All Saints Catholic Secondary School in Whitby opened in 2001 and serves 1500 students in Grades 9–12. The population is becoming increasingly diverse, with students born in 60 countries. The OSSLT data indicate consistent improvement over time, without a gender gap.
All Saints offers a wide range of courses and programs, such as Advanced Placement Courses, French Immersion, Struggling Students Striving for Success, Stomping Out Stigma and Talking About Mental Illness (TAMI). The school supports numerous extracurricular activities, including student leadership and arts programs and a wide variety of sports teams. The school also gets involved in many social justice causes.
Under the leadership of the administration, the staff examines and analyzes EQAO literacy results, attendance, credit accumulation and suspension data, as well as individual student classroom data, to identify trends and make informed decisions about areas for development and improvement. The OSSLT Student Questionnaire data are also analyzed. The EQAO data help to inform the school improvement plan and to develop the school’s literacy goals for the year. Through the planning process, teachers have become more proficient at examining data. Teachers from different disciplines regularly gather in the Professional Learning Room to share best practices and effective strategies. Principal Gloria Krampp states: “Staff became more aware of the data: of how and why they are used and that it is not just the English department’s role to teach literacy but that it must be a collective responsibility. The OSSLT results provide meaningful information that lead teachers to become more confident about data and therefore more open to sharing with each other. The EQAO data motivates teachers to teach literacy skills across the curriculum.”
Many initiatives at All Saints ensure that students are fully prepared for the OSSLT. Grade 9 applied and academic students and Grade 10 applied students complete a sample literacy test. The results from the test are collected and analyzed to identify at-risk students as well as areas of difficulty in order to provide students with additional support. The data collected are used to develop the literacy plan for the following year in order to prepare the students further in Grade 10. All students in Grade 10 who are writing the OSSLT participate in a “Cafeteria Assembly.” Through differentiated instruction strategies (PowerPoint presentations, think-pair-share, independent work, peer evaluation), teachers review the requirements of the eight tasks on the OSSLT, including the success criteria. Students are placed in a situation that closely mirrors the OSSLT administration and are given a sense of the test’s duration. Parents are provided with resources to help them understand what is involved and how to help their child prepare. The EQAO sample test materials allow students the opportunity to complete a set of questions similar to those on the OSSLT. Parents are informed about the sample items, strategies and suggestions on the EQAO Web site and are also invited to an information session at the school. The school personnel make every effort to prepare students and, as a result, the students often articulate a sense of self-confidence. Teacher Vince Accardi states: “As a school community, there is complete confidence in the work our teachers do. The students know that we care about them and that we want them to succeed.”
“Staff became more aware of the data: of how and why they are used and that it is not just the English department’s role to teach literacy but that it must be a collective responsibility. The OSSLT results provide meaningful information that lead teachers to become more confident about data and therefore more open to sharing with each other. The EQAO data motivates teachers to teach literacy skills across the curriculum.”
—Gloria Krampp, Principal
At All Saints, all decisions are made with the goal of student success and positive student outcomes. There is a collaborative and collective approach to problem solving in which everyone believes that all students can learn and succeed with appropriate and effective supports. The bi-weekly meetings to discuss all at-risk students ensure that the necessary supports continue and are effective. Teachers use a tracking sheet to refer students to the Student Success Teacher. Teachers discuss student needs and share effective strategies. The principal promotes and supports the coaching model and provides many opportunities for teachers to learn from one another.
In response to the EQAO data and other data, teachers participate in a collaborative inquiry process to target and meet the needs of Grade 10 applied and second-time eligible students. The teachers identify needs and then engage in collaborative planning to create learning centres that allow students to review specific areas that present difficulties and to practise. The centre approach allows teachers to share immediate feedback on oral and written work and to provide one-on- one support. The students also co-construct the success criteria. Teachers participate in moderated marking. The administration provides release time and has invested in classroom resources to promote student engagement.
At All Saints, the administration and staff work diligently to provide many meaningful and varied learning experiences for students in a culture of caring adults. They are supported by an active parent community that displays a strong commitment to learning. The collaborative approach includes visionary leadership, a strong belief in professional development, teachers who hold themselves responsible for their own learning and a genuine desire to provide each and every student with the opportunity to succeed. Data are an integral part of informed decision making, but it is the relationships between teachers and students that complete the picture and allow the EQAO school results to show consistent improvement over time. Principal Gloria Krampp states: “You absolutely need data to inform your school plan and to drive instruction, but it is only one piece. The teacher-student relationship is crucial. At All Saints we are blessed to have staff that look at data and then translate it into actions that are good for students.”
“You absolutely need data to inform your school plan and to drive instruction, but it is only one piece. The teacher-student relationship is crucial. At All Saints we are blessed to have staff that look at data and then translate it into actions that are good for students.”—Gloria Krampp, Principal
Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement, 2012 School Recipient