Despite declining enrolment, the school continues its tradition of providing quality programming to meet the needs of its student population. Programs such as the Specialist High Skills Major in construction and the innovative Grade 12 dual mathematics credit (offered in conjunction with Loyalist College) speak volumes about the school’s commitment to the future success of its students and community.
Each year, the Numeracy Learning Team at Centre Hastings analyzes classroom data as well as the data from the mathematics component of the Grade 6 EQAO assessment to identify areas of strengths and areas for improvement. Recommendations from the intermediate teachers help determine the best pathways for incoming students. Over the past three cohorts (2012–2014) there has been a consistent increase in the percentage of students in the applied and academic math courses meeting or exceeding the provincial standard on EQAO’s Grade 9 math assessment. There has also been a notable increase in the percentage of students in the academic course who rose to meet the standard in math between Grade 6 and Grade 9. The staff attribute this improvement to several key initiatives, including the teamwork and effort between the secondary and elementary teachers.
Centre Hastings is in its fourth year of BIPI, a Ministry-of-Education-funded numeracy initiative, which encourages an examination of how math learning is facilitated at the board, school and classroom levels, through collaborative inquiry, professional learning and evidence-based analysis of data. An analysis of EQAO data showed that students needed to learn additional strategies to successfully engage in and communicate their mathematical thinking. Grade 9 teachers partnered up with Grades 7 and 8 teachers from all of the feeder schools and investigated how to improve students’ communication of mathematical thinking. At the beginning of the project, teachers focused on ways to improve oral communication, and then they proceeded to improve written communication as well.
As part of the BIPI, Centre Hastings embarked on an initiative to engage on multiple levels with its area feeder schools by developing a dynamic professional learning relationship with each school. Intermediate teachers work closely with their Grade 9 math counterparts several times a year, co-planning and teaching in each other’s classrooms as well as sharing, learning, implementing and assessing new strategies that include specific types of group and partner work. Cross-panel common understandings and the use of similar strategies have paid big dividends for both staff and students, allowing for a smooth transition for students from elementary to secondary school.
In order to dig deeper into their own practices, Grades 7, 8 and 9 teachers videotaped their planning meetings and their lesson delivery to better understand what strategies were working and why. The analyses of the tapes provided evidence that allowed teachers to refine their practices in a detailed and systematic way. In addition, teachers in each grade were able to make significant cross-panel connections to better deliver the math curriculum, and this has been supported over time by the school’s improved EQAO results.
"The Building Innovative Practices Initiative project set up all the right conditions for change. It complimented our positive professional learning environment, giving us site-specific evidence to improve"
—Chris Lee, Mathematics Department Head and Board Numeracy Coach
"At Centre Hastings, not only can you go to your own teacher for extra help, but you can go to anyone in the math department, and they will help you."
—Grade 10 student
Infographic—Improvement Planning: Three Questions Schools Can Ask When Analyzing Their 2015 Data
School Profile and Results
Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement, 2015 School Recipient.