2016 School Recipient of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement
Student population: 450; Grades: JK–6; Principal: Mikki Hymus
- Triple-track school offering English, French Immersion (Senior Kindergarten entry) and Extended French (Grade 4 entry) programs
- 80% of the students in the French Immersion track come from the Dunlace catchment area, and 20% of the students in the Extended French track come from the Dunlace catchment area
- More than 90% of all students met the provincial standard in Grade 3 and Grade 6 in reading, writing and mathematics
- There is diversity in the student population, as 28 different language groups from 30 countries are represented, and some students are bused in from a number of Toronto areas.
Located in the Leslie and York Mills community, Dunlace is a vibrant school with an exceptionally engaged and actively involved School Council that supports the school through volunteering, organizing numerous special events and fundraising. Collaborative inquiry drives the school culture at Dunlace, which is characterized by high expectations and success for all. All stakeholders participate in a consensus-building process working toward creating a shared vision on areas of need. As such, the staff and school community have created a safe and collaborative climate that promotes and fosters a sense of trust—an essential piece to this collaborative process.
“Math is mostly in everything we do. If we do math in a fun way, where everyone is included, in groups and where we get to be present, I like it better and I like it more. When I am not sure about a math question, I break it up, underline the most important parts, ask people around me or use math things that you can move around, not only look at.”— Grade 6 Student
EQAO considered schools that:
- had a significant proportion of students who did not meet the provincial math standard in Grade 3 but who improved to meet it when they were in Grade 6 and
- maintained or increased the overall number of students meeting the provincial standard in math.
What is the profile of this school community?
Profile of Grade 3 and Grade 6 Students
Special education needs
English language learners
Born outside Canada
First language learned at home was other than English
How have the results improved?
EQAO data drives the Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) at the school and helps staff constantly challenge and reassess their own teaching practices. Dunlace Public School embraces a growth mindset culture and instills in students a belief that all students can be anything they set their mind to and that no obstacle is insurmountable. To this end, staff honour that there are many means to the final answer in mathematics and that everyone can learn from each other. Mathematics lessons are infused with positivity. Learning math is made fun through a transdisciplinary approach that involves deep, real-world problems. As a result, Dunlace students approach mathematics with a growth mindset and a positive attitude. Attitudes and behaviour data of 2016 indicates that 71% of students in Grade 3 like math and are confident answering difficult math problems; by Grade 6, this number increases to 90% of students liking math and using cognitive strategies, such as reading the problem over first.
“I work alongside with my child and school to support their learning by getting involved. I partner with the teachers. I attend school council meetings, parent teacher interviews and parent workshops that help me understand the different aspects of the math curriculum.”— Parent
What initiatives have contributed to this improvement?
EQAO Data Through the Lens of Equity
Dunlace has had a significant paradigm shift in how they unpack EQAO data, in that it is intentionally examined through the lens of equity to help create a level playing field for all students. EQAO data not only drives the Professional Learning Communities at the school, but makes staff constantly challenge and reassess their teaching practices and pedagogies, as well as existing stereotypes and biases. Equity is the foundation upon which school improvement at Dunlace is built. Staff have identified vulnerable groups through the unpacking of EQAO data and have plans to level the playing field for all students. As such, data drives Dunlace’s vision and school improvement planning.
STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) Focus
Dunlace has embedded STEM in all facets of its teaching and learning. Through the implementation of STEM at Dunlace, all students have access to various technologies that allow them to enhance their understanding of curriculum expectations and make mathematics content come alive. Some examples of the engineering and design process that embed mathematical concepts are the construction of greenhouses, race cars, solar villages, wind turbines and bridges for animal wildlife to cross freeways.
Developing the Process Over Time
Through a collaborative approach, teachers work in grade teams to plan meaningful learning activities to align curriculum expectations, co-construct learning goals and success criteria with students and participate in moderated marking sessions. Staff support all students by meeting them where they are in their learning. The learning environment at Dunlace encourages student voice, creativity, ownership of their learning and risk taking to demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways, such as math journals, diagrams and oral presentations. The learning environment is modified to fit the student, not the student to fit the environment.
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