Governor Simcoe Secondary School

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

2016 School Stories

District School Board of Niagara

Student population: 873; Grades: 9–12; Principal: Cheryl Mancuso

  • The number of Governor Simcoe students in applied mathematics achieving the provincial standard has increased every year since 2011–2012.
  • The percentage of students in applied mathematics achieving the provincial standard has increased from 40% to 71% since 2011.
  • Of the school’s students, 24% are in the Extended French Program. The school will transition into French Immersion in 2017–2018, beginning with the new Grade 9 cohort.
  • The school day has five 60-minute instructional periods, one of which is a cross-grade supervised multi-subject instructional period.
Larissa Shishkov (Teacher), Chris Bolle (Math Program Leader), Cheryl Mancuso (Principal)

Governor Simcoe Secondary School is located in the north end of St. Catharines. The school offers two Specialist High Skills Major Programs: Information & Communications Technology and Manufacturing. Governor Simcoe has a dynamic robotics program that has received provincial, national and international recognition.

“We encouraged our child to take advantage of the supports available for him at school, whether they were in class or during his MSIP. He felt safe in his math class, and benefited from getting extra help during lunch to prepare for EQAO. Seeing he was on an IEP, we encouraged him to advocate for extra time and alternative settings to write tests and EQAO. Recognizing that he had large gaps from Grade 8, placing him in the applied stream was a good decision.”

— Mother

“I really like the fact that I can travel during my MSIP to get extra help. Being able to sit with a math teacher and go over my homework or assignments is extremely useful, especially in the senior grades.”

— Student

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?

The staff has a thorough understanding of the needs of both the students currently at Governor Simcoe and those who are coming. Staff members study EQAO results to determine the needs of students entering Grade 10 and to understand the programming needs of new students entering Grade 9. For incoming students, the staff examines the Grades 3 and 6 EQAO results, as well as those from an assessment of mathematics administered at the end of Grade 8 in participating schools.

What initiatives have contributed to this improvement?

Multi-Subject Instructional Periods

Multi-Subject Instructional Periods (MSIPs) are used for students to review the day’s learning and get started on additional work assigned by classroom teachers. With a fifth period each day, students are able to connect with peers and teachers for help in specific subject areas. Students with particular needs in mathematics are placed with teachers who specialize in math to ensure that they get support.

Data-Informed Instruction

Governor Simcoe staff believe that being well-informed before students arrive at their school is essential for planning. The board provides in-depth reports for each Grade 9 mathematics class, including EQAO and report card data, along with results from a Grade 8 math assessment administered in participating feeder schools. The information in these reports provides teachers with a clear view of the needs of the students that arrive in their classrooms each semester.

After-Hours Support

Students cannot always get all the support they need during class time. The math department at Governor Simcoe provides opportunities for students to get extra help during their lunch periods, which also prepares the students for the Grade 9 assessment.

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