Dunlace Public School

2016 School Recipient of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement

Dunlace Public School, Toronto District School Board

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.
Back row: David Laredo, Ted Kellesis Front row: Mikki Hymus (Principal), Stacie Berman

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

Selection Criteria

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

Grade 3
Grade 6
Female
49%
41%
Male
51%
59%
Special education needs
6%
12%
English language learners
0%
0%
Born outside Canada
28%
31%
First language learned at home was other than English
42%
38%

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.

More Resources

Grade 9

Sudbury Secondary School, Rainbow District School Board
Maxwell Heights Secondary School, Durham District School Board
M.M. Robinson High School, Halton District School Board
Elmira District Secondary School, Waterloo Region District School Board
St. Francis Xavier High School, Ottawa Catholic District School Board
John McCrae Secondary School, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Kenner Collegiate Vocational Institute, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board
Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School, Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board
St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School, Sudbury Catholic District School Board

Elementary Schools

Pine Grove Public School, District School Board of Niagara
St. Gabriel Catholic Elementary School, Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board
Sister Catherine Donnelly Catholic School, Simcoe County District School Board
St. Matthew Catholic School, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
Fleming Public School, Toronto District School Board
Springbrook Public School, Peel District School Board
Byron Southwood Public School, Thames Valley District School Board

OSSLT

Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute, Lakehead District School Board
South Carleton High School, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
Holy Names Catholic High School, Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board
Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute, Toronto District School Board

Elementary Schools

McKellar Park Central School, Lakehead District School Board
St. Dominic Savio Catholic School, Waterloo Catholic District School Board
St. Bernadette Catholic School, Durham Catholic District School Board
Beverley Heights Middle School, Toronto District School Board
Pius XII Catholic Elementary, Sudbury Catholic District School Board
Sir William Gage Middle School, Peel District School Board
St. Martin School, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board
D. Roy Kennedy Public School, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

Grade 9

Maple High School, York Region District School Board
Essex District High School, Greater Essex County District School Board
Mississauga Secondary School, Peel District School Board
Governor Simcoe Secondary School, District School Board of Niagara
Cardinal Carter Catholic Secondary School, Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board
Earl Haig Secondary School, Toronto District School Board

Elementary Schools

St. Edmund Separate School, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
Pleasantville Public School, York Region District School Board
Nelles Public School, District School Board of Niagara
St. Luke Catholic Elementary School, Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board
St. Aloysius Catholic Elementary School, Waterloo Catholic District School Board
Centennial Road Junior Public School, Toronto District School Board
Dunlace Public School, Toronto District School Board
St. John XXIII Catholic School, Renfrew County Catholic District School Board
E. J. James Public School, Halton District School Board

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