Liz Brett-Dickie, chair of the Learning Disability Association's board of directors, presented Branconnier with the organization's Outstanding Educator Award during a Rainbow District School Board Meeting.
“I'm really surprised,” said Branconnier, who has been a teacher for 16 years. “Teaching is one of those jobs you do for personal satisfaction. You don't necessarily expect other people to notice what you're doing. I'm really excited about the award.”
Branconnier runs a year-long, dual-credit English and learning strategies course for Grade 9 Lasalle students with learning disabilities, supporting them in all of their classes.
“When I first met Jennifer, it didn't take me long to realize what an amazing teacher she was, and how she could motivate and encourage these students to really strive to do their very best,” Brett-Dickie said.
To illustrate her point, she read aloud a nomination letter sent by Steve Marko, the special education program leader at Lasalle.
“I often walk by her room at lunch and see several students working,” Marko said, in his letter. “Similarly, she often stays late to help students who need extra support. She pushes her students to do their best in all of their classes.
“She checks in with other teachers and makes herself available to help students get missing assignments into their teachers. She takes the time to show students that she cares, and she treats them all with respect.”
Parents of students in the program have had “nothing but praise” for Branconnier, he said.
“In fact, one mother expressed with tears that last year was the first year her son had ever had success in school, and it was because of her exemplary work,” Marko said. “Every parent I met with had a similar story.”
All of Branconnier's students passed all of their courses last year, he said. “This was a huge success.”
“I work with a number of amazing teachers at Lasalle Secondary,” Marko said. “Jennifer Branconnier is one of these outstanding educators who has made a difference in the lives of many of our students with learning disabilities. She's truly an outstanding educator.”