Alliston’s Holy Family School is among the top elementary schools in Ontario.
Last Tuesday, Holy Family was recognized as a School of Distinction in the Improvement in Academics category at the annual Garfield Weston Awards for Excellence in Education dinner. Although Holy Family wasn’t in the top three schools, it was among the top 30 in the province.
"It’s just a matter of everyone working towards the same goal, which is having everyone realize their full potential," said Holy Family principal Deb Cinelli.
The distinction is for schools that have experienced the fastest, most consistent improvement in their academic performance over the past five years. The awards are based on the Ministry of Education’s student results of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) tests in reading, writing and mathematics written by elementary students in grades 3 and 6 each year. The top one per cent of schools in each category were invited to the awards ceremony.
"The teachers, support staff, and administrators from Holy Family School are pathfinders who continually find new ways to help their students achieve more in school. We are delighted to honour their hard work and achievement," said Peter Cowley, director of school performance studies at the Fraser Institute.
This year’s standardized testing is coming up at the end of May and early June. While Cinelli is proud of the school’s achievement this year, she wants the school to continue climbing. She is has her sights on the top category of the Garfield Weston awards, the Overall Academic Achievement, for schools whose students achieve remarkable, ongoing success for five years.
For now Cinelli is letting students enjoy this week’s success though. The distinction was brought around to the classrooms and students got to take a break and enjoy a snack while celebrating the success of their provincial testing scores.
The Garfield Weston awards are handed out by the private sector, but the Ontario government also recognizes the school’s achievements.
Cinelli said Holy Family is one of the province’s Schools on the Move, for schools that are making sustained progress in student achievement.
Cinelli said the school’s programming is responsible for the recognitions. She said there is uniformity in the way lessons are taught so students can move between grades with ease.
The school also has a strong early intervention program, which Cinelli said helps pinpoint students who might struggle with areas such as reading or writing early on and provide them with the support they need.