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School Stories—On the Journey of Learning

Observations from the Field


Sacred Heart School, Timmins

North Eastern Catholic District School Board

The only Catholic French Immersion school in Timmins, Sacred Heart Elementary draws 265 students from all parts of the city. Heavy parental involvement is an important characteristic of this junior kindergarten to Grade 6 school.

In 2004–2005, the percentages of Grade 3 students meeting or surpassing the provincial standard were 86% in reading, 100% in writing and 100% in mathematics. In Grade 6, the percentages were 66% in reading, 66% in writing and 59% in mathematics.

The development of a positive school environment and culture that embraces EQAO assessment as a learning opportunity for staff and students alike has been one of our most powerful strategies for success. All teachers view EQAO assessment as a team responsibility. As well, our shift to 50% French Immersion programming, with anglophone teachers assuming the responsibility of English-language instruction, has had a monumental effect on our success.

Ted Weltz,

This year, Sacred Heart Elementary School saw a dramatic increase over previous years in the percentages of Grade 3 and Grade 6 students who met or surpassed the provincial standard. The school credits, in addition to modifications to its French Immersion programming, a number of proactive measures for fueling student achievement. It has established collaborative in-school learning communities that reflect thoroughly on the EQAO assessment results along with other data to develop goals and strategies for improving student learning. A balanced literacy approach to language instruction has been put in place, and the school has now implemented a special focus on numeracy programming to better meet curriculum expectations and learning needs. Sacred Heart is dedicated to the principle that all stakeholders need to collaborate to enable a higher level of student accomplishment. The school facilitates extensive professional dialogue not only among staff but also between teachers and parents and guardians. Efforts are made to ensure that parents recognize the purpose of all assessments, including EQAO’s, and that they are well-versed in supportive strategies for helping their children prepare for success.

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