Toronto, ON, November 26, 2008 – With support from the Ministry of Education, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is poised to provide a comprehensive urban diversity strategy to support student success. Students, who are identified as struggling to succeed in school, stand a better chance of achievement thanks to enhanced supports and interventions.
The Board approved the TDSB’s Urban Diversity Strategy in June 2008. Part of that strategy was to identify 25 secondary and intermediate schools with significant numbers of students who experience significant challenges beginning in 2008. Schools were identified by a careful examination of student achievement data such as how many credits students earn in grades 9 & 10, and the percentage of students not performing at the provincial standard (70%) in grades 7 & 8. This data was then linked to the demographic data gathered through the Student Census of 2007. It comes as no surprise that these are schools with the largest populations of high poverty and diversity in terms of race and language.
Linked to the Urban Diversity Strategy, is the Ministry of Education’s Student Success School Support project.
Through this project, the Ministry is providing support for 15 secondary schools. TDSB staff has identified a further 14 secondary schools and 12 middle schools to receive additional support from the Urban Diversity Strategy for a total of 41 schools. Funding will come from the Ministry of Education as well as TDSB program department budgets.
“The support we are receiving from the Ministry of Education means that we are able to help even more schools than the original 25 we had in our Urban Diversity Strategy plan and that is very good news for students we have identified as having difficulties being successful in school,” says Gerry Connelly, Director of Education. “We are committed to helping every student achieve success and this initiative enables us to focus efforts where they are needed most.”
Additional supports include coaching, professional development of school administrators and staff on using best practices identified by research to analyze and raise student achievement results, instructional strategies, and programs that will help the TDSB to engage and re-engage students. The TDSB’s Urban Diversity Strategy coordinates, supports, and initiates programs and partnerships that are improving student success with a focus on continuous improvement for all students and closing the achievement gap between the highest and the lowest achieving students.
The 41 schools were identified based on a number of factors including:
- demographic data linked to student achievement to identify schools with the largest populations of under-performing groups of students
- consultation with identified secondary schools and superintendents of education
- the number of under-performing students linked to Learning Opportunities Index (LOI). Each of the middle schools is a feeder school for one of the Urban Diversity Strategy secondary schools.
“Although 41 schools have been identified for specialized support, all schools in the TDSB are part of the Urban Diversity Strategy,” notes Connelly. “All schools have identified students that are not yet performing at the provincial standard, and are focused on raising the bar and closing the achievement gap.”
Every school and Superintendent has received the demographic and achievement data from the Student Census and are tracking and monitoring individual students who are not at the provincial standard. They will be using this information to determine whether students are improving by January and June each year and if the existing interventions and supports are making a difference.
For more information, contact:
Communications and Public Affairs
Toronto District School Board