Petawawa and Brockville High Schools Profiled for Literacy Success



    General Panet HS and St. Mary HS serve as models

    EASTERN ONTARIO, June 13 /CNW/ - Of the hundreds of publicly funded
schools across Ontario, the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO)
has selected 12 to profile in the Provincial Report on the Results of the
2006-2007 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT). Two of these schools
are in the eastern region. They are noted for their success at raising their
students' literacy skills, as demonstrated by improved student OSSLT scores
over the years. In the report, staff from General Panet High School in
Petawawa and St. Mary Catholic High School in Brockville discuss what the
results of EQAO's testing and other data have taught them about their
students, and the innovative approaches staff are using to address their
students' needs.

    General Panet High School, Petawawa

    The tracking of EQAO and other data revealed a significant difference in
the learning styles of boys and girls in applied courses. The staff
implemented strategies to manage this gender difference, such as choosing
texts and materials of high appeal to one gender. As a result, the OSSLT
success rate for girls increased by 23 percentage points over four years to
89% in 2006. Additionally, General Panet school set up single-gender Grade 9
applied English classes with male teachers role-modelling for the boys'
classes. The pass rate in the classes is 100%. "We strive to analyze our
school data and apply processes in a purposeful way that is meaningful to our
school's unique characteristics," says Debra Rantz, principal.

    St. Mary Catholic High School, Brockville

    When the teachers at St. Mary realized that the male students in the
applied and locally developed English programs were underperforming, they
developed a strategy to address the issue and engage the students. The twin
pillars of this approach were choice and flexibility. Teachers selected a
variety of texts and materials from which the students could choose. After
identifying gender-specific gaps and providing materials of interest, teachers
saw the assignment completion rate for boys skyrocket. "We use data to
identify students' needs and strengths coming into Grades 7 and 8 so we can
place the students appropriately. We invite those in need to our after-school
and summer literacy programs so that by the time they enter Grade 9, they are
positioned for success, and we are seeing success," says Tom Whelan,
principal.
    Over the past several months EQAO staff visited approximately 70 of
Ontario's secondary schools, and it's clear that educators are regularly using
the results from EQAO testing as a reference point to identify students in
need of support. The reliable and accurate data from EQAO supports continuous
improvement in schools and boards and for individual students.
    Proactive identification of at-risk students, aligning and integrating
literacy-focused curriculum at both the elementary and the secondary levels,
and ensuring a literacy focus across all subject areas are just some of the
strategies that schools across Ontario are using to ensure the success of
their students.
    Today, EQAO published Ontario-wide school - and board-level results from
the 2006-2007 OSSLT on its Web site. School communities from across the
province are able to see the results of their collective efforts to improve
the literacy skills of their students on www.eqao.com.
    EQAO's provincial report and other information are available online at
www.eqao.com.

    Aussi disponible en français.





For further information:

For further information: and to arrange interviews, please contact Phil
Serruya, Manager of Communications and Public Affairs, (416) 325-2230,
phil.serruya@eqao.com

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