I’ve been teaching mathematics throughout my entire career. When we were starting to emphasize mathematics in our board—I’d say about six or seven years back— the program here was brought to the board, and we were allowed to look at data, both at the secondary level and the elementary level. And we kind of noticed that there were certain gaps that existed. So we took steps to kind of close those gaps, between six and nine EQAO results. One of the things we did was forged partnerships with our feeder schools, particularly the seven and eight teachers who taught math. We had collaborative inquiries with those teachers, dating back even before collaborative inquiries were in style, so this is probably going back six or seven years. And what we did was work with the same seven and eight teachers, because our scores were not that great at the time. And they, like us, were concerned, like, why are the kids not achieving? It wasn’t a shortcoming on our part; it wasn’t a shortcoming on their part; I think it was just a shortcoming on us working together. So we forged those partnerships; we sat down with them; we went through it unit by unit, both at the elementary level and the secondary level, because just like the typical Grade 7 or 8 elementary teacher doesn’t know what’s in the Grade 9 curriculum, the typical Grade 9 teacher doesn’t know what’s in the Grades 7 and 8 curriculum. So we kind of had these assumptions; we kind of assumed that students should be coming in with a certain set of knowledge, just like they had certain assumptions that the kids were leaving with what they needed. So it is establishing that rapport, that level of comfort of working with the seven and eight teachers, so that together we can better prepare the students for the Grade 9 EQAO exam. So like I said, we look at unit by unit, kind of together decided what needed to be better emphasized from the elementary side, so that when they were coming into Grade 9, we were starting from the better vantage point with regards to the work that we’re doing with the Grade 9 students.
Essentially it’s just working with your feeder schools; it’s establishing that certain understanding that we’re all in it; we’re all on the same page; we all want what’s best for our kids, and that is to prepare them for the next step; just like they’re preparing them for secondary, we’re preparing them for post-secondary.
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