Upper Sumas Elementary’s Debbie Mar (centre), with Shaughnessy Elementary’s Carla Place, is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence for 2020. (Photo courtesy of Ashley Martens)

Abbotsford educator receives Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence

Debbie Mar of Upper Sumas Elementary only one in B.C. named for national honour

An Abbotsford teacher is among 10 recipients – and the only one in B.C. – of the national Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

The award recipients were announced Monday (Oct. 5) on World Teachers’ Day.

Debbie Mar teaches Grades 3 and 4 at Upper Sumas Elementary, and has been an educator for 26 years.

She was recognized for her hands-on projects, which included one that started from a batch of tulip bulbs that were to be planted for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands last fall.

Mar and her students spent weeks learning about the special relationship between Canada and the Netherlands, visited the graves of four soldiers at a local cemetery, produced a short documentary, participated in the school’s Remembrance Day ceremony, and learned to sing in Dutch.

Mar has also used STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) projects that include designing and building catapults, creating a board game, and learning robotics by building LEGO animals.

RELATED: Holland WW2 tulips blossom into massive project for Abbotsford students

RELATED: Abbotsford elementary class celebrated as guests of honour at Veterans Affairs ceremony

Her students also raised salmon in the classroom to learn about their life cycle and then shared their knowledge with other students, using facts, diagrams and games.

Mar’s students also keep reading and writing journals and meet weekly with her to set goals for both skills.

Mar has also spearheaded efforts to improve student literacy, including working with library staff to form teams of students to take part in book-based trivia challenges.

She also partnered with a homeless advocate who had just opened a new shelter for older adults, and her class decorated it for Christmas. The class filled stockings for the shelter residents and wrote a poem together to place in each stocking.

“Debbie believes her role as an educator is to be passionate about introducing the wonder of the world to her students,” said the statement about her award.

“She seeks to inspire her students to love and care about themselves, each other and their learning, recognize their strengths and move forward, overcoming obstacles with courageous optimism.”

There are three categories of the Prime Minister’s Award – Teaching Excellence, Teaching Excellence in STEM, and Excellence in Early Childhood Education – with a total of 71 recipients this year.



vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

EducationGreat Teachers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Liberal Bruce Banman has been declared the winner in Abbotsford South. (File photo)
Liberal Bruce Banman declared winner in Abbotsford South

Banman defeats NDP, Green and Christian Heritage Party opponents

Michael de Jong has been declared the winner in Abbotsford West. (File photo)
Liberal Michael de Jong declared winner in Abbotsford West

Incumbent MLA wins again in Abbotsford West, has held seat since 1994

Provincial election polls closed at 8 p.m. Saturday (Black Press Media photo)
ELECTION 2020: Abbotsford voting results

Watch here to see the results as they come in for the 3 Abbotsford ridings

John Morrow photo
Barn catches fire near Abbotsford airport

Fire closes Mt. Lehman Road between Marshall Road and Abbotsford International Airport

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Most Read