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School Stories—On the Journey of Learning

Observations from the Field


Parkland Public School, Sault Ste Marie

Algoma District School Board

Parkland is a junior kindergarten to Grade 8 elementary school in the residential east end of Sault Ste. Marie. The school has special-education components for autistic and behavioural students. With 325 students, it is the largest public elementary school in the Sault.

tIn 2004–2005, the percentages of Grade 3 Parkland students meeting or surpassing the provincial standard were 55% in reading, 58% in writing and 81% in mathematics. In Grade 6, the percentages were 86% in reading, 69% in writing and 75% in mathematics.

The focus is on school improvement. We talk about it, keep it in the forefront and celebrate our successes.

JoAnn McKenzie,

The "one student at a time" strategy is making a difference at Parkland. Teachers look at the entire portfolio of data on a child, including report cards, psychological assessments, attendance records and any reports of behaviour problems. They talk about the child, what the data tells them and how to move the student to the next level. Sharing and analyzing data and information, including EQAO results, is viewed as a full-school responsibility at Parkland. Teachers are involved in the analysis of EQAO data from the beginning; it is not just the principal who looks at the achievement results. The school recommends the guide Using EQAO Data to Promote Student Success. Teachers talk about literacy and numeracy daily and ask for extra meetings so they can talk about best practices. Some best practices are 100-minute blocks for literacy and numeracy teaching and learning strategies, personal home contact, levelled books, learning carpets and increased daily physical activity. Staff meet during nutrition breaks (Parkland follows a balanced school day shedule), and school funds are used to release teachers to discuss data and new initiatives.

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