Earl Haig Secondary School

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

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2016 School Stories

Toronto District School Board

Student population: 2080; Grades: 9–12; Principal: Renata Gonzalves

  • Earl Haig hosts the Claude Watson Arts Program for students from around Toronto. Students join the program through an audition process.
  • The percentage of students in applied mathematics meeting the provincial standard has increased from 45% in 2012 to 75% in 2016.
  • Over the past five years, the average percentage of students in academic mathematics reaching the standard has been 94%.
  • The school offers more than 75 clubs and councils, as well as 35 sports teams.
Andrea Lill (Assistant Curriculum Leader of Numeracy), Lianne Wun (Assistant Curriculum Leader of Math), Renata Gonzalves (Principal), Phillip Im (Curriculum Leader of Math)

Earl Haig Secondary School is located in the north-central part of Toronto, the area that was formerly the City of North York. The community is extremely diverse, and over 25% of the students report that they speak another language other than English at home. The school reports that 95% of all graduates gain admittance to the post-secondary institution of their choice.

“Not only was [co-teaching] beneficial for the students, but it was really beneficial for teachers as well.”

— Phillip Im – Curriculum Leader of Mathematics

Selection Criteria

To be considered, schools had to have

  • a program in applied Grade 9 mathematics, as this program was the focus of the selection;
  • a minimum of two sections of students in applied mathematics in 2016 (with a total number of students greater than 30);
  • results showing increases in five consecutive years in the number of students reaching the provincial standard in applied mathematics and
  • results in academic mathematics that were close to, at or above the provincial average and that improved or were relatively stable over the same five-year period.

What is the profile of this school community?

Profile of Grade 9 Students

English language learners
Special education needs
Speaks primarily a language other than English at home

How have the results improved?

EQAO data are very important among the information Earl Haig uses. Teachers and administrators examine all facets of the EQAO data to get a better understanding of the students in every class. Data are used not only to improve Grade 9 results, but to inform practices for Grade 10 teachers and beyond.

What initiatives have contributed to this improvement?


Two teachers teach each applied mathematics class at Earl Haig, an arrangement accomplished by timetabling two classes simultaneously and providing space to combine them. The results benefit both the students and the teachers, as everyone learns from one another and develops together.

Using the Data Beyond Grade 9

The use of data doesn’t stop after the EQAO assessments. Data about mathematics are used extensively from year to year to ensure that all students are improving regardless of their grade. Teachers track student progress right through Grade 12.

Identifying Numeracy Across Curricula

Earl Haig is working diligently to point out all the forms of numeracy in the various curricula in the school. Working with the Assistant Curriculum Lead in Numeracy, all departments examine their curricula and recognize their connections to numeracy. By understanding that all teachers play a role in numeracy, they are able to move all students toward higher levels of achievement.

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