.”

Recognizing her outstanding efforts in the classroom were a panel of Knowledge Translation Experts, who are leaders in the fields of math education and research. Each expert reviewed the stories of teachers and highlighted how particular research methods shine through.

“Sara’s classroom is a welcoming environment with a community-like feel where all students are welcomed and cared about,” said Dr. Tracee Tomlinson. “She frequently implements discussions, meditation, and mental health check-ins as opportunities for her students to share anything they feel is important. With the inclusion of supportive resources, Sara is able to informally assess her students learning to help guide or direct her teaching instruction.”

This approach to learning has helped her students feel confident and succeed, in whichever path they choose.

“We're setting them up for their future successes and giving them the stepping stones for where they want to be,” said Fortino.

‘Especially those who struggle in certain subject areas, when that lightbulb moment goes off and they are like, ‘Miss, I finally get it!’ – those are the biggest moments.”

To read more about Sara’s approach to learning and the Impact Award, please visit: ...

St. Kateri teacher recognized with Impact Award