Joanne Weatherby – Learning Focussed on Competencies

Year: 2021 — Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Rick Hansen Secondary
Grades 11 and 12 - science
Abbotsford, British Columbia


“Mrs. Weatherby is a champion of student voice. Her work gives wings to students’ reflection, interpretation, and perspective within the education world. Moreover, by sharing student voice Mrs. Weatherby engages her colleagues in understanding, appreciating, and meeting the challenges of what students tell us works and does not work within the system. Mrs. Weatherby is truly a remarkable educator.”


Teaching Approach

Joanne is a leading learner and teacher who transformed classroom practices. Her work in the area of assessment is remarkable. At Rick Hansen Secondary, she has moved towards a “gradeless classroom” – 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. The outcome is a much richer learning experience.

In the Classroom

Students see Joanne as a progressive student-centered advocate who practices what she asks her students to do – continually learn, grow, and ask thought provoking questions. She pushes the boundaries of what teaching and learning look like, sound like, and what outcomes are produced as a result. For instance, in her gradeless classroom, she conducts 1-on-1 student-teacher interview, where students talk about what they learned their experience as a learner. Based on the interview, students determine their grade, and their report card comments. As a result, the learning process is owned by the student and facilitated by the teacher, versus the traditional model where students learn and echo the content on tests and exams.

Joanne introduced Google Classroom long before it became a go-to online platform for teachers and students. She saw that it would support student learning at their own level. The outcome has been significant in the current context. When the school moved completely virtual in April 2020, her students encountered zero learning loss.

Outstanding achievements

Joanne is a key person in supporting other teachers in understanding the impact of traditional assessment practices on student performance. When the BC Ministry of Education introduced the redesigned curriculum with its emphasis on curricular and core competencies, she transformed classroom practices to focus on demonstration of competencies versus mastery of content. Learning in her classroom is based on creative and critical thinking while using the content as a leverage for deeper learning. 

In the spirit of providing students with the opportunity to demonstrate their learning, Joanne has established a student, teacher, and individual podcast. In her podcast ONE WORD, she has students interview other students on issues important to them, she interviews her colleagues on concepts central to teaching and learning, and she shares the podcasts with her professional learning network via social media. As a result, students, teachers, colleagues, and the greater community are talking about themes in learning and education. 

Get in touch!

Rick Hansen Secondary
31150 Blueridge Drive
Abbotsford, BC  V2T 5R2
Facebook: @RickHanenSecondarySchool