Skip To Main Content


Dan Thompson, Senior School Faculty

Pickering College is proud to congratulate Dan Thompson, Senior School faculty member and social sciences instructional leader, for being selected as a 2023 recipient of the Class ACT award from the Critical Thinking Consortium.

The award is in recognition of educators who show a commitment to embedding critical thinking into their own practice and who have demonstrated notable success in furthering critical thinking with their students or colleagues.

Thompson, who is entering his 10th year of teaching at Pickering College, frequently uses the Consortium’s critical-thinking tools in developing lessons for his students. This past year, he further enriched student learning by bringing in anti-bias speakers through the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center and by helping to organize a special Morning Meeting for Holocaust Remembrance Day which included a child survivor of the Holocaust as guest speaker.  

“I love having the ability to share historical or philosophical stories daily – as a social sciences teacher, I think we have this unique opportunity to help create socially-active students who are knowledgeable and aware of the mistakes that have happened in history while simultaneously teaching them to stand-up to injustice and be global leaders,” says Dan Thompson, 2023 Class ACT award recipient. “Being able to offer a history program that teaches students empathy, ethical reflection and critical thinking is so important in today’s day and age.”

Joshua Armstrong, Director of Teaching and Learning at Pickering College, says Thompson is an innovative teacher who knows how to engage his students in critical thinking. “Dan makes extra efforts to teach truth and reconciliation history in his courses and uses critical thinking tools to help students construct their own meaning about difficult curriculum – an approach he shares with his entire department,” Armstrong explains. “I’m proud to work with him.”

All educators (teachers, instructional coaches, consultants, school administrators, superintendents, directors, etc.) are eligible for nomination for the CLASS ACT award based on the following criteria: embedding into practice the Consortium’s approach to nurturing high-quality thinking; supporting colleagues in adopting a thinking approach using the TC² framework and TC² resources; and demonstrating notable success in nurturing high-quality thinking with students and/or colleagues.

About the Critical Thinking Consortium
The Critical Thinking Consortium is a non-profit association of institutional partners, school districts, faculties of education, teaching professionals, associations and other educational organizations. Our aim is to promote critical thinking from primary to post-secondary education through professional development, publications and research. TC2 offers wide range of professional learning initiatives, programs, workshops, digital and print publications, and other resources to help teachers implement critical thinking in the classroom.

Student on the radio

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved Pickering College’s application for a broadcasting licence to operate an English-language community FM radio station in Newmarket.

The new community radio station licence will replace the low-power English-language campus radio station licence currently held by CHOP FM Newmarket but will use the same frequency, 102.7 FM.

Pickering College is the only Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 school in Canada with a CRTC-licensed radio station and since its inception students have actively participated in creating content.

Since 2007, CHOP FM has played a vital role within the wider Newmarket community. This new licence will mean CHOP FM can increase its community programming and outreach, broadcasting 126 hours of volunteer-hosted programming per week, of which 100 per cent would be devoted to local programming that relates to social, economic, and community issues. CHOP FM will continue to feature music in the alternative, rock, pop, jazz, and folk categories, along with airtime dedicated to special interest music and local talent.

Pickering College anticipates completing the conversion to a community radio station by August 2025.

“Realizing this goal would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the members of the entire CHOP FM advisory committee. I would like to extend my profound gratitude to Jim Waters, David “Geets” Haydu, Brian Purdy ’56, Alex Au Yong, Ian Johnston, Rita Cugini, Andrew Forsyth, Peter Sturrup and Gareth Sturrup, whose visionary leadership and tireless efforts to attain a community license for CHOP FM have finally been realized,” says Dr. Cinde Lock, Head of School. “Having a radio station so greatly enriches the programming we are able to offer our students. We are so thrilled to be able to grow our program over the next two years to be able to welcome in the entire community.”

“Attaining a community licence is a transformative step forward for Pickering College and the communities of Newmarket and Aurora," says Jim Waters, dedicated Pickering College alumni parent and former owner of CHUM Limited. “The CRTC is very careful with regard to licence renewals and issuing new licences such as this one. It simply does not happen if the applicant has not done what they promised. Gareth Sturrup and Ian Johnston, along with others, have made sure that CHOP FM kept its promises over the years. I feel that was a key to CHOP being awarded a community licence. I know that all of us look forward to the challenges and opportunities this new licence will present to the college and the community!”

CHOP FM was made possible thanks to a generous donation from the Waters family in 2007 and whose ongoing support has meant hundreds of local and international students have benefited from their gift to the school.

Learn more about CHOP FM 

Grade 1 asks questions at West Lake House site.

In June, the Grade 1 class visited the West Lake House construction site, where they had the exciting opportunity to speak with Maystar representatives and ask questions related to the build.

Connecting directly with their inquiry about structures in their community and building projects, students gained insights into what actually goes into a development like this.

Learn more about West Lake House