St. Luke Catholic Elementary School

2016 School Recipient of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement

St. Luke Catholic Elementary School, Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board

Student population: 236; Grades: K–9; Principal: Susan van Schaayk

  • Single-track French Immersion school
  • The former St. Joseph and Sacred Heart schools were amalgamated in 2009 to form the new St. Luke Catholic School, which opened in a brand new building in September 2011
  • Active community that supports many social justice activities
  • Diverse socio-economic status
Susan van Schaayk (Principal), Sue Korosec, Richard Cazabon, Lynn Price

St. Luke Catholic School is an urban school located in North Bay, Ontario. It is a school that has experienced growth over the years, seeing a growth of approximately 50% since its opening in 2011. St. Luke’s undergoes very little staff turnover, enabling staff to work together and build relationships with other staff members and with the community from year to year.

“My daughter’s teacher is in constant communication with both my wife and me, keeping us up to speed on how our daughter is progressing and the areas she needs to review. In mathematics, parents are encouraged to be active participants in their child’s learning.”

— Parent

Selection Criteria

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

Grade 3
Grade 6
Female
53%
67%
Male
47%
33%
Special education needs
13%
28%
English language learners
0%
0%
Born outside Canada
0%
6%
First language learned at home was other than English
0%
0%

How have the results improved?

Staff at St. Luke use EQAO data extensively to identify areas of need in mathematics and to help determine the students’ mindsets and attitudes toward math. Staff examine the achievement data early in the school year to help them understand the areas in a math strand and the skills that students struggle with. By examining student responses to questions on EQAO Student Questionnaires, the staff are able to identify and understand student mindsets in mathematics and are thus able to address these mindsets through student engagement in mathematics.

“My teacher uses checkpoints to ensure understanding of various concepts. She uses the checkpoints to determine what concepts need to be reviewed or revisited. I also get descriptive feedback on an ongoing basis so that I can produce my best work.”

— Student

“We spend a lot of time on math, and if some students don’t understand something, we go back over it. We also have papers and charts that we can go back to if we are having trouble.”

— Student

What initiatives have contributed to this improvement?

Common Junior-Division Continuum

The junior-division continuum developed by teachers in the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic School Board provides a mapped-out plan of the school year for junior-division teachers. When followed, the continuum ensures complete coverage of the overall expectations in mathematics. Staff at St. Luke Catholic School follow the continuum and use it to plan lessons relevant in split classes.

Dedicated 60-Minute Numeracy Block

Well before the 60-minute numeracy block was mandated by the Ministry, St. Luke’s staff had dedicated the time necessary to numeracy instruction. Blocks have been designed to activate, review, introduce, practise and consolidate learning. Students get a balanced approach to numeracy by practising basic skills, through direct instruction from a teacher and others, and by practising higher-level thinking in both small- and large-group situations.

Assessment as Learning and Student Checkpoints

No students fall through the cracks at St. Luke, because all students and lessons are constantly assessed for understanding. Teachers ask the students if each lesson is clear, and students give valuable feedback about the lesson. Students are assessed as they are learning to gain a clear understanding of where they are in the process, and they are provided with remedial-help interventions, if need be.

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