Wednesday, May 10, 2023
NNDSB recognizes achievement of educator named as provincial literacy leader by provincial organization
Kara Macie, Near North District School Board (NNDSB) lead speech-language pathologist, attended the Board meeting last night to be acknowledged and thanked for the work that led to her being named a provincial literacy leader.
Macie, along with her NNDSB colleagues attended the International Dyslexia Association of Ontario’s (IDA-O) Literacy and Learning conference last month, where a highlight was seeing Macie honoured with a Literacy Leader award. Macie was one of six recipients of the award, who were selected from hundreds of nominations.
At the Board meeting, Chair Erika Lougheed acknowledged Macie’s “exemplary endeavours” and Director of Education Craig Myles noted the difference that can be made when learning is “sparked by inspirational staff.” He acknowledged this work and its alignment with NNDSB’s strategic plan and its commitment to excellence in teaching and learning.
In introducing Macie to the Board, Superintendent Melanie Gray said Macie had worked tirelessly for many years in early learning and literacy and has been willing to share her knowledge with other early learning organizations.
Student Achievement and Well-Being Principal Steve Krause said that as a board, “we are beginning to see the impact of this work and it is exciting.”
Macie said the recognition means a lot, as she’s grateful that she and the team have been able to “really shift what we’re doing and making sure we’re supporting every student in an equitable way.”
Of Macie, IDA-O President Alicia Smith said, “A passionate and innovative educator, Ms. Macie has a deep understanding of language and literacy development, assessment, and instruction. Committed to ensuring every learner’s right to read is honoured, Ms. Macie has spearheaded Near North DSB’s shift to structured literacy. In this work, she has supported countless educators in providing evidence-based literacy instruction to meet the needs of all students.
“We also see Near North DSB as a leader in the province when it comes to implementing the recommendations of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Right to Read Inquiry,” Smith said.
Krause said Macie was “recognized for her tireless efforts over the past many years in supporting our learning in literacy as a board. Her willingness to share her depth of knowledge about how our brains learn and process language has supported staff in administration and classrooms.”
Krause went on to say Macie’s “mission to support students and staff placed our board in a position where many of our teaching practices were already aligned with the recommendations from the Ontario Human Rights Commission Right to Read report, when it was released in February 2022.
“We had already begun shifting our instruction to align with evidence-based research when the report was released, and many of the recommendations made in the report were understood and thoughtful responses and investments in learning, training and resources were underway,” Krause said.
Macie has been a strong and persistent voice calling for change in how educators were supporting students to read and write. She recognized that the approach being used in Ontario did not align with decades of scientific research and therefore was unlikely to deliver results for all students. Macie has been providing professional development over the past five years, and working alongside the board’s program team to put resources into classrooms that can move this work forward.
“This award is especially meaningful because of whom it came from,” said Macie. “To have an organization like the IDA-O shine a light on my contribution to this work locally is really special. It also means a great deal to me that my colleagues here at NNDSB must have submitted nominations in large enough numbers that IDA-O recognized me with this award.
“The most rewarding part of this work has been working with the incredible teachers we have at NNDSB,” Macie said. “Their willingness and eagerness to embrace this new work have been inspiring to see. Teachers want the best for their students and feel it deeply when their students struggle. Teachers now are reaching out to me saying that they are seeing the impact of this work and students are developing the skills needed to be proficient readers.”
Macie and the NNDSB team are being featured on a Dyslexia Canada Spotlight Series episode on Friday, May 12 at 1 p.m. Dyslexia Canada notes, “The Near North District School Board has been a trailblazing board in Ontario with regard to the recommendations in the Right to Read report – screening, structured literacy. Joining us will be Kara Macie – Lead Speech Language Pathologist, Steve Krause and Christopher Walking – K-12 Student Achievement and Well-Being Principals.” The episode may be accessed via this link.