St. Francis Xavier High School

Map of Ontario displaying the City of Gloucester

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

Data and Schools: A Journey of Learning

Student population: 1818; Grades: 7–12

  • St. Francis Xavier is a large suburban high school with a diverse student population. The school will become a centre for English as a second language programming in September 2019.
  • The St. Francis Xavier High School catchment area includes Riverside South, Finley Creek and South Hunt Club.

“Basing assessment questions on past EQAO questions both increases confidence in the assessment and reduces students’ anxiety as they approach EQAO at the end of the semester.”

— Grade 9 Teacher

“[I] enjoyed working from the whiteboards (vertical). It helped to get out of the seat and move around, and [I] enjoyed working with other students like that.”

— Grade 10 Student

Analysis

  1. Goal Setting: At the beginning of the school year, a numeracy goal is created for the school improvement plan. The goal is based on both EQAO success rates and pass rates for math courses.
  2. Pathway Selection: Parents attend information sessions and are invited to discuss course selection with teachers as part of the high school transition plan. Teacher suggestions about Grade 9 course selection are based on anecdotal and achievement data from Grade 8.
  3. Available Support: Although this is a Grades 7–12 school, many students arrive in Grade 9. All Grade 9 students are given diagnostic assessments. Students encountering difficulties are invited to attend after-school numeracy sessions for extra help.
  4. Building Confidence: The after-school program focuses on students who are grasping ideas but need help with computations or calculations. The curriculum content is a blend of the Grade 9 academic and applied programs. The after-school program’s effectiveness is evaluated based on students’ confidence in the regular classroom and their marks from both mid-term and final reports.

Action

Distributed Learning (Spiralling)

When examining EQAO achievement data, math teachers noticed that students often performed better on topics covered later in the course. Students were not retaining the information taught on certain topics and consequently left questions blank on the EQAO assessment. By spiralling the curriculum, teachers could cover topics more broadly and authentically throughout the semester.

As a result, student engagement and enthusiasm increased, and by the end of the course, most students understood the essential learning goals very well. Students were also more confident when attempting rich tasks. Furthermore, there were improvements in the results from the EQAO assessment and in the overall marks from term and final assessments.

Vertical Non-Permanent Learning Surfaces

Based on Peter Liljedahl’s method, students are randomly grouped and assigned tasks on vertical surfaces such as whiteboards or blackboards. This allows teachers to easily monitor student thinking. It also allows the groups of students to learn from each other’s approaches to a problem. The ongoing use of vertical non-permanent surfaces encourages students to take risks and develop confidence as they learn through trial and error. Students also get opportunities to work with more of their classmates due to the random groupings. This has the secondary benefit of helping students develop social and leadership skills.

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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