Michael Santolupo: Bringing the World of Design to the Classroom

Year: 2021 — Province: Ontario
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

John Paul II Catholic Secondary School
Grades 9 to 12 – introduction to technology, tech design and animation
London, Ontario


“Michael Santolup is above all, and simply, an extraordinary technology teacher who has enlightened students to the world of modern design. He incorporates STEM, as well as the arts, in his approach to broad-based technology. Michael guides students to better academic outcomes, but most of all he brings them to surpass themselves and become better people in the process.”


Teaching Approach

Michael is an exemplary advocate of broad-based technology whereby students are encouraged to select and design projects of particular significance to them. Students participate is all the phases of a project from selection, design, development, presentation and evaluation. These are rich and unique opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning at the highest level.

In the Classroom

For Michael, literacy is a plural word. His students experience literacy in a variety of forms – beyond the basic alphabetical and numerical literacy. They are introduced to technological and graphic literacy as they communicate ideas through sketches, drawings and built models. For this to happen, they have access to a wide range of rendering and animation software. Michael is part of an international network of design software developers. This means that his students benefit from using software that is not in every Ontario classroom.

Michael employs evidence-based practices to support student achievement. The key word in his classes is inclusion. The collaborative environment promotes the sharing of ideas and the focussed descriptive feedback among students, as well as between teacher and student. His classroom is exemplary of the Gradual Release of Responsibility whereby he presents the concepts in formal lessons, demonstrates the skills necessary for success, promotes collaboration among students, and with his assistance students demonstrate the acquired skill, and finally mentor each other. The result is not only academic success but also integration among groups, individual confidence and greater acceptance of others.

Outstanding Achievements

For Michael, technology is much more than mastering new apps and learning how to code. Technology is a means to achieve greater things. It has a cultural dimension. In his classes, students are actively encouraged to celebrate their cultural heritage by learning about their history and maintaining their language. The outcome is an acknowledgement of the diversity in their school and a greater appreciation for the Canadian mosaic. No wonder Michael’s design and animation classes are the destination of choice for ESL students who can express their culture in their classwork.

The results speak for themselves. John Paul II is a school that serves a lower income population and the community welcomes many new Canadians. Within these circumstances, that are all too often obstacles to academic success, and because of Michael’s inspiration and expertise, a large number of the school’s graduates have gone on to become successful architects, engineers, product designers, animators, graphic artists, and a number of other areas related to innovation, technology and creation.

Get in touch!

John Paul II Catholic Secondary School
1300 Oxford St E
London, ON  N5V 4P7
Twitter: @JagsJp2
Facebook: @jp2jags