Laura Mackenzie, Education Assistant at Harry Hooge Elementary School in Maple Ridge has been awarded a National Inclusive Education Award from the Canadian Association for Community Living and Inclusion BC for her advocacy work in ensuring that educators and support staff recognize the benefits of inclusion for all students.
Ms. Mackenzie has demonstrated exceptional leadership in providing a welcoming and inclusive learning experience for all students. By focusing on strengths rather than disabilities, Laura’s efforts have had a direct impact on building the confidence and self-esteem of students as well as positively shifting the perception of staff in her school.
Described by her peers as, “A gift to the children and adults she works with” Laura leads by example in her ability to confidently communicate effective ideas on adaptations while advocating for ways to highlight each student’s unique strength. Her advocacy for a student with Autism to participate in a school talent show was originally met with resistance by other staff. In the end, the student performed beyond all expectations due in part to Laura’s strong conviction that all students must be included in all school activities.
Kristi Blakeway, the principal of the school has this to say about Laura: “Laura is one of the best EA’s I have ever worked with. She is positive, supportive, inclusive…creative, hard working. She is a leader in inclusive education.”
Ms. Mackenzie will receive the award at an event in Maple Ridge to be determined. Media will be welcomed to attend.