Give your child an early start in life

Nurturing Minds, Moulding Lives.

Kerthiga Manokumar

My name is Kerthiga Manokumar and I am High School English, History and Special Education teacher in the York Region District School Board. I love that moment in teaching when students grasp a concept that I’m explaining and they have their aha moment.

Those are the experiences I hope to create at Step Up Academy as I interact with my students. During the daytime I am with about 25 to 30 students, so the small groups and one on one setting at Step Up Academy is helpful as it allows me to truly get to know all my students, their individual needs, and their challenges so I can find the right strategy to help them out. I use my love for literacy (especially since I’m an English teacher) to create handouts and other tools that will help my students develop their reading and writing skills. I love to learn as well and I find that the more I learn about my students, the more I am able to learn about teaching and become a better teacher.

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Kaylie De Blois

My name is Kaylie deBlois and I am a High School Mathematics and Geography teacher in the Toronto District School Board. As a lifelong learner, I am passionate about finding ways to engage my students and connect the curriculum to their own passions.

Working with smaller class sizes allows me to make meaningful connections with my students and provide the necessary one on one support to help them succeed and reach their goals. I believe that one of the greatest feelings in the world is solving a difficult math problem. By fostering a growth mindset in class I help my students to view each challenge as an exciting opportunity to learn something new. Building up the foundational numeracy skills, I focus on setting my students up for success in future grades. My students and I concentrate on developing their basic numeracy skills, followed by problem solving skills which allow them to work through various application questions using proper mathematical format. It is important for our students to see real world applications of all subject matter. As an educator, I take the time to connect the application problems to each student’s specific interests and engage them in each lesson.

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Shadia Afrin

My name is Shadia Afrin and I am a Grade 3/4 French Immersion teacher in the Toronto District School Board. Having experience teaching primary and junior grades simultaneously, I have gained valuable experience creating and delivering instruction for two curriculums everyday.

Prior to being an educator for the TDSB and Step Up Academy, I was managing an afterschool program for students between K-12.With ten years of experience teaching students of all ages, I have discovered that every child learns in their own unique way. I have a very dynamic and inventive approach to teaching because inquiry-based learning and differentiating to meet the needs of each of my students are the pillars of my teaching philosophy. My goal is to ensure that I incorporate the interests of my students in order to keep them engaged throughout the lesson. As an educator at Step Up, I want to make a difference in the lives of young people and equip the next generation with the tools they will require to be successful in their endeavours. I want to be able to use my knowledge and positive attitude towards learning to engage young learners and promote equitable learning for all. As an educator, I have the opportunity to be a lifelong learner and understand different perspectives while interacting with various types of learners.

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Amanda Cruz

My name is Amanda Cruz and I am a French and English teacher candidate. As a University of Toronto graduate. I’ve had over five years of tutoring experiences which includes Core French, Extended French, Immersion French, Academic/Applied French and

finally the International Baccalaureate program for French. Furthermore, I have tutored English for primary, junior and intermediate grades. I’ve always known that I wanted to be a teacher. French is often a subject that students are scared of. My goal is to make French fun and understandable for any student. I hope to create an inclusive environment and implement the growth mindset in each of my classes in Step Up Academy. I am extremely grateful to be a part of your child’s journey growing in learning. Everyday is a new day to learn something new. Step Up Academy provides this opportunity to showcase my passion of teaching and help my students believe they can succeed academically.

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Induja Indrakumar

My name is Induja and I am Primary-Junior teacher candidate. I obtained my degree in Early Childhood Education at Ryerson University and most recently completed my Master of Teaching degree at the University of Toronto.

I can confidently say teaching is the path I was meant to pursue, and I always look forward to applying my passion, skills, and experiences to build an inclusive learning culture where all students can develop a positive sense of self at Step Up Academy. I believe an engaging learning community is a vital factor in influencing student growth, student choice and student voice. I enjoy teaching at Step Up Academy because we use enriched resources to plan ongoing monthly assessments, and activities that are inquiry-based, intellectually challenging and developmentally appropriate for all students to increase achievement. At Step Up Academy, I want to inspire confidence, and hope in each student and guide them to a place where they will find success both within and beyond the classroom.

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Thanusa Selvaratnam

My name is Thanusa Selvaratnam and I am a Primary-Junior Teacher in the Durham District School Board. I earned my Bachelor of Education degree from York University. As an educator, I am committed to creating a classroom atmosphere that is stimulating and encouraging to all students.

At Step Up Academy, the small group setting provides me with the opportunity to get to know my students, their interests, and how they learn best. With this knowledge, I tailor my instructions to personalize the learning individually in order to motivate students in reaching their academic potentials. Working at Step Up Academy is a truly rewarding experience for educators and the variety of engaging resources available on site helps make learning fun and easy for all students.

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Caroline Chase

My name is Caroline Chase and I am an Intermediate-Senior teacher who specializes in English and History. I am currently working as an occasional teacher with the Durham Catholic District School Board. I achieved my Honours Bachelor of Arts from Western University and then went on to complete my Bachelors of Education at Queen’s University.

I have two years of teaching experience from England where I taught students ranging from grades 6 to 11. Teaching and lifelong learning are my passions. I personally love teaching because I get to help students discover their hidden talents and abilities while guiding them towards their full potential. Education creates one of the greatest impacts on students, therefore I want to show students the benefits of learning and the value in establishing high standards and goals for themselves. I always ensure that students feel comfortable and confident in their learning environment. Creating a safe, supportive, and positive classroom environment for my students brings students a sense of comfort and willingness to participate.

I enjoy teaching at Step Up because we use effective resources in a smaller classroom setting where students get enhanced tuition and guidance. Students are provided with resources that will get them to think critically at their level. In addition to this, each student completes monthly assessments so I can track their progress! Through my teaching style, students will experience inquiry-based learning with the appropriate differentiation. At Step Up, I want to use my knowledge, experience and positivity to help students become lifelong learners who go on to achieve great success!

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Narmatha Vivekanantharajah

My name is Narmatha Vivekanantharajah and I am Primary/Junior teacher (K-6). In addition to working as a Teacher at Step Up Academy, I am also a Multi-Sensory Room Consultant with Agincourt Community Services Association. My teaching philosophy is to instil in my students a sense of accountability for their learning and in turn gain confidence in themselves.

I enjoy teaching at Step Up Academy because it allows me to facilitate many “aha!” moments in my students! My teaching style is to ask many guided questions and provide many opportunities for success by assigning challenging work and having students reach those “aha!” moments!

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Shagjev Umaharan

My name is Shajgev Umaharan and I am an Intermediate/Senior teacher. I am OCT certified to teach English and Biology and I am currently an occasional teacher with the Toronto District School Board. I earned my Master of Teaching degree at the University of Toronto. I also graduated with an honours Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto, where I double majored in human biology and English literature.

I am deeply passionate about teaching, because I believe it is a profession that helps scaffold the future into what we want it to be. As educators, we not only teach and nurture the young kids of today, we create future citizens of tomorrow. I enjoy teaching at Step Up Academy, because it is an environment that aims to fight for equity in education by giving students with various needs the necessary support they need in order to have the opportunity to succeed in school. Through formative assessments, extra scaffolding of school assignments, and one-on-one conversations with each of my students, I am able to make sure that my students at Step Up Academy truly are presented with the necessary steps needed to move upward to achieve individual success in education.

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Diane Pedrupillai

My name is Diane Pedrupillai and I am a High School Mathematics and English teacher candidate. I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Toronto and most recently completed my Bachelor of Education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Although I am not at a board, I currently also teach at Town Centre Private School. Teaching has always been my passion.

I love teaching because of the rewarding experience and the opportunity to impact children’s lives. The best part about teaching is when you get to see your students discover their abilities and when they try to build on new discoveries or even apply them strategically. I enjoy teaching at Step Up Academy because of the small class sizes and their resource quality. At Step Up Academy, it is easy to ensure that students are receiving one-on-one support that is required for their academic success. They also provide a variety of resources that helps with the student’s learning and interests. As an educator at Step Up, I want to make sure that I have met the needs of students by providing engaging lessons, and equitable learning for all. Overall, as a teacher, I wish to continue my learning journey with the future of tomorrow!

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Kimberley Macalintal

Hello, my name is Kim! I am currently enrolled at York University for my Bachelor of Education in the Primary/Junior division. I completed my undergrad in English and History and enjoy reading Shakespeare as well as diving deeper into Canada or Greece’s past. Teaching became my passion after realizing the role this profession has in helping build a student’s confidence and assisting them in reaching their goals.

I enjoy teaching at Step Up Academy because working with children in smaller concentrated groups allow for making better connections and understanding their strengths and needs.

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Christina Sciulli

My name is Christina Sciulli and I am a Junior and Intermediate teacher candidate. I achieved my Honours Bachelor of Arts from Trent University. I am currently enrolled at Tyndale University completing my Bachelor of Education degree with a teachable in History. Teaching has always been a passion of mine and I am proud and honoured to enrich students' lives. I can confidently say that teaching is the path that I was meant to pursue. Creating a safe, supportive,

and positive classroom environment for my students brings students a sense of comfort and willingness to learn. I hope to inspire students, ignite their imagination and instill a love of learning. I enjoy teaching at Step Up Academy because we use effective resources in a small classroom setting where students are taught based on their specific areas of need. At Step Up Academy, we use enriched resources to plan ongoing monthly assessments, and activities that are inquiry-based and appropriate for all students to succeed. I am able to ensure that students receive one-on-one conversations and are presented with the necessary tools to achieve their goals.

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Nicole Morrison

Hi there! My name is Nicole Morrison and I am a OCT certified Elementary Primary/Junior educator. I completed my undergrad at Queen’s University in Classical Studies (Ancient Greek and Roman history) and completed my Bachelor of Education at Western University. I am currently an Occasional Teacher for DDSB and TDSB and have hopes of having my own classroom one day with either of these boards. I teach because I love helping students find the fun in education.

I also love helping students have “lightbulb” moments from finally understanding something that had them stumped before. I want the students I teach to leave feeling inspired, encouraged and ready to take on any academic challenge that comes their way. Through my work at Step Up Academy I have learned about the value of individualized teaching and love the opportunity I get to give students the extra help they need and may be missing from their regular classroom. I love that Step Up Academy allows me to teach my students in a more condensed classroom which in turn allows me to give them the attention and aid they need to improve, learn and succeed.

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