John McCrae Secondary School

Map of Ontario displaying the City of Nepean

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

Data and Schools: A Journey of Learning

Student population: 1337; Grades: 9–12

  • John McCrae Secondary School is a rapidly growing school in a diverse community. Population projections indicate the school could have over 1800 students within the next six years. The school has a High-Performance Athlete program to support provincial and national athletes academically.
  • This school is diverse in ethnicity, culture, and religious beliefs, and has a large percentage of English language learners.

“My teacher wouldn’t accept that I couldn’t do it. He encouraged me to keep trying, and he helped me when I needed help.”
— Grade 9 student

Analysis

  1. Tracking for Success: Teachers identify students in applied-level mathematics classrooms to better understand the progress of the student group. The team also moderates student work collaboratively to better understand their learning needs.
  2. Evidence Informed: Based on the data, staff form professional learning teams. The teams also review data to determine a focus for the school learning plan, and to check that the plan is working. Evidenced-based instructional strategies are selected according to the students’ needs. The strategies are good for all but necessary for some learners.
  3. Collaborative Environment: Teachers provide opportunities for students to work in small groups focused on problem solving. Teachers act as facilitators responding to questions that arise as students work and learn collaboratively.
  4. Observe and Refine: Through observations, conversations and the students’ products, teachers monitor how the students’ understanding is developing. The instructional approach is adjusted in response to what the assessments for learning uncover.
  5. Iterative Approach:The impact of this professional learning cycle approach is confirmed by growth in credit accumulation trends, by achievement on EQAO assessments and by qualitative data collected from students and teachers.

Action

Spiralling Mathematics Curriculum

Teachers noticed that gaps in student understanding were not always being addressed when math was being taught as discrete units and strands. Although students reviewed material before final assessments, their understanding was not proficient.

Math teachers worked to spiral the Grades 9 and 10 curriculum, so concepts were integrated and connections across strands reinforced. Concepts were revisited multiple times over the course of the year in order to build upon students’ learning and understanding. Each time, the students’ comprehension deepened.

Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces

Teachers have begun incorporating Peter Liljedahl’s method of using vertical non-permanent surfaces in classrooms. Teachers visited other classrooms throughout the board to observe the method in action.

In this collaborative problem-solving model, students are randomly organized into groups of three. Students collaborate while using a whiteboard to work on math problems. They are encouraged to observe what other groups are doing. Meanwhile, the teacher facilitates while circulating through the room. Teachers observe that students develop a much deeper conceptual understanding and are engaged longer.

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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