2016 School Recipient of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement
2016 School Stories
Halton District School Board
Student population: 514; Grades: K–8; Principal: Colette Ruddock
- Single-track French Immersion School; 50% instruction in French and 50% instruction in English
- Growing community of English language learners; however, still low: 16% and 9% in Grades 3 and 6 respectively
- High level of student engagement in activities inside and outside of the school (athletics, arts, etc.)
- Most students move into the school in Grade 1 and remain for the balance of their elementary schooling
Located in a suburban community 30 minutes to the west of Toronto, E. J. James Public School is a place where teachers have a strong collegial and collaborative culture that allows for risk-taking in their learning and their practice. When teachers expressed a desire to examine their math instruction and invest in more innovative resources, the school developed an intensive plan to implement high-yield mathematics instructional strategies. This work was enriched by sharing their vision for instruction and school improvement goals through School Council, and supporting parents in their understanding of the Math Strategy at a Community Math Night.
“We developed a strong implementation plan where we built teacher capacity — because we know teacher capacity really is the best way to improve student achievement — and then we’ve done the learning alongside our teachers, myself and my vice-principal.”Colette Ruddock, Principal
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?
E. J. James has embarked on “an amazing learning journey” by setting a clear direction and identifying goals using data to determine the best course of action. Their collaborative work, reflective dialogue and learning was kicked into high gear a few years ago when they looked at EQAO attitude and behaviour survey results in relation to student achievement results and their board’s student engagement survey. Their actions and learning, which provided richer learning experiences for all students, is now at the full-implementation stage where teachers are confident and seeing a rise in student achievement.
What initiatives have contributed to this improvement?
Solving Questions in Different Ways
Students at E. J. James Public School develop skills in using models and strategies through a variety of open-ended and open-routed questions that promote critical thinking and problem solving. Using rich learning experiences, such as Math Congress, students are exposed to multiple ways of solving a problem. This has resulted in a more engaging application of mathematical concepts, beyond the textbook, and students using their own language to express their thinking as they engage in collaborative thinking processes with peers.
Developing a Culture of Risk Taking
The deliberate and sustained development of student voice in the mathematics classroom has encouraged open metacognition of mathematical learning. Students are asked to reflect upon, clarify and expand their ideas and understanding of mathematical relationships and mathematical arguments. This has allowed them to develop effective strategies and habits for communicating mathematical thinking and has promoted student reflection.
Building Math Confidence Through Talk
Teachers at E. J. James Public School wanted to help students develop a strong understanding of Number Sense as a foundational skill and flexible thinking in mathematics. Explicit daily teaching of common language for models was reinforced through an engaging online tool, Dreambox, which provides visual representations of student thinking and many entry points for all learners. The end result has been an emphasis on process rather than answer, and value being placed on thinking over remembering.
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
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
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
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
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
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