For Immediate Release
June 13, 2012
CDDHS teacher receives Premier's Award for Teaching Excellence
|CDDHS history teacher Neil Orford in his classroom. Photo by Lynn Codd.
GUELPH, Ontario -- A teacher at Centre Dufferin District High School in Shelburne is one of the Premier’s Teacher of the Year award recipients.
Neil Orford, a history teacher at CDDHS, is among 20 teachers and support staff honoured for their outstanding work in the province's schools and childcare centres, and one of just five named “Teacher of the Year” for 2011-2012.
The premier’s award is the latest in a string of recognitions for Orford, who recently picked up a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Alan Skeoch History Teachers Award, and an OSSTF District 18 Excellence in Teaching Award.
Orford was nominated for the premier’s award by one of his students, Corah Lynn Hodgson, who collected letters of support.
"As a teacher, Neil’s qualities are ones I and many others try to emulate," said one of his colleagues, Eric Zeidler. "I’m lucky enough to listen to him teach on my prep period, through the Social Sciences office wall."
Zeidler commended Orford for the way he engages students and willingness to share teaching techniques with new staff. "Neil’s students don’t just get by and get their credit," said Zeidler. "They learn and improve as students."
Orford’s real impact as a teacher can be seen in a few of the projects that he has taken that go beyond the classroom.
In 2006 Orford, with his students, entered into a formal partnership with the Dufferin County Museum and Archives (DCMA) to conduct research into Dufferin veterans from wars of the 20th century. His plan was to develop a pathway from grade 9 to 12 to incorporate critical thinking into the Canadian and World Studies program at CDDHS. All research had to be conducted at the DCMA and students were required to make field trips to the site in order to access primary documentary files and microfiche.
The students went on to use their research to help the DCMA create a virtual War Memorial database, which began with the stories of 40 veterans but now has data for 6,500 war veterans.
Orford’s plan included include the creation of a Battlefields Tour for CDDHS students, a 10-day tour of historic sites in Europe that he has lead since 2008. Students on the tours commemorate the Dufferin veterans they have researched with bricks at the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy France.
Students at CDDHS, led by Neil, also fundraised over $5000 to develop a new CDDHS War Memorial. This monument was rededicated November 11th, 2010 at a ceremony organized by Neil and his students. This ceremony was attended by more than 700 members of the north Dufferin community. New names were uncovered by the students in their research and added to the Memorial. A leadership team of four students over the course of two years raised all of the needed funds. These students were honoured by with the Lt. Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Youth Achievement, which was presented to them at Queens Park, February 2012.
Neil Orford returns to Europe this summer. He has been asked to lead a workshop in the summer of 2012 at the Juno Beach Centre for teachers across Canada to promote the partnership model and to demonstrate the curricular links that can be established to build such a partnership between schools and museums in communities throughout the country.
Orford also coaches the CDDHS debating team, has spent many hours as the producer for CDDHS plays, and led a new program at the school with the development of the Social Sciences Advanced Placement class.
For more information:
Maggie McFadzen, Communications Officer
519-822-4420 ext. 725
Mark Weidmark, Administrative Officer - Communications
519-822-4420 ext. 544