Year: 2017 – Province: Northwest Territories
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Chief Julius School
P.O. Box 26
Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories X0E 0J0
Principal: Shirley Snowshoe
School telephone: 867-952-2131
School website: http://chiefjuliusdotcom3.wordpress.com
Subjects and grades taught: Grades 8 to 12, Language Arts, Visual Arts
With teaching experience in both Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, Erica Thompson has chosen to make her home in Canada's Arctic. She weaves the importance of community traditions throughout practical learning, celebrates individual talents, instils leadership and builds resiliency –an example of this was on a Caribou hunt led by Elders where students learn about both traditional food sources and body systems.
A background in feminist literature and Indigenous land-based education guide Thompson's interactions. She creates problem-solving activities while honoring and validating the knowledge of the community in order to reach curricular outcomes and foster a spirit of reciprocity among her students and their families.
- Students are encouraged to develop deeper connections to their culture as they discover and draw their own spirit animal through family interviews. Thompson organizes an annual community Art Walk to showcase this student art work.
- Connects her classroom to the community through work experience classes, partnerships with local government, weekly radio shows, photography classes with a local photographer, and a Girl Power skills workshop at the youth center.
- In a Powerful Women Project, Thompson inspired students to explore the strong women in their lives providing support, and encourage them by discovering texts written by Indigenous female authors.
- Initiates and leads extra-curricular activities like photography and digital media clubs, tours to Europe, and serving as a snowshoe coach for Team NWT at the Arctic Games in Greenland.
"Her consistent expectation that the students use technology as a tool is enhancing their knowledge of how best to engage in the realities of the cyber environment to which they must become accustomed."
"With Erica, you know that you will receive an honest and passionate response regarding our profession. She exemplifies in a very humble way the definition of a master teacher, a mentor, and a role model for all teachers who come to know her and work with her."