2016 School Recipient of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement
Student population: 1300; Grades: 9–12; Principal: Giota Woods
- Mississauga Secondary School is an urban school with a large population of English language learners.
- The school has approximately 110 students with special needs, including those in a treatment, research and education program for students with autism and developmental disorders.
- Several health and wellness programs have forged strong community partnerships.
Mississauga Secondary School has a diverse student population; over 27% of the students report that they speak another language other than English at home. The school has designed an applied level mathematics course specifically for English language learners that focuses on mathematic terminology. The math and science departments work closely together to use the same problem-solving terminology to provide consistency for their students.
“Teachers are available for extra help at lunch and post their schedules, and they can also go to Counting on You or the Mississauga Secondary School initiative for help.”— Student
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.
“Math in secondary school will likely go beyond the parents’ ability to support the learning and application of content, so the parents need to encourage their child(ren) to seek extra help from teachers, self-advocate for individual needs and learning gaps, and/or access Counting On You for in-school math support. Parents can help their child(ren) by encouraging their own instructional support through Web sites like the Khan Academy. In addition, parents should encourage their child(ren)to complete all the homework as assigned, be aware of what has been assigned and provide a well-lit working space close to parents at home for their child(ren) to be able to do their work, and parents to be part of the homework work habits. “— Parent
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?
Over several years, the Mississauga Secondary team worked with partner schools to analyze Grades 6 and 9 EQAO data, look for similarities and differences in results and highlight math strands requiring focus. Together, Mississauga Secondary and its feeder schools developed lessons and strategies for working with students and observed Grades 6 to 10 classes. EQAO results helped determine the numeracy goals of the school success plan. The plan called for additional support to increase the engagement of female learners in the applied course and extra attention to English language learners, which resulted in a significant increase in achievement.
“We have quiet study areas to work in and extra resources on D2L like videos and quizzes to use to help us learn.”— Student
“Teachers encourage students to focus on their studies, revise their work so they can be proud of their math and everything.”— Student
What initiatives have contributed to this improvement?
Grade 9 Applied Mathematics Course for English Language Learners
An analysis of data and anecdotal evidence showed that English language learners were often having trouble interpreting questions and answering them correctly despite having good basic arithmetic skills. The school’s applied course for English language learners focuses on interpreting, rephrasing and communicating solutions clearly, which gives students learning English greater confidence both in class and on assessments.
Continuum of Skills and Big Ideas from Grades 8 to 9
Together with its feeder schools, Mississauga Secondary looks at students’ achievement on the Grades 6 and 9 EQAO assessments and compares curriculum strands. Mississauga Secondary teachers find seeing how students learned in Grades 6 to 8 and sharing best practices valuable. This year, staff shared a “skills I am taking to high school” checklist with feeder schools, which is being adapted for each grade level.
Grade 9 Teaching Team
Collaborative and committed, Mississauga’s Grade 9 teaching team focuses on monitoring overall program success from year to year and making adjustments to continue to ensure positive student outcomes. Staff share diagnostic information and ideas to differentiate instruction, and together they develop rich performance tasks. Mid-term reviews remind students of previously covered skills and concepts, which facilitates retention of important ideas.
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