Elmira District Secondary School

Map of Ontario displaying the City of Elmira

2018 School Recipient of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement

Data and Schools: A Journey of Learning

Student population: 1200; Grades: 9–12

  • A rural high school, Elmira DSS is one of 16 secondary schools in the Waterloo District board. It has strong connections to its parent community, the town of Elmira and the rest of Woolwich Township.
  • The school includes a substantial student population from the Mennonite community.

“My teacher provided constant feedback and refused to let me give up. She made sure that everyone knew what they were doing before pushing forward.”

— Grade 9 Student


  1. EQAO Data: The administration looks at the school’s EQAO data and shares them with staff members.
  2. Identify Focus: The learning support teacher for math looks at the data to see how they align with course achievement in the school and across the board.
  3. Teacher Learning: The math department meets weekly to discuss successful classroom strategies and to review student work.
  4. Supporting Learners: Having considered their students’ work, teachers implement new instructional approaches that are good for all learners but necessary for some.


Teaching Practice

A learning support teacher works with students in the Grade 9 applied math course. The teacher selects strategies based on what assessments and EQAO attitude data show. The goal is to engage students and improve their attitudes toward learning math in order to increase achievement. Lessons are “chunked” and provide more differentiated learning opportunities. Students are provided more chances to work collaboratively. Strategies are shared with other department members.

Learning Profiles

Class profiles are created to provide information about student achievement. These include information about student achievement in elementary school and student learning needs. As teachers work with students in Grade 9, additional information is added based on observations and conversations with students.

“Trailblazer Meetings” are held regularly to assist students who might need additional support. These meetings include personnel from the Learning Services and Guidance department as well as teachers who have worked with the students. The goal is to collaborate on what works best for individual students, so they earn all their credits for the school year.

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