Wanda MacDonald, National Inclusive Education Award Recipient for 2020

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Wanda MacDonald, Educational Assistant at Champlain Heights School in Saint John

Wanda focuses on what each student can do instead of what they cannot and fosters an atmosphere of belonging and respect in the school community, going above and beyond to ensure each school environment is inclusive. She is genuinely interested in all students at Champlain Heights School, and can often be seen playing with students in the school yard.

Wanda has a vision of inclusion that all can and should learn in the classroom. In the most recent school year, she supported a student with autism who had in past years spent limited time with his peers. With her support, he now spends 90 per cent of his time in the classroom, eating lunch with his classmates and going outside for both recess and lunch. He arrives at school most days happy to be there. Wanda has come to know the student well – she is able to diffuse situations before they get out of control, and the student’s parents have noticed a calmer demeanor when he comes home from school.

Wanda never stops looking for ways to do one more thing, or many things, that will benefit the students she works with – her energy and positive attitude are an asset to the teachers, families and children. She encourages students with positive reinforcement and a pleasant but firm demeanor, and she is always looking for room to improve through professional development. Her expertise is truly appreciated by all staff at Champlain Heights School.  

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