Sister Catherine Donnelly Catholic School

Map of Ontario displaying the City of Barrie

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

Data and Schools: A Journey of Learning

Student population: 293; Grades: K–8

  • Sister Catherine Donnelly Catholic School has a student population that draws on rural and urban areas.
  • The school’s student population has a wide range of strengths and needs. Nineteen per cent of the students have Individual Education Plans.

“This class helped me feel more confident in math by reviewing answers after tests to show me how to improve. Group work helped me be open minded to new math concepts and strategies.”
— Grade 7 Student


  1. EQAO Data: Math leads and administrators analyze EQAO data, specifically the item information reports, to identify areas of strength and need to determine next steps.
  2. Aligning Data: EQAO results are compared to report card results to ensure staff evaluate consistently.
  3. Sharing of Data: The results of the data analysis are presented at an all-staff meeting.
  4. Next Steps:The analysis is a starting point for teachers. They use the analysis to support progress in student learning and to identify a focus for professional development.


Curriculum Focus

Staff at Sister Catherine Donnelly recognized the need for a renewed curriculum focus and adopted the mindset that the curriculum is their textbook. Staff used EQAO data and assessments to identify specific areas of the curriculum where there were gaps in student learning.

Using scaffolding, direct teaching and conversations with students, staff were able to build overall student knowledge and skill related to curriculum expectations. Having a focused goal was crucial in making an overall difference in student achievement.

Consolidation of Learning

Staff in the primary and junior divisions joined a voluntary professional learning community to explore new ways to consolidate student learning. Staff noted that students were having difficulty with real-life problem solving in math. The teachers adopted a growth mindset and allowed students to choose their own strategy to solve the problems. Teachers appreciate the importance of “teaching to understand” over “teaching to know.”
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