Richard White awarded Prime Minister’s Award

Bishop Tonnos’ Richard White awarded Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM
Posted on 10/12/2023
Rene White

Congratulations to Richard (Rene) White, the embodiment of excellence in the teaching profession. White’s dedication and transformative approach to education have earned him the well-deserved 2023 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM.

As White would humbly say, "I have been very privileged and blessed to have worked with so many talented, dedicated and supportive individuals. This includes Students, Colleagues, Parents, Admin and Senior leadership. Nothing is done in isolation; all true accomplishments take a community, and I am only one small part."

White's impact on his students extends far beyond the confines of the classroom. He is widely credited with providing his students with a rock-solid foundation that instills confidence as they venture into the realm of post-secondary education and beyond. His teaching philosophy, anchored in leadership, collaboration, and critical thinking, has nurtured and elevated even the most reserved voices within the classroom. He is a true credit to Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School and the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board community, embodying the very essence of the teaching profession.

Furthermore, White has forged valuable collaborations with McMaster University and their Engineering and Math/Statistics Faculties, facilitating STEM-focused class lectures for his students. These sessions enable students to engage in meaningful discussions with both peers and university professionals, offering insights into future post-graduate pathways, including options for Master's and PhD degrees, as well as opportunities in research.

However, White is more than just a math teacher; he is a proponent of global citizenship and community involvement. His outreach efforts with McMaster University and experiential learning opportunities underscore the importance of global citizenship and our connection to a larger world filled with opportunities. He is deeply mindful of the environment and our impact on it, demonstrating sustainability that aligns with the goals of the HWCDSB Multi-Year Strategic Plan.

Remarkably, he has successfully led his Grade 10 Applied class of 25 students in a completely paperless environment, demonstrating his dedication to minimizing the environmental footprint of education.

"He challenged students to think differently and look outside the box, encouraging creative and collaborative problem-solving both inside and outside the classroom,” said former student Ally Shikaze.

“I went to university confident with the foundation I had built not just in mathematics, but also in leadership, collaboration, and critical thinking. I can directly trace the development of those skills back to those after-school work sessions in the library, standing in front of thirty of my peers because Mr. White trusted me to lead them."

White’s expertise in mathematics is nothing short of extraordinary. He combines a deep knowledge of the curriculum with innovative teaching strategies and the seamless integration of technology into the classroom. His approach is highly effective in enabling students of all levels to reach their full potential.

As William Pollard, the American physicist, believed, "… learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow." This philosophy resonates with White, and it is the cornerstone of his approach to teaching. He empowers the STEM students of tomorrow, preparing them for the post-secondary world and the workforce with confidence and competence. White goes above and beyond, creating custom solutions for unique problems in support of both academic and personal success.

White's assessment and evaluation techniques are designed to provide students with the flexibility and multiple opportunities they need to excel. His experiential learning approach promotes the idea of global citizenship, encouraging students to recognize their role in a larger world and the unique contribution they can make.

His classroom is more than a place of learning; it is a haven where students are encouraged to visit outside of class hours. He places a high priority on the mental health and well-being of his students. His dedication to helping students understand concepts goes beyond academics; it's an opportunity to connect and provide reassurance. These connections have a profound effect on students' attitudes and attendance, a crucial factor in determining student outcomes. His students want to attend class because they feel valued, empowered, and confident in their academic abilities.

Since 2009, White has employed a camera to display lessons and concepts in real time, a valuable tool, particularly for mathematics, where students often work through problems by hand. By recording his thought process and problem-solving on camera, students can witness the reasoning behind equations and problems, enhancing their understanding. This practice ultimately led to the creation of his own YouTube page, where he shares links to video resources, which have garnered more than 41,000 views to date.

A notable achievement is the creation of a unique program at his school – the GLS4OM course. This innovative program caters specifically to the needs of students transitioning to post-secondary STEM programs such as Engineering, Math, and Science. The course equips students with essential learning strategies for university, teaching them how to effectively take notes in a lecture-style format, decode university textbooks, and succeed in post-secondary math. Prior to the implementation of this program, students often struggled with the transition to post-secondary education. White's GLS4OM course bridges this gap and stands as a testament to his dedication to supporting students' success beyond the secondary level.

White is an extraordinary leader, both inside and outside the classroom, and commits to students and best practices every single day. He is the epitome of what a teacher should be: inspiring, nurturing, and transformative, and is profoundly deserving of the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM. His passion for teaching and his unwavering commitment to developing young minds create an environment where students mature physically, mentally, spiritually, and academically. His influence transcends the walls of the classroom and extends to shaping a brighter, more promising future for our students at HWCDSB.

For more information about White’s national recognition, please visit the official Government of Canada's website

Rene White

Rene White Rene White in classroom with students