Meeting Notes - October 2, 2018

EQAO results were presented at the October 2 Education Meeting.

To be transparent, I did not attend this meeting due to my father’s passing on the weekend. This is the only regular board meeting that I have missed in my four-year term. I will miss him dearly and I thank you for understanding that I needed this time to grieve.

I have been very interested in the math results during my term. In May of 2015, trustees supported my motion to convene a Math Task Force to understand where we can improve math outcomes for kids and support teachers and parents where they need it most. Here is my blog of the MTF meetings. We published our report in April 2016 with several recommendations.

One of the measures of math outcomes is the EQAO scores which are done for every student every year in grades 3, 6, and 9. The biggest areas of concern have been for grade 6 math and for grade 9 Applied math. This year, grade 6 scores held at 47% of students meeting the provincial standard, which was similar to 49% for the province. One area of celebration was our grade 9 Applied scores which showed a big increase from 47% last year to 57% this time around and compared to 45% for the province. Academic grade 9 math has been consistently high with 86% of students meeting that standard compared to 84% for the province.

While a big jump in grade 9 Applied scores is positive, it is important to consider the trend. It is possible with such a big change that we will see a regression toward the mean next year. It will be therefore be important to examine whether the trend continues.

One way in which my thinking about math outcomes has evolved over the years is the impact of factors outside of the classroom. We have been working hard at math for several years now and it may still take some time to see the real impact as is often the case with large sample sizes. However, I wonder whether we should now shift our focus slightly from factors within the classroom, which is the appropriate place to start, to factors that may be outside of our direct mandate.

I am speaking about low income.

We know that about one in four children in Windsor-Essex County is living in living income. We know that low income is associated with poorer nutrition, lower parental engagement, and lower educational outcomes. That is not to place blame on parents or suggest that this is pre-determined, but research does find a correlation.

United Way is currently embarking on an initiative called ProsperUs. I am at the Data and Evaluation Table through my role at the Children’s Aid Society. The purpose of ProsperUs is to unite agencies across Windsor-Essex County to develop strategies to address the impacts of low income on child outcomes from cradle to career. I would like to see GECDSB participating fully. More to come on this.

The next meeting is on October 16 at which trustees will debate my motion for Administration bring a report forward to address hot classrooms. All are welcome!


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Jessica Sartori