Photo of Sarah-Marie Luongo accepting Prime Minister's Award from MPP Chris Glover

Congratulations to our very own Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) teacher, Ms. Sarah-Marie Luongo, who received the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. This award is one of the most prestigious recognitions teaching staff can receive. It is presented to teachers who are honoured for their remarkable achievements in education, and for their commitment to preparing youth for a digital and innovation-based economy. At a special ceremony on October 23 at Bishop Macdonell Catholic School, Ms. Luongo was presented the award by the Trustee for Ward 9, Kevin Morrison, Spadina—Fort York, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP), Chris Glover and Superintendent of Education for Area 6, Flora Cifelli.

Ms. Luongo is no ordinary teacher. She has always brought out the best talents in her students and helped them thrive. Her initiatives during the pandemic, especially during periods of virtual learning, were instrumental in helping students succeed despite many challenges.

One of the many major initiatives she has been involved in included leveraging best practices observed during virtual learning opportunities by contributing to the development of a coding program for students using Minecraft called “Girls Who Game”, which was also sponsored by tech giants including Microsoft and Dell Inc. By exposing students to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) projects from a young age, this project proved incredibly successful in encouraging students, especially young girls, to explore related careers.

In addition to introducing innovative learning opportunities for students during the pandemic, Ms. Luongo also noticed that not all students were able to easily adjust to virtual learning. She therefore decided to give one-on-one online tutoring to students who required assistance during this transition, taking time outside of her regular class schedule. When classes started again in person, Ms. Luongo took advantage of the chance to provide her students with more opportunities to innovate through STEM inquiry-based learning. She did this by using her standard "create, build, and play" curriculum, which allows students to express their ideas and receive guidance. She now continues to use classroom computers and various software education programs, including math and other learning tools like Prodigy that were intended to make learning enjoyable.

Ms. Luongo has placed a great deal of importance on equity and inclusivity. Along with her colleague, she was instrumental in spearheading one of TCDSB’s first Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) in elementary schools, called the Pride Alliance. Ms. Luongo was also the program's founding director, a testament to her love and dedication for diversity and equity as well as her devotion to student success. The Pride Alliance exists to create a safe, supportive environment for students of diverse genders and sexualities (2SLGBTQ+), including their allies.

On behalf of the TCDSB community, congratulations Ms. Luongo! Your determination, commitment, and kindness toward educating our youth is truly remarkable. We look forward to continuing to see the differences you are making in our students’ lives for future years.

Watch the video at Global News | Toronto Teacher Empowers Students to Grow and Succeed.

Sarah-Marie Luongo with her family as well as TCDSB staff and students

Sarah-Marie Luongo accepts Prime Minister's Award from MPP Chris Glover

Sarah-Marie Luongo with one of her students

Sarah-Marie Luongo in her classroom