Student population: 280; Grades: K–6; Principal: Heidi Fraser
St. John XXIII is a multigenerational school located in the small town of Arnprior, Ontario, just west of Ottawa. The school experiences very little staff turnover; many of the staff at the school attended the school as students. Staff commitment to the school and community has fostered a culture in which all students can succeed given the proper time and supports.
"Allowing us to use Prodigy and/or Mathletics on our Chromebooks and doing a daily math review helps me remember what I have learned in math."
— Grade 5 Student
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The staff at St. John XXIII use EQAO data to help plan school improvement. They use the EQAO attitudes and behaviour data to get a better understanding of student confidence in mathematics. They use EQAO contextual information to inform the resources that will be required to address the specific needs of their demographic. EQAO’s achievement data, along with report card data, early identification assessments, in-class assessments and attendance data help inform their practice and allow them to address the specific needs of their community’s students.
"Parents contribute by looking through the math books that are sent home (e.g., daily math review) and working on the areas that the teacher has highlighted as areas of need. We also play the games that have been suggested by the teacher as ways of including math in our daily lives. "
St. John XXIII Catholic School examines their data closely, looking for gaps in student learning and possible programming needs. All staff gather at the beginning of the year to examine the previous year’s results and discuss strategic planning around the results in mathematics. Every educator in the building partakes in these discussions and all input is valuable.
Speaker—Heidi Fraser, Principal
Here at St. John XXIII School, I think that we present a united front as a whole and that allows us to have our strategic planning and our goals in place for our great academic achievement. Here, we believe that not just our teachers, but that our educational assistants, ECEs, French Teachers, as well as special education teachers, need to be included in all of our analyzation of our data. What I usually do is that on our first PA Day, I have all staff come together to look at previous EQAO results, as well as report card data. What we tend to do is we tend to sit in divisions, and I tend to have key teachers—usually those that are more familiar with EQAO results, perhaps past teachers that have been in the past EQAO years— be at certain tables in order to help me facilitate discussions that occur when reviewing the results. Ultimately, we basically still use the manual review of data. I print out many copies of our school reports—as well as the Item Information Reports—and together in each division, we start to look for areas of need, we look at the Attitudes Surveys to see what our students are saying about Mathematics and we look for gaps in mathematics that we maybe need to address. We then come back together as a whole to see if we’re seeing any similarities or differences between divisions and from there we start our strategic planning and our goals for the year in mathematics. Ultimately for us, for example if we see that we have an area of need in number sense and numeration, we begin to plan as to what might we need to do as a whole to close the gap. This could mean professional development around moderated marking under number sense and numeration. It might mean kindergartens are going to look at assessment practices around concepts of numbers. For example, an EA might be taking on a role of teaching a specific number sense concept to a specific student. For me as the principal, it might mean specific planning to have our special education resource teacher going into the Grade 6 classroom during the math lesson. All of us are aware that we all play a role in student learning, and I think that ultimately working together allows us to achieve our great results in mathematics and close our gaps.
Every spring, St. John XXIII employs three or four university students to assist in the Grade 3 and 6 classrooms. These tutors are post-secondary students that come back year after year to assist the school in the spring. They are employed using provincial funding and their role culminates with them being the scribes necessary for the students that require the accommodation.
Speaker—Jacqueline Ryan, Grade 6 Teacher
Each year, our school is allocated 3 to 4 tutors in the classroom to work 5 to 6 weeks in the spring, 25 to 30 hours in the week in the testing classrooms. We frequently employ college or university students that have done educational placements at St. John XXIII School. We have been very lucky that many of our tutors in the classroom have come back for their entire post-secondary education experience, and they’re already trained, so it has worked well for both of us. It looks good on a resume for them, and they’ve received hands-on, payed, work experience in an educational classroom. They are a valuable resource to teachers and students. The tutors work not only in mathematics, but in all areas of the curriculum. Every morning we sit with the tutors and go through EQAO type questions, and particularly in mathematics, the type of concepts that I am hoping the students will understand that day. They also help me to mark assignments so that the students get timely feedback and then conference one-on-one with any students that require extra practice or to fill in gaps. As well, they spend time making different versions of EQAO type questions. By the time testing comes around, they have given the students in the Grade 3 and 6 classrooms that require special accommodations many opportunities to practice scribing and to make sure that all the accommodations they require are in place and, of course, during the testing week they are the perfect scribe.
St. John XXIII has a “whole team” approach to supporting students with accommodations. The SERT works closely with the classroom teacher to provide support that will allow all students to access the curriculum. Students are constantly refreshed on using assistive technology in their day-to-day work.
Speaker—Shauna Rampton, Special Education Resource Teacher
I’m in a special position here as SERT at St. John XXIII School, as I am fortunate enough to be able to pop in and out of many classes throughout the school week. What I am seeing and what I think is working is our team approach, where the teacher can speak to me about certain students, and I can make sure that I make my way to that student that day to help them with a particular concept. Sometimes the names of the children given to me that day are not even on my caseload, but I think it speaks to the fact that it is a very inclusive model, and the children in the classroom really aren’t sure who I am there for—I’m there for them all to give an extra hand. As well our focus at St. John XXIII is to try and keep our IEP kids, as largely as we can, with accommodations only. We really try to refrain from modifying the expectations that we expect them to know. Especially in the early years, we would like them to give it a try and put as many accommodations in place as we possibly can. We spend a lot of time helping kids that might need fidget toys, that might need special seating, that might need a quiet space, that might need scribing. Those that are fortunate enough to access technology, we spend a lot of time training the kids on how to use their technology effectively. Fortunately, we have a SEA trainer right here in the building, one of our EAs, so she trains the children regularly, brushes them up when they need it, and if they’re having a problem with their tech on a specific day, she’s right in the building to help ease frustrations. We also spend a lot of time deciding which tech is best for which child. So if a whole classroom is getting equipped with Chromebooks, the child, especially in the Grade 5 and 6 years, would probably like to look the very same as all their peers so we try to make that happen as well. If a certain child is feeling uncomfortable using their tech, our coordinator has often offered loaners or whatever to help that child get their ideas down on paper, as best we can. Somedays in the classroom my time might be spent simply looking for a voting booth to help a child ease distractions or getting a special type of pencil that could help them get moving. Every day is different, and I think the fact that we work as a team to make these kids successful is what is working.
School Profile and Results