Abbotsford teacher receives Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence

An Abbotsford teacher has been named the recipient of the 2022 Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence.

Nerlap Sidhu, a Grade 6-7 teacher at Eugene Reimer Middle School, is among 12 educators across the country who have been recognized for teaching excellence, Excellence in STEM Teaching (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and excellence in early childhood education.

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence honor outstanding and innovative primary and secondary teachers in all subject areas.

Recipients are recognized for their outstanding educational achievements and for their commitment to preparing their students for a digital and innovation-based economy.

Sidhu is recognized for her dedication and success in promoting inclusion and social justice in the education system.

She has planned and executed a series of community and school projects including Lean on Me, We Are Canada, Character Matters, Walk of Integrity, Random Acts of Kindness, Voices of Courage, Empathy Fence and the Antiracism Education Project.

She recently co-authored a published chapter in Ellyn Lyle’s Rehumanizing Education with 10,000 copies sold across Canada and is working on her next publication.

The chapter reflects Sidhu’s passion and commitment to creating systemic change in education for generations to come. She wrote the chapter with a fresh look at education that centers children as a living program. The goal is to make classrooms safer spaces that honor each child’s identity.

Sidhu also created the Equity Backpack project, which focuses on anti-racism and has caught the attention of educators across British Columbia.

The project involved students making personalized backpacks – using cardboard and other materials – where they examine their identity, privilege and cultural capital.

Another of his projects involved creating a music video for the song Lean On Me as a dedication to frontline workers at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seven principals, 13 students from eight schools, 13 teachers from several schools, and local doctors, paramedics, police and others participated in the video.

Sidhu is the 2021 recipient of the Betty Urquhart Community Service Award from the University of the Fraser Valley.

She is also one of three Abbotsford educators who are finalists for the 2022 Premier’s Awards for Excellence in Education. The recipients will be announced Oct. 14 at a ceremony at Government House in Victoria.

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