2017 School Recipient of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement
Equity and inclusion is a priority for EQAO and, this year, the agency sought to highlight the work being done by schools to address equity-related challenges. School recipients of the 2017 Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement saw an increase in the percentage of students with special education needs meeting the standard on either the reading or writing component of provincial assessments from 2014 to 2017, and these schools clearly demonstrated that their analysis of EQAO data helped inform decisions about initiatives to support student learning better.
Student population: 433
Principal: Rita McMahon
- Focused, intense professional learning has led to shifting of pedagogy and practices in both literacy and numeracy.
- The school offers a variety of specialized programs for exceptional students, including congregated classes for students with developmental disabilities.
- For students new to the country, the school offers additional literacy and numeracy support through a specialized program.
Beverley Heights Middle School is situated in a quiet residential area of the Black Creek community. It is a triple-track middle school serving 433 students who speak a total of 33 languages, including Vietnamese, Spanish, Somali, Urdu and Cantonese. Staff members are proud of this diversity and celebrate the richness it brings to their school community.
What is the profile of this school community?
Profile of Grade 3 and Grade 6 Students
Number of Students
Number of Classes
English Language Learners
Students with Special Education needs (excluding gifted)
First Language Learned at Home Was Other Than English
Born in Canada
In Canada Less Than One Year
In Canada One Year or More But Less Than Three
In Canada Three Years or More
N/D: “No data available” is N/D: “No data available” is used to indicate that there were no students in the grade, subject or course for the group or year specified
How have the results improved?
Educators at the school carefully analyze the released EQAO questions, exemplars and academic and attitudinal data. Discussions around student strengths and challenges help determine concrete strategies to implement in the classroom. Staff members analyze other forms of data as well, such as student and parent census and resiliency data, to make informed decisions about school-wide operational, instructional, organizational and attitudinal changes.
““We consider each varying type of data as part of a whole picture that includes what we know about our individual students from a ‘whole child’ perspective, what we know about our own contextual and demographic information and what we know about our school-wide practices and programming. This helps us to consider the ‘why’ of the data and to proactively plan based on focused goals and action plans.” “— Rita McMahon, Principal
What initiatives have contributed to this improvement?
Pedagogy and Practices
At Beverley Heights, individual and class profiles are developed based on various data sets, allowing teachers to focus on specific challenges and identify pathways and action plans that guide instruction and support. Moderated marking sessions are also used to promote collegial discourse, co-learning and co-planning. This focused approach allows staff members to consider the following factors as they work to create optimal learning conditions: available resources, pedagogical practices, teacher professional knowledge and school organization and structure.
Teacher Professional Knowledge
Practice at Beverley Heights has shifted to promote collaboration between special education and core teachers. The development of a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) is collaborative so that teachers can develop a deeper understanding of students’ strengths and needs, as well as of appropriate accommodations and modifications. As a result of ongoing professional development and support, teachers are making informed decisions that support student success and achievement.
School Organization, Structure and Technology
Several large-scale school organizational changes were implemented to increase student time on tasks, allow for deeper development of trusting relationships, create a better sense of belonging, decrease disruptions to the school day, decrease class sizes and take advantage of teacher interactions with students (e.g., uninterrupted literacy and numeracy blocks, cross-curricular planning). By intentionally integrating technology in classroom routines, teachers have made it a part of the school’s culture. Appropriate software and online programs are now easily accessed as part of a balanced literacy program for all students.
How we analyze the data
Staff at Beverley Heights
- Analyze the released EQAO questions, exemplars and academic and attitudinal data
- Discuss student strengths and challenges to determine classroom strategies
- Use student and parent census data to make decisions about school-wide operational, instructional, organizational and attitudinal changes
How we put the data into action
- Review pedagogy and practices
- Support ongoing teacher professional development
- Implement large-scale changes in school organization, structure and technology
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