EQAO Launches the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement Program: Celebrates Exceptional School Communities Throughout Ontario.



    TORONTO, April 29 /CNW/ - The Education Quality and Accountability Office
(EQAO), administrator of Ontario's student assessments, today announced the
launch of the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of Achievement program,
which celebrates school communities whose collective efforts have resulted in
notable student achievement as demonstrated by EQAO provincial assessment
results.
    The inaugural presentation will be held today in Toronto, in anticipation
of Education Week (May 4-8). EQAO will pay tribute to Dr. Stephenson and
honour the first two recipients of the recognition bearing her name: Sacred
Heart High School in Walkerton and Kapuskasing's école élémentaire publique Le
Coeur du Nord.
    The event will also feature a message from the Honourable Dalton
McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, a video tribute featuring past and current
colleagues, and remarks from the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Minister of
Education; Dave Cooke, former Minister of Education; Brian Desbiens, Board
Chair, EQAO; and Marguerite Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, EQAO.
    "Dr. Bette Stephenson's career represents a lifelong commitment to
education and public service. As a member of the EQAO board, which she joined
at its inception, she was instrumental in bringing the agency to its focus on
improved learning outcomes for students," said Brian Desbiens, EQAO's Chair.
    "Solid and reliable information on student achievement is crucial to
helping educators improve student learning. I'm really proud of the culture of
assessment that EQAO has, since its inception, been able to establish in
Ontario. I'm also really, really pleased that so many schools have used
assessment information and have demonstrated positive student results. I am
delighted such schools will be recognized. They should be celebrated
throughout the province," added Dr. Stephenson.
    "The schools recognized at tonight's event, and others over time, are a
testament to the many schools across the province that have made effective use
of both EQAO data and evidence from other sources to enhance and support
student achievement," said Marguerite Jackson, EQAO Chair.
    The event will be webcast live on April 29, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. (EDT)
and can be viewed at www.eqao.com.

    ABOUT EQAO

    The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) acts as a catalyst
for increasing the success of Ontario students by measuring their achievement
in reading, writing and mathematics against a common curriculum benchmark. As
an independent provincial agency, EQAO plays a pivotal role by conducting
province-wide tests at key points in every student's primary, junior and
secondary education and reporting the results. The objective and reliable
facts obtained add to the current knowledge about student learning and are an
important tool for improvement at the individual, school and provincial
levels.

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    Backgrounder

    The Occasion:

    To honour Dr. Bette Stephenson's lifelong commitment to education and
public service, the EQAO board of directors has created a new school
recognition program named the Dr. Bette M. Stephenson Recognition of
Achievement. On April 29, EQAO will launch this program and honour the first
two recipient school communities: Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton and
Ecole élémentaire publique Le Coeur du Nord in Kapuskasing. EQAO will pay
tribute to Dr. Stephenson alongside the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Minister of
Education, and other leaders from Ontario's public education system. A
congratulatory video message from the Honourable Dalton McGuinty, Premier of
Ontario, will be played during the presentation. Throughout the school year
and in years to come, EQAO will continue to recognize additional schools. The
two schools recognized this evening are a testament to the work of the many
schools across the province that make effective use of EQAO data and evidence
from other sources to enhance and support student achievement.

    About Dr. Stephenson:

    Dr. Bette M. Stephenson, of Richmond Hill, has held a number of posts in
the Ontario Cabinet, including that of minister of both Education and Colleges
and Universities from 1978 to 1985. She is currently chair of the Learning
Opportunities Task Force, chair of the Ontario Innovation Trust, co-chair of
the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and director emeritus of the
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
    Her history of breaking new ground includes her roles as first female
member, then chair, of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) board of
directors. She was president of both the OMA and the Canadian Medical
Association and served on the board of directors of the World Medical
Association.
    Dr. Stephenson was the first Canadian recipient of the Citation for
Outstanding Public Service presented by the Council for Exceptional Children.
She was named Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992 and was appointed to the
Order of Ontario in 1997. Dr. Stephenson served on the EQAO Advisory Board
from February 1995 to August 1996. She was appointed to the EQAO board of
directors in September 1996 and continued until 2008, when she became director
emeritus.





For further information:

For further information: and to arrange interviews, please contact
Marion Flanagan, Communications, (416) 325-9902, marion.flanagan@eqao.com

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