We are committed to improving the overall achievement and closing the achievement gap for all students in every school. Our Board and all staff share the responsibility to model lifelong learning, teamwork, leadership and continuous improvement to help all students reach their full potential.
Literacy and Numeracy
The Board continued to implement strategies to increase student achievement levels in language and mathematical literacy on school-based and provincial assessments, such as the Education Quality Accountability Office (EQAO) standardized testing.
Elementary school students receive at least 300 minutes of math instruction each week (about 60 minutes a day). Every elementary school has one identified math lead (larger schools have two), all of whom have and will continue to participate in professional leaning related to math. Every elementary and secondary school has new math teacher resources, and the upcoming PA Day for staff in October 2016 focused on math. The Board has several school-based math facilitators to assist with math learning in the classroom. One secondary school piloted a “head start” math program for students entering Grade 9. Additionally, several elementary school councils have scheduled interactive family math nights to provide parents with strategies and resources to support math learning at home.
Students achieving below the provincial standard in reading and math were offered additional after-school support. Thirty-nine sessions of the Right to Read after-school program supported students in 34 elementary schools. Students in 13 elementary schools were supported by the Math in Action after-school program. Students in 17 elementary schools were supported by a Tutor in the Classroom, while Grade 9 and 10 students were supported by Literacy Tutors in all schools.
The number of specialist teachers delivering primary core French increased with the expansion into all elementary schools in the Bayridge Secondar School and Loyalist Collegiate and Vocational Institute families of schools. LDSB has now achieved full implementation of primary core French in all elementary schools as of September 2015. French-as-a-Second-Language information was strengthened on the LDSB website to provide thorough information to parents and the community. A French-as-a-Second Language Steering Committee was also established to develop a system plan to foster high quality French programs in the LDSB.
Secondary students at Granite Ridge Education Centre added a new Specialist High Skills Major program in Health and Wellness. This brings the total number of Specialist High Skills Major, or SHSM, programs in the Board to 27. SHSM programs offer Grade 11 and 12 students the opportunity to match their skills and interests with a specific career path while earning their high school diploma. In Limestone, students can choose from specialty programming in 11 economic sectors where they develop specific skills that will better transition them for life after graduation to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace. All of our secondary schools offer at least one SHSM.
The Board offered several strategies and initiatives to support credit accumulation. In 2015-2016, 77% of students had attained 16 or more credits as of the end of their Grade 10 year.
Teachers and administrators (including educational services staff) participated in job-embedded professional learning sessions. These sessions included collaborative inquiry (elementary, secondary and cross-panel) where educators had the choice of learning through a school-based, school-networked or district-networked Collaborative Inquiry group. The focus of each inquiry was directly aligned with the needs of students as outlined in the School and Board Improvement Plan.
Organized in hubs, teachers from several secondary and elementary schools participated in the Collaborative Inquiry for Learning-Mathematics project with a focus on improved mathematics instruction through the problem-solving process. Teachers, administrators and consultants engaged in co-learning, co-planning and co-teaching of mathematical concepts and processes. The Board supported 18 Collaborative Inquiries involving 103 participants.
Three-String Jam is the name of the Loog Guitar project underway at Bath Public School. Earlier this year the school received funding from the Estate of Larry Gibson through the Limestone Learning Foundation. Playing a musical instrument helps children benefit in almost every level
of their cognitive skills: memory, mental processing speed, verbal fluency, creative thinking and focus.
More students in the LDSB are graduating than ever before as a result of focused efforts by educators and specialty programs aimed at helping students achieve success whatever their strengths, interests and career goals. LDSB's current five-year graduation rate is 87% - an increase of 7% over four years - and exceeds the provincial target of 85%. Students that remained in Limestone throughout their secondary school had an even higher graduation rate of 88%.
Grade 6-8 students from across the region participated in several STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) events and the Let's Talk Science Competition at Queen's University. These events are hands-on design challenges that encourage students to build their team skills, interact and test their abilities against peers. Grade 7 students from Module Vanier took top honours in both competitions.
DECA is an extra-curricular program that prepares students as emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. The Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute DECA won 12 gold medals, 6 silver medals, 9 bronze medals, and 72 Top 10 ribbons at the Regional competition in November 2015, the best showing ever in the team’s 10-year history. At the provincial competition, 14 students qualified for Team Ontario and moved on to compete against 16,000 students from across North America.
LDSB students continued to dominate the Kingston WritersFest annual TeensWrite! creative writing competition. The contest, open to secondary students, invited young writers to submit an original poem, short story or creative non-fiction piece of writing using five words in any grammatical form: partial, flutter, brilliant, contact, and inquisitive. Congratulations to Mike Dean (Frontenac Secondary School),
Hannah Wannamaker (Napanee District Secondary School), and Ava Waugh (Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute).
Math in our world
Mathematical literacy is an individual's capacity to identify and understand the role that mathematics plays in the world. In Limestone, students are encouraged to make connections between the math they learn in school and its applications in their daily lives. At École Sir John A. Macdonald PS staff organized Math in Our Worlda focused week of math challenges, activities and games for students and SJAM families.
Learning through technology
More than 125 Limestone teachers, administrators, tech support, and program team educators came together for a voluntary one-day workshop to learn how technology can be meaningfully integrated into classrooms and schools to enhance student learning. In total, there were 27 different workshops targeting themes such as assessment and documentation, collaboration and creativity, making student thinking visible and teaching and instructing with technology.