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Forum to address safe and caring schools

April 24, 2018 Jen Janzen, ATA News Staff
Maggie MacDonnell, a teacher in the fly-in village of Salluit, will talk about her efforts to build resilience in at-risk youth at the upcoming Canadian Forum on Public Education, which will take place in Edmonton on July 9 and 10.

Salluit is a fly-in village of about 1,200 people in Nunavik, located in the northern third of Quebec. Mountains encircle the community and the surrounding land is home to polar bears, muskox, walruses and caribou. But within the stark beauty of the Arctic lies a youth crisis: the Nunavik Inuit suicide rate is 25 times the Quebec average.

Maggie MacDonnell, who has been teaching in Salluit for seven years, is trying to change that.

“Witnessing the funerals of my students is one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through,” she said in a video created by the Varkey Foundation. “I never want to be in that position again.”

MacDonnell, winner of the 2017 Global Teacher Prize, has built resilience and hope in her students through sport and physical activity, and she will be sharing her story at the upcoming Canadian Forum on Public Education in Edmonton on July 9 and 10. MacDonnell’s keynote speech, entitled Running for Resilience, will outline the Nunavik Running Club and the changes she’s seen in the youth who participated in it.

Built around the theme of safe and caring schools, the forum will also include presentations about inclusive learning, school mental health, violence against teachers, an interactive science reception at the TELUS World of Science, and a safe and caring fair.

Hosted by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), the annual forum brings together participants from government, universities, public and private education, school boards and teacher associations. Participants will be encouraged to share and expand their understanding on critical matters in education in an atmosphere of respectful, open dialogue.

This will be the first year since 2010 that the forum has taken place in Alberta.

“This is a real opportunity for Alberta teachers. I would encourage any teacher who is interested in the bigger picture issues affecting education to attend,” said CTF president Mark Ramsankar, who is also past president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. ❚

Registration Fees

   Before June 2 June 2 and after 
 CTF members  $400 $450
 Non-CTF members  $450 $475
More information on the forum is available on the CTF website,

Leyton Schnellert, inclusive education expert

On another keynote
Also slated to deliver a keynote address at the Canadian
Forum on Public Education is Leyton Schnellert, a University of British Columbia researcher who specializes in student diversity and inclusive education. Schnellert’s address is entitled Inclusive Education as Student-Centred Practice. He is a former middle and secondary years teacher with six books to his credit.

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