‘Together We’re Better’ Inclusion Award Presented to Grade 2 & 3 Class

Photo: Grade 2/3 class with teacher/vice principal Nadia Zanatta

A news-style video highlighting how to be inclusive, along with many examples of how it is put into practice at their school, saw students in the Grade 2/3 class at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Elementary School, in Sault Ste. Marie, receive the ‘Together We’re Better’ Inclusion Award at today’s school assembly.

The Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board students, taught by Nadia Zanatta (Vice Principal) each received certificates presented by Community Living Algoma (CLA).

Every February, as part of Inclusive Education Month, CLA launches their “Together We’re Better” Contest. Schools and students, from kindergarten to grade 12 across Algoma, are encouraged to share examples of how inclusion is evident in their schools.

The Grade 2/3 submission was a video presentation entitled ‘Breaking News – Live from Lourdes”. It demonstrated a creative and insightful understanding about the importance of inclusion in everyone’s life.

“The grade 2/3 students and their teacher are symbolic of an inclusive school culture and climate at Our Lady of Lourdes,” says Sergio Iacoe, Manager of Inclusion, Community Living Algoma. “The positive example they have set represents the commitment of all students and staff at the school, parents, family members and the Our Lady of Lourdes community, collectively. Another cornerstone has been added to reinforce the foundation of a welcoming, friendly, inspiring school for all.”

Each student received a certificate of recognition, from CLA, with Nadia Zanatta (Class Teacher) and the school each also receiving recognition for their role in promoting and fulfilling an inclusive school environment.

Photo: Teacher/vice principal Nadia Zanatta, Principal Mike Oliveira with Sergio Iacoe, Manager of Inclusion at Community Living Algoma.

“This prize is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the staff and students of Our Lady of Lourdes, specifically Mrs. Zanatta and the grade 2/3 class,” says Mike Oliveira, Principal, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Elementary School. “As a school community, we strive to promote meaningful inclusion practices in all that we do. Thank you to CLA for providing this opportunity for our students.”

The classroom has 20 students and each played a role or contributed to the creation of their submission. The classroom also receives a $200 prize in the form of a gift card.

“It was such a fantastic learning experience for the students to participate in. The entire submission was student-driven, from the ideas, components, and execution – highlighting their strengths, talents, and authenticity,” says Nadia Zanatta, Vice-Principal and Grade 2/3 teacher. “It is especially important to recognize the meaning of such a contest from the perspective of young learners. Inclusive environments promote differentiated opportunities to allow for all students to be successful and feel safe. I am extremely proud of their collaborative accomplishment!” 

It is not the first time that Vice Principal/teacher Nadia Zanatta has had a class under her direction receive an award in the ‘Together We’re Better’ Contest. In 2023, her Grade 7/8 class at Our Lady of Lourdes French Immersion School, in Elliot Lake, received a ‘Together We’re Better’ award and then went on to receive the ‘Champion of Inclusion’ award at CLA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Community Living Algoma provides supports and services to more than 546 people in the Algoma District who have intellectual disabilities or are on the autism spectrum. Community Living Algoma is committed to the advancement of a community in which all people are recognized as full citizens; achieve personal dignity; enjoy the benefits and responsibilities of independence and are supported to reach their full potential.

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