2016 School Recipient of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement
Student population: 416; Grades: K–8; Principal: Shari Elms
- Urban English-track school
- High socio-economic status with a highly involved parent community
- School has experienced a rapid rise in Grade 3 English language learners (from 8% to 32%) over the last five years
- Consistently more than 80% of students have achieved the standard in reading and writing in Grades 3 and 6 over the last five years
Pleasantville Public School is located in Richmond Hill, just north of the City of Toronto. The school was opened in 1960 and has undergone two extensive additions, in 1990 and 1994. It serves a growing community that is becoming more and more diverse.
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?
Through extensive examination of EQAO data, report card data and teacher observation data, the staff was able to identify a challenge of practice in the area of student perseverance with open-ended problems. The students had a fairly high level of achievement, but were unable to take risks to challenge their understanding in more complex mathematical problems. The staff undertook this challenge of practice to move students from good to better.
What initiatives have contributed to this improvement?
Focused Collaborative Inquiry
Once the challenge of practice was established at Pleasantville PS, staff came together on a regular basis to challenge their thinking and learn more about a growth mindset. Subsets of staff were formed, and each subset met to determine their own specific vision and goal. Staff learned alongside students and became more responsive to the needs of their students.
Backing Action with Research
Staff began to develop theories of action around research they conducted. Well thought out professional development and a comfort level of allowing others into their classroom allowed staff to work together on these theories of action. Professional feedback was used to adjust teaching methods and to help staff to be “critical friends” to further improve student learning.
Co-learning Among Staff and Students
A critical piece in the development of the plan to move students forward was learning with the student lens in mind. Most professional development was conducted with staff and students. Questions that were asked during staff discussions were also posed to students, to understand their ideas and perspectives.
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