What we are doing about….
Increasing student achievement
Our professional learning this year has focused on reaching common understandings about critical thinking; what it is and how we can provide opportunities for critical thinking in our lessons. Guided by research from Harvard, the heart of this process is examining what they call the “‘Instructional Core’ – the teacher and the student in the presence of curriculum content”. By looking at these elements we are able to intervene in the instructional process to improve the quality and level of student learning.
In addition to staff meetings and PA Days, additional collaborative learning at EJ Sand includes our:
Book study: All staff is reading “Critical Literacy”. We have a dedicated period once a week where groups meet to discuss a chapter and discuss how to implement ideas presented in the classroom.
ELL Collaborative: Three of our teachers are taking part in a collaborative learning project with 4 other schools in the West which is focusing on determining assessment and intervention to bridge knowledge and understanding of curriculum for our ELL (English Language Learners) students.
Bridge to High school: Our grade 7 and 8 teachers are taking part in professional learning here at the school with a team from Henderson and Thornhill Secondary. They will be creating a continuum of learning from Grade 7 – 9 in mathematics. They will explore the elements in a comprehensive math program and reach common understandings around instruction and assessment.
OFIP (Ontario Focused Intervention Partnership): We are offering after school math programs to students in Grade 3 and 6 to boost basic skills and application of a problem solving framework to improve understanding and achievement.
Building a positive climate for learning
Touchstone: In September a group of students came together and created a Touchstone outlining ten core beliefs for the staff and students at EJ Sand. We focus on one phrase every month and have integrated the Character Matters traits into the Touchstone at our bi-monthly assemblies.
Student-led Mental Health conference: A team of grade 7 and 8 students attended a conference on Mental Health at Rosedale Public School and have brought information and ideas back to our student leadership team.
Beyond the Hurt: 10 Grade 7 students were trained as facilitators in delivering anti-bullying sessions to our students at EJ. The first sessions will be delivered next week to Ms. Daly’s Grade 4/5 class.
Together We’re Better: Another group of Intermediate students will attend this conference next week and bring back ideas for implementing proactive strategies to help solve conflicts out on the yard.
Youth Voice: Two students will attend this conference and report back to the school.
GROW: The school has paid for a whole day presentation on character building and bully prevention. We will have three assemblies, each of which tailors content and delivery to meet student needs.
Promoting healthy living
Go Girls: Big Sisters of York Region is delivering two programs this year, each with 6 – 8 students. The girls have a chance to talk about ‘stuff’, brainstorm strategies to solve problems and partake in activities together.
Game On!: Big Brothers of York Region is delivering two programs this year for boys. The boys program contains all the elements of the girls program, but the activities they do together are in the gym.
Fit Spirit: We have 22 girls from grades 6 – 8 meeting twice a week; learning about nutrition and body image and taking part in a variety of fitness activities. They are training for a 5 k run, which takes place at Downsview Park on May 12th .
Family Wellness Night: Our School Council has used this year’s “Pro Grant” money from the Ministry to organize a variety of activities for families to try together in this fun-filled evening. Yoga, Martial Arts, Hip Hop and Lego combined with healthy snacks will make this a night to remember!
Breakfast Club: Our volunteers from the United Church of Thornhill renewed their commitment to run a breakfast program each morning in our school. Students can drop in and help themselves to a variety of healthy snacks and drinks before the bell rings.
School Council: We have a lively and supportive school council that meets 6 times a year. Our council supports student learning, positive climates and healthy living through fund raising initiatives. Please join us for our next meeting, this Thursday, April 16th at 7 pm in the library.
Please visit our Blog to view monthly calendars, activities, notices and general communications. Live feeds can also be seen on the school website; which can be reached on the YRDSB home page; Find a School: School Profiles.