Peel Teacher Wins ETFO Award for Arts and CultureBook author furthers critical literacy, inclusion, diversity and equity
August 16, 2011
TORONTO - The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has presented Peel teacher Rebecca Codack Zak with its 2011 Arts and Culture Award for her book titled The Cutest Face: Celebrating Diversity and Equity in the Classroom. The award is granted to an active member or group of ETFO members to recognize involvement in arts and cultural activities outside of their professional duties.
Along with being an elementary teacher at Edenwood Middle School, Rebecca is an artist who has participated in art exhibitions across southern Ontario and provided illustrations for another teacher resource published in 2009.
A teacher who is passionate about social justice issues, Rebecca wrote, illustrated and self-published The Cutest Face to create a classroom resource that mirrors the broad diversity of people living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Inspired by her own multicultural, multi-abled students, she produced a story that any child, no matter what their background, could pick up and recognize him or herself within the pages.
The story takes place on photo day at school. While the text speaks subtly to children’s similarities, differences are alluded to through exquisite hand-painted illustrations, evoking a message of inclusion. Images of children in the four-colour, hard cover book have been rendered highly realistically in order that they look like people that children may meet in their neighbourhood or school.
“ETFO proudly supports a climate of social justice in schools across the province and Rebecca’s book is an important contribution to that aim,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “The Cutest Face not only supports critical literacy, it places emphasis on inclusion, diversity, and equity—values that underpin Ontario schools.”
To learn more or purchase a copy of the The Cutest Face, please see www.cutestfacebook.com
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.For more information contact: Valerie Dugale, (416) 948-0195 (cell); firstname.lastname@example.org