Abbotsford teachers Joanne Weatherby (left) and Karen Bowater both recently earned Prime Minister Awards. (Submitted)

Abbotsford teachers Joanne Weatherby (left) and Karen Bowater both recently earned Prime Minister Awards. (Submitted)

Abbotsford teachers earn Prime Minister’s Awards

Rick Hansen’s Joanne Weatherby and Mouat’s Karen Bowater recognized for efforts

A pair of Abbotsford teachers have been awarded a Prime Minister’s Award.

Rick Hansen Secondary School’s Joanne Weatherby was awarded a PMA for Teaching Excellence in recognition of her work in the area of student assessment, and for her successful implementation of a learning process that focuses on competencies rather than on the acquistion of content.

The Grade 11 and 12 science teacher was praised for her unique teaching approach, which has seen her move toward a gradeless classroom. According to the award release, that type of classroom has created an environment that focusses on the process of learning, not the destination.

Based on that concept, students track their performance using graphs that measure their competencies demonstrated within each assignment. The tracking process allow students to see their individual progress including their starting and end points.

Weatherby was also recognized for her nod to technology, as she was an early adopter of the Google Classroom. As a result, the transition to virtual learning during the pandemic was easier for her students.

She also utilizes a one-on-one student-teacher interview, where students talk about their experience as a learner and determine their grade. Weatherby has gone on to create a student, teacher, and individual podcast to help the education community learn and discuss new themes.

The full description on Weatherby can be seen at

RELATED: Abbotsford educator receives Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence

W.J. Mouat Secondary School teacher Karen Bowater was awarded a PMA for Teaching Excellence in STEM and for empowering her students to break down gender and racial biases.

Bowater teaches math, pre-calculus, calculus and senior student leadership for grades 9 to 12 at Mouat.

According to the award release, Bowater’s teaching approach is about leading students to successful academic and personal outcomes, and not a one way transmission of information.

Her involvement in the community was also praised, as she was the chair of student programming when the Canadian Student Leadership Conference recently came to Abbotsford. She also recently received the prestigious Teachers Building Leaders Award from the Loran Scholars Foundation.

The release goes on to state that her classes are a space where students feel safe and where errors are learning opportunities instead of embarrassments.

The full write-up on Bowater can be seen at