Northern Lights School Division would like to congratulate Cold Lake Outreach School teacher Don Moore on winning an Innovation and Achievement Award from the Outreach Education Council. Moore was recognized at the Outreach Education Council Conference on Friday, October 2 for creating the Tough N’ Talking (TNT) program at Cold Lake Outreach.
“Don Moore saw a need to reach out to a group of students and developed an innovative approach that has empowered those students and re-‐ engaged them in learning,” said Board Chair Arlene Hrynyk. “The Tough N’ Talking program truly exemplifies Northern Lights School Division’s mission statement – Working Together to Help Every Student Learn and Excel.” Tough N’ Talking started as a class for male students at Cold Lake Outreach that covered topics such as social skills, sex education, confidence and communication skills.
On the first day of class, Moore recalls, they started the conversation by talking about stereotypes and the potential impact of the program quickly became apparent. “I will always remember the first day we did this, we set up a chart about what is “masculine” and what is “feminine.” On the masculine side, we put your typical things like “work,” “strong,” and “being a good father,” which I thought was wonderful,” he explained. “But what really struck me was on the feminine side they wrote “school,” “reading,” and writing.” When I asked them about this, to get the dialogue going, the response I go was “men don’t need to know how to read.’ And to me, this was the moment when I realized we had something here. We had a young man who had just showed us why he didn’t care about school, teachers and education. And we had a window of opportunity. By the end of the year, this same young man was attending fairly regularly, avoiding big trouble and trying.”
The program has since expanded to include a group for female students with its own unique dynamic, led by Lara Ripkens. The current group is looking at role models and studying psychology and sociology to understand how people act. Altogether almost 40 students are involved in the TNT program on a weekly basis.
*Press Release from NLSD